Leadoff Triple Crown Leaders 1900s Or the Annual Rickey Awards

I was reading the Old STATS Baseball Scorecards and they had a leadoff Triple Crown. It consisted of On Base Average, Runs and Stolen Bases. This is logical as On Base Average relates to batting average, Runs relates to RBIs and stolen bases is like, but not as helpful to winning as home runs.

I wondered who would be the leaders every year, as non-leadoff hitters try to get on base and score runs. Some even try to steal bases. I developed a formula like Bill James did for the regular triple crown. As Bill did his study, he came up with 1,000 total points which is impossible to hit. I did the same:

On Base Average: Maximum 400 points. I award two points for every point above .300 and up to .500.

Runs. Maximum 300 points. I awarded 2 points for every run up to 150 runs.

Stolen Bases. I award 3 points for each stolen base up to 100.

I debated the number of points for stolen bases, but decided I wanted an advantage for actual lead off men. Also, there haven’t been many years someone exceeded 100 stolen bases.

After reading a few of these listings, a Bill James online a reader came up with the name Rickey awards after Rickey Henderson, the man many of us consider the greatest leadoff man in baseball history. So, I will periodically call these the Rickey Awards.

1900 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1900 NL:

1. Roy Thomas Phil 677
2. John McGraw StL 655
3. Billy Hamilton Bost 600
4. Elmer Flick Phil 599
5. Honus Wagner Pitt 596
6. Jimmy Barrett Cinn 560
7. Kip Selbach NY 554
8. Willie Keeler Bro 539
9. Jesse Burkett StL 530
10. George Van Haltren NY 505

What I Learned:

John McGraw was .500 in on base percentage. So he maxed out on points. He still would have come in second as he would have only gained 10 points if I counted his full on base percentage.

Everyone stole bases that year. The least of any player I looked at was 23.

This was a super strong league as there were only 8 major league teams in 1900 as the National League contracted and the American League was still the Western League a minor league. Although I am sure they had some major league type players.

1901 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1901 AL:

1. Nap Lajoie Phil 697
2. Fielder Jones Chi 578
3. Mike Donlin Bal 531
4. Dummy Hoy Chi 519
5. Ollie Pickering Clev 478
6. Jimmy Barrett Det 468
7. Jimmy Williams Bal 465
8. Chick Stahl Bos 451
9. Herm McFarland Chi 433
10. Buck Freeman Bos 427


What I Learned:

On base average had a big influence on this race as 8 of the top 10 in on base average made the list.

Some of these players I don’t know at all and some I just know their name and not any stories about them. The two I know best are Nap Lajoie and Fielder Jones. A lot of you probably know a lot more than me about these players.

1901 NL

Here are the 1901 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Jesse Burkett StL 645
2. Honus Wagner Pitt 583
3. Topsy Hertsal Chi 573
4. Roy Thomas Phil 559
5. Jimmy Sheckard Bro 555
6. Ed Delahanty Phil 553
7. Elmer Flick Phil 512
7. Ginger Beaumont Pitt 512
9. Fred Clarke Pitt 495
10. Willie Keeler Bro 453

What I Learned:

Again on base average had a big influence on this race as 8 of the top 10 in on base average made the list.

Everyone stole bases in this era, but 4 of the top 10 were in the top 10 in stolen bases.

1902 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1902 AL Rickey Award:

1. Ed Delahanty Wash 560
2. Topsy Hertsal Phil 525
3. Dave Futz Phil 512
4. Sammy Strang Chi 504
5. Fielder Jones Chi 475
6. Nap Lajoie Phil-Clev 460
7. Jimmy Barrett Det 452
8. Jessie Burkett StL 443
9. Danny Green Chi 435
10. Patsy Dougherty Bos 428


What I Learned:

Ed Delahanty who would die the next year was basically a power hitter. He stole only 16 bases, which was low at that time. However, it seems that the American League stole less bases this year than I expected.

This is completely weird, but there seems to be a lot of players at this time whos first name starts with the letter “J”.

1902 NL

Here are the 1902 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Honus Wagner Pitt 524
2. Ginger Beaumont Pitt 507
3. Fred Clarke Pitt 495
4. Roy Thomas Phil 457
4. Fred Tenney Bost 457
6. Jimmy Slagle Chi 427
7. Sam Crawford Cinn 404
8. Patsy Donovan StL 368
9. Jake Beckley Cinn 363
10. Willie Keeler Bro 359

What I Learned:

Pittsburg had the top three which is no surprise. They won the league by 27 games and led in runs scored by about a run per game. They must of had the least defection to the American League.

Like the American League there seems to be less stolen bases this year. The overall Rickey score went down in the National League. Wagner went down about 60 points but went from second to first.

1903 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1903 AL Rickey Award:

1. Jimmy Barrett Det 485
2. Patsy Dougherty Bos 463
3. Ollie Pickering Phil 412
4. Nap Lajoie Clev 401
5. Willie Keeler NY 398
6. Danny Green Chi 387
7. Harry Bay Clev 381
8. Elmer Flick Clev 370
9. Sam Crawford Det 362
10. Bill Bradley Clev 361

What I Learned:

Offense is going down as no one cleared 500 points.

Boston easily won the league but had only one player in the top 10. I expected them to do better.

1903 NL

Here are the 1903 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Frank Chance Chi 645
1. Jimmy Sheckard Bro 645
3. Honus Wagner Pitt 560
4. Mike Donlin Cinn 538
5. Roy Thomas Phil 533
6. Roger Bresnahan NY 530
7. Ginger Beaumont Pitt 523
8. Jimmy Slagle Chi 493
9. Sammy Strang Bro 492
10. Fred Clarke Pitt 467

What I Learned:

There were more stolen bases this year at least by the leaders. Frank Chance and Jimmy Sheckard also tied for first in stolen bases with 67. Chance had a higher on base average than Sheckard by 16 points, but Sheckard scored 16 more runs than Chance.

Pittsburg again had three players in the top 10, but they didn’t finish as high. They also again won the National League, but by not as much.

1904 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1904 AL Rickey Award:

1. Nap Lajoie Clev 497
2, Elmer Flick Clev 450
3. Willie Keeler NY 399
4. Danny Green Chi 354
5. Patsy Dougherty Bos-NY 347
6. Chick Stahl Bos 331
7. Bill Bradley Clev 325
8. Jimmy Barrett Det 317
9. Topsy Hertsal Phil 309
10. Jessie Burkett StL 306
10. Billy Lush Det 306

What I Learned:

Offense is down in the American League in 1904. Boston won the league, but Cleveland had the best offensive team and the top 2 for the Rickey Award.

1904 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1904 NL Rickey Award:

1. Honus Wagner Pitt 599
2. Roy Thomas Phil 500
3. Frank Chance Chi 468
4. Art Devlin NY 403
5. Sam Mertes NY 399
6. Dan McGann NY 396
7. Miller Higgins Cinn 385
8. Spike Shannon StL 368
9. Roger Bresnahan NY 363
10. Ginger Beaumont Pitt 354


What I Learned:

Honus Wagner almost won the Rickey Triple Crown. He scored 97 runs while the leader George Browne of the Giants scored 99. Wagner led the league in on base average and stolen bases.

1905 AL

From the bringer of unusual names, here are the leaders for the 1905 AL Rickey Award:

1. Topsy Hertsal Phil 505
2. Elmer Flick Clev 415
3. Harry Bay Clev 386
4. Harry Davis Phil 362
5. George Davis Chi 347
6. Willie Keeler NY 333
7. Jiggs Donahue Chi 330
8. Sam Crawford Det 326
9. George Stone StL 324
10. Fielder Jones Chi 312

What I Learned:

I had a professor in college say when he developed the curve he threw out the kids who were smarter than the teacher, then started the curve. It might have pushed me from a “B” to an “A” in the class. It seems for on base percentage this year Topsy Hertsal and Elmer Flick were smarter that the teacher. Hertsal had an OBP of .409 and Flick had one of .383. Keeler and Crawford were next at .357, but there are a group of players at that level. However, the Rickey Awards aren’t about grades they are about awards and Hersal did well in all three categories to win the award easily.

1905 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1905 NL Rickey Award:

1. Honus Wagner Pitt 653
2. Frank Chance Chi 598
3. Mike Donlin Cinn-NY 573
4. Roy Thomas Phil 539
5. Cy Seymour Cinn 511
6. Miller Huggins Cinn 499
7. Sherry Magee Phil 452
8. Jimmy Slagle Chi 431
9. John Titus Phil 425
10. Dan McGann NY 424

What I learned:

The National League appears to be more of a hitter league than the National League. At least for the last two seasons. This was something I didn’t know before, so I have no idea why.

I wonder if anyone knew it at the time, but Roy Thomas appears to be the best pure leadoff man at the time. I’m saying this as I’m guessing he actually batted leadoff. However, he walked a lot, which wasn’t noticed and stole only a fair amount of bases. Especially considering the amount of times he was on base. Wagner was a better player overall for leadoff, but also could and should hit in the middle of the lineup which is where Pittsburg had him.

1906 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1906 AL Rickey Award:

1. George Stone StL 521
2. Elmer Flick Clev 457
3. Nap Lajoie Clev 420
4. Topsy Hertsal Phil 411
5. Harry Davis Phil 367
5. Willie Keeler NY 367
7. Charlie Hemphill StL 355
8. Hal Chase NY 334
9. Kid Elberfeld NY 331
10. Terry Turner Clev 327

What I Learned:

George Stone was first in on base average, 5th in runs only 7 off the lead and 6th in stolen bases only 4 off the lead. Meanwhile, Elmer Flick was first in runs and tied for first in stolen bases but was 4th in on base percentage. However, he was 45 percentage points behind Stone in on base percentage costing him the victory.

Hal Chase made the top 10 as a 23-year-old. It will be interesting to see if he makes it again.

1906 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1906 NL Rickey Award:

1. Frank Chance Chi 615
2. Honus Wagner Pitt 597
3. Art Devlin NY 506
4. Roger Bresnahan NY 451
5. Harry Steinfeldt Chi 439
6. Miller Huggins Cinn 437
7. Harry Lumley Bro 421
8. Sherry Magee Phil 415
9. Roy Thomas Phil 414
10. Sammy Strang NY 409


What I Learned:

There are 9 players from the top 10 in on base percentage in the top 10 for the Rickey Award. Sammy Strang led the league in on base percentage.

Frank Chance came in third in on base percentage, Wagner in fourth. Chance and Wagner tied for the league lead in runs scored. Chance also led the league in stolen bases, Wagner again coming in fourth. A great season by both players.

The third basemen in the Tinker to Evers to Chance infield Harry Steinfeldt had his best year and also came in 5th for the Rickey Award.

1907 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1907 AL Rickey Award:

1. Ty Cobb Det 513
2. Topsy Hertsal Phil 456
3. Elmer Flick Clev 455
4. Davy Jones Det 406
5. George Stone StL 397
6. Sam Crawford Det 390
7. Ed Hahn Chi 343
8. Bob Ganley Wash 340
9. Danny Hoffman NY 302
10. Fielder Jones Chi 285

What I Learned:

That young Ty Cobb seems like he has a lot of potential.

The 3 Tigers in the top 6 were the top 3 finishers in runs scored, but the order was Crawford, Jones and Cobb.

Elmer Flick came one point short of finishing second for the fourth straight year.

1907 NL

Here are the 1907 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Honus Wagner Pitt 595
2. Sherry Magee Phil 480
3. Fred Clarke Pitt 471
4. Tommy Leach Pitt 437
5. Spike Shannon NY 433
6. Frank Chance Chi 411
7. Jimmy Sheckard Chi 391
8. Art Devlin NY 388
9. Roger Bresnahan NY 371
10. Fred Tenney Bos 353


What I Learned:

As well as having 3 or the top 4 Pittsburg scored the most runs in the league.

For you name people not only do we have Spike Shannon in the top 10, but the 1907 was the only season for one Goat Anderson for the Pirates. He was 8th in runs scored with a total of 73. He was mainly an outfielder, but also played 5 games at 2nd base. He was 27 that season and retired with .4 WAR.

1908 AL

Here are the 1908 AL Rickey Leaders:

1. Matty McIntyre Det 456
2. Ty Cobb Det 429
3. Patsy Dougherty Chi 411
4. Charlie Hemphill NY 398
5. Fielder Jones Chi 394
6. Sam Crawford Det 359
7. Doc Gessier Bos 355
8. Josh Clarke Clev 347
9. Amby McConnell Bos 333
9. Topsy Hertsal Phil 333

What I Learned:

Detroit won the pennant and had the best offense. They definitely had the best outfield. Not only did the three Tiger outfielders finish 1st, 2nd and 6th in the Rickey Award, Cobb finished 3rd in WAR, McIntyre 4th and Crawford 5th. McIntyre had a career year in 1908. He had only two years where he had over 10 runs above average for batting in WAR in his 10-year career and he was 31 over average in 1908. In 1911 he would be 21 runs above average. With 83 walks, third in the league he had a higher on base average than Cobb. He also led the league in runs scored. For one year he help lead a dominate outfield.

1908 NL

Here are the 1908 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Honus Wagner Pitt 589
2. Johnny Evers Chi 478
3. Sherry Magee Phil 396
4. Roger Bresnahan NY 384
5. Hans Lobert Cinn 379
6. John Titus Phil 361
7. Mike Donlin NY 360
8. Fred Tenney NY 341
9. Red Murray StL 336
10. Tommy Leach Pitt 306

What I Learned:

Honus Wagner had his best year and dominated the Rickey Award and with one more run he would have won the Rickey triple crown.

Johnny Evers also had a great offensive season as he almost doubled his walks from 38 to 66 to come in second for on base average.

Kitty Bransfield stole 30 bases for the Phillies.

1909 AL

Here are the 1909 AL Rickey Leaders:

1. Ty Cobb Det 720
2. Eddie Collins Phi 629
3. Donnie Bush Det 549
4. Sam Crawford Det 388
5. Harry Lord Bos 384
6. Tris Speaker Bos 375
7. Patsy Dougherty Chi 368
8. Jake Stahl Bos 326
9. Doc Gessier Bos-Wash 316
10. Nap Lajoie Clev 307


What I Learned:

Ty Cobb won the Rickey triple crown. Donnie Bush tied him in runs scored.

Wow, two great players come on the list in the same year, Eddie Collins and Tris Speaker. It will be fun to watch them challenge Cobb in the 1910s.

Eddie Collins was the only thing keeping the pennant winning Tigers from getting the top three spots.

1909 NL

Here are the 1909 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Honus Wagner Pitt 529
2. Fred Clarke Pitt 455
3. Mike Mitchell Cinn 433
4. Tommy Leach Pitt 407
5. Johnny Evers Chi 398
6. Al Bridwell NY 386
7. Larry Doyle NY 385
8. Ed Konetchy StL 383
9. Bob Bescher Cinn 378
10. Johnny Bates Bos-Phil 371

What I Learned:

The Pirates had 3 of the top 4 plus won the World Championship.

Top 10 NL 1900s

I figured the top 10 in each league for the decade as a whole. I gave points for each of the top 10. I gave 12 points for first, 10 for second 8 for third on down to 1 point for 10th. Here are the top 10 for the decade with their total points for the decade listed behind them.

  1. Honus Wagner 106
  2. Roy Thomas 50.5
  3. Frank Chance 47
  4. Fred Clarke 29
  5. Sherry Magee 25
  6. Roger Bresnahan 23
  7. Jimmy Sheckard 20
  8. Mike Donlin 19
  9. Ginger Beaumont 18.5
  10. Art Devlin 18

Some pretty good players on this list, but Wagner dominated. He was by far the best National League player in the decade and a top 10 all time player.

Top 10 AL 1900s

The American League only existed for 9 years in this decade, so the scores are a little lower.

  1. Nap Lajoie 45
  2. Topsy Hertsal 42.5
  3. Elmer Flick 41
  4. Ty Cobb 34
  5. Patsy Dougherty 29
  6. Willie Keeler 24.5
  7. Jimmy Barrett 24
  8. Sam Crawford 22
  9. George Stone 20
  10. Ollie Pickering 14
  11. Fielder Jones 14
  12. Jessie Burkett 14

What I Learned:

Overall Nap Lajoie was the best position player in the American League for the decade so he deserves his victory. He held on at the end.

Ty Cobb was only 22 for the 1909 season, so his 4th place finish is impressive.

I wouldn’t be worried about who finished 10th for this decade. It is entirely random for this small of a total and with having only 9 years in the “decade”.

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