World War I may have started in Europe in 1914, but MLB Monday knows nothing about that for its second miniseries, looking at World Series MVPs and Managers of the Year in both leagues. We have context from our first miniseries, and we will continue rolling along here—eventually adding some Gold Glove analysis in due time—for a long time going forward … because everyone loves baseball, right?
1914 World Series MVP: Dick Rudolph, SP, Boston (NL)
In one of the more surprising Fall Classic results ever, the Boston Braves swept the Philadelphia Athletics to claim their first World Series title. The A’s had won at least 90 games for six straight regular seasons, and the organization was going for its fourth championship in five seasons. The Braves won the NL pennant for the only time between 1892 and 1948. That’s how weird this result was (see below).
But to the point: Who was the MVP for Boston? The Braves had a clear offensive MVP in catcher Hank Gowdy, who hit .545 with a 1.960 OPS in four games without committing a fielding error, no less. Five of his six hits went for extra bases, and Gowdy also walked 5 times in the Series on his way to scoring a team-best 3 runs. Can any of the Boston pitchers top that?
Dick Rudolph posted a 2-0 record with a 0.50 ERA and an 0.889 WHIP while tossing two complete-game victories. He started the opener in Philly and the closing game in Boston, to completely dominate the A’s from start to finish. We’re going to go with Rudolph here, over Gowdy, because baseball pitchers—like NHL goaltenders—have the most control of any game’s outcome in all the major sports. Voila!
1914 AL MOTY: Bill Carrigan, Boston
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox finished second in the AL, behind the A’s by 8.5 games. Philly Manager Connie Mack—three-time winner of this trophy—managed his team to an even finish on the PPP scale, while Red Sox Manager Bill Carrigan posted a plus-4 mark, the best of any manager for a winning team during the regular season. Mack didn’t lose the pennant, of course, but that’s not enough to win this.
1914 NL MOTY: George Stallings, Boston
The Braves won the pennant by 10.5 games over the New York Giants, managed by John McGraw—winner of the last three trophies here. But McGraw may have cost his team this pennant by posting a minus-4 PPP mark, while Boston Manager George Stallings earned a plus-5 PPP rating. That’s a big swing there. Stallings won our AL MOTY nod in 1910, making him the first guy to win in both leagues.
He is most famous, perhaps, for “inventing” the idea of platooning: starting different players at the same position depending on the pitcher’s throwing arm. But always remember this: The Braves were in last place on July 15. However, Boston closed with a 52-14 run to claim the only pennant for the organization in that vast stretch of time noted above. A miracle, indeed, deserves this kind of award.