We have only two more entries in this MLB Monday Series I Redux: We’ve been going back to fill in early seasons of the World Series era for league MVP and Cy Young awards. This is an extension of our first miniseries that started back in March 2020, as we began then with the first season MVPs were given out (1911), although we should have started 8 seasons earlier. Just about caught up now … Enjoy!

1909 AL MVP: Eddie Collins, 2B, Philadelphia

Our two top candidates here were more than 3 WAR ahead of everyone else in the league: Detroit Tigers right fielder Ty Cobb (9.9 WAR) and Philadelphia Athletics Eddie Collins (9.7). The Tigers edged the A’s by 3.5 games for the pennant, giving the topical edge to Cobb—but he’s lost out on the last two MVPs due to his defense. What about this year? Still negative at -0.7 dWAR, which continues to surprise us.

Cobb is considered one of the greatest—if not the greatest—hitters ever, but his early-career defensive woes are shocking. He finished his career with -10.8 dWAR, in truth, detracting from his overall reputation as a complete ball player. But, we digress. That means we’re giving this MVP Award to Collins, the keystone on six different World Series champions and an innocent member of the 1919 Black Sox.

His numbers: At age 22, he posted a .347 batting average with 30 doubles, 63 steals, and 62 walks. Collins also added 1.3 dWAR as well to be the all-around player that Cobb rarely was, if ever. His career batting average, by the way, was .333, and he remains the all-time MLB leader for sacrifice hits (512). He also finished with 741 SBs, as well. Collins won our 1913 AL MVP nod, too.

1909 NL MVP: Honus Wagner, SS, Pittsburgh

Surprise! One player in the NL finished 3.7 WAR clear of everyone else, and his team won the pennant, too, by 6.5 games. That locks up another MVP trophy for Pittsburgh Pirates star shortstop Honus Wagner (9.2 WAR). This makes six MVPs for him, overall, in our estimation, significantly increasing his place in the historical record.

The numbers this time: 39 doubles, 100 RBI, .339 BA, .420 OBP, .489 SLG, .909 OPS, and 242 TBs. All those stats led the senior circuit, and Wagner added 2.0 dWAR to the equation as well. He hit only 5 HRs, but it was the era of the dead ball. He did hit 10 triples to somewhat make up for it, though.

1909 AL Cy Young: Harry Krause, P, Philadelphia

We have four candidates here, and none from the pennant-winning team noted above: Chicago White Sox veteran Frank Smith (7.1 WAR), A’s trade acquisition Cy Morgan (6.6), Chicago star Ed Walsh (6.3), and Philly rookie Harry Krause (5.7). We have two sets of teammates here, which means we can’t get rid either pair. The Pale Hose finished 20 games out of first place, for the record.

Thus, we’re down to either Morgan or Krause, and Morgan earned 1.2 WAR for the Boston Red Sox before the trade to Philadelphia. That means we will give this hardware to Krause for contributing more to his team’s finish. With an 18-8 record, he topped the AL in ERA (1.39) while pitching 213 innings in a variety of capacities: 21 starts, 8 GFs, 16 CGs, and 7 SOs. Surprising he didn’t notch a save, really.

1909 NL Cy Young: Christy Mathewson, SP, New York

There are several topical candidates here, but those that pitched for teams with winning records follow: New York Giants ace Christy Mathewson (9.7 WAR), Chicago Cubs star Mordecai Brown (9.5), Chicago journeyman Orval Overall (7.3), and Cubs veteran Ed Reulbach (5.6). Interesting, huh? Overall won the 1908 WS MVP from us, while Reulbach won the same award in 1907.

Of course, Mathewson is a multiple winner of NL Cy Youngs as well as the 1905 WS MVP. And with the three Cubbies canceling each other out here, Mathewson takes home yet another Cy—his seventh overall from us between 1905 and 1913 (with one more year to assess still ahead next week). The Giants finished third, 18.5 games out of first place and 12 games behind the Cubs. But it is what it is.

Matty’s stats: 25-6, 1.14 ERA, 8 SOs, 2 saves, and a 0.828 WHIP in 275 1/3 IP. He led the NL in ERA and WHIP, while throwing 26 CGs and striking out 149 batters. With 92 wins, the Giants were a good team that just happened to get dusted by a great team from Pittsburgh. It certainly wasn’t his “fault” that New York finished third.