June 15, 2024

Hardball Retrospective – 1903 Season Replay

April 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Mordecai Brown is listed on the Cardinals roster for the duration of his career while the Reds claim Sam Crawford and the Phillies declare Nap Lajoie. I calculated revised standings for every season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition.  Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Using a modified version of the Lahman Database (with the ballplayers linked to their original franchises), I imported the players into Digital Diamond Baseball and conducted a full-season replay with the as-played 1903 schedule.

Several housekeeping items:

  • American League schedule was omitted from the 1903 season replay due to a lack of ballplayers on each team.
  • Players on defunct teams such as Joe McGinnity (Baltimore-NL), Cy Young (Cleveland Spiders), Rube Waddell and Honus Wagner (Louisville Colonels) are excluded because their original team’s league ceased to exist by 1901.
  • I attempted to emulate player usage in the DDBB replay to real-life usage whenever possible.

This series of articles will reveal the results for each season replay and compare the outcomes to the OPW%, OWAR and OWS standings from Hardball Retrospective. “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks with the print edition coming soon. Additional information and a discussion forum are available at TuataraSoftware.com.


OWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “original” teams

OWS – Win Shares for players on “original” teams

OPW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “original” teams

1903 National League – Replay Results

The Philadelphia Phillies secured the club’s second pennant in three years, outdistancing the Cubs by a 10-game margin. Al Orth and Doc White tied Chicago’s ace Jack Taylor for the League lead with 22 victories while teammates Bill Duggleby (19-11, 3.30) and Ned Garvin (17-7, 3.16) contributed mightily to the staff’s dominant efforts. Nap Lajoie supplied a .332 BA with 118 aces along with a League-leading 50 doubles and 132 RBI. Leadoff wizard Roy Thomas topped the leader boards with a .449 OBP, 129 runs and 48 stolen bases.

Jack Taylor (22-12, 2.87) merited his second consecutive ERA title. Bill Bradley (.325/6/103) laced 21 three-baggers to lead the Senior Circuit. Pittsburgh placed a distant third at 72-69. “Happy” Jack Chesbro (16-12, 3.54) and Sam Leever (17-16, 3.89) aka “The Goshen Schoolmaster” excelled on the mound for the Bucs. The well-balanced Pirates’ lineup consisted of Jake Beckley (.333/2/87), Ginger Beaumont (.326/4/87), Jimmy Sebring (.270/5/108), Jimmy Slagle (.305, 115 runs) and Jimmy Williams (.308, 95 runs). John Ganzel provided additional thump off the bench, contributing a .330 BA with 78 RBI in a part-time role.

Giants’ outfielder Cy Seymour paced the National League with a .367 BA, .525 SLG and 224 base hits while finishing second in home runs (11), RBI (113) and stolen bases (46). “Wee” Willie Keeler placed runner-up to Seymour with 220 safeties and a .344 BA as the New Yorkers played .500 ball for the year. Christy Mathewson secured his position as staff ace with a 3.21 ERA to supplement 19 victories. “Turkey” Mike Donlin compiled a 34-game hit streak and registered 108 tallies for the Cardinals. Willie Sudhoff (18-12, 3.16) and Bob Wicker (18-13) co-anchored the St. Louis rotation.

Sam Crawford manufactured a .340 BA while fellow outfielder Patsy Dougherty ignited the Reds offense with a .331 BA and 100 tallies. Socks Seybold belted 12 round-trippers to lead the League and drove in 101 baserunners. Claude Ritchey clubbed 43 two-base knocks (2nd behind Lajoie) and topped the Superbas with a .326 BA and a .476 SLG. Patsy Donovan batted .331 for the cellar-dwelling Beaneaters.

1903 National League – Hardball Retro Replay – Final Standings

1903 NL Batting Leaders 1903 NL Pitching Leaders
Team Batting Team Pitching
1903 Boston Beaneaters 1903 Boston Beaneaters
1903 Brooklyn Superbas 1903 Brooklyn Superbas
1903 Chicago Cubs 1903 Chicago Cubs
1903 Cincinnati Reds 1903 Cincinnati Reds
1903 New York Giants 1903 New York Giants
1903 Philadelphia Phillies 1903 Philadelphia Phillies
1903 Pittsburgh Pirates 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates
1903 St. Louis Cardinals 1903 St. Louis Cardinals


Replay Results vs. Hardball Retrospective Findings

New York edged Boston, Chicago and Cincinnati to collect the franchise’s first Pythagorean Win Percentage (OPW%) pennant with a 79-61 record (.568). The Reds (49.0) eclipsed the Cubs (48.0) in OWAR although the Chicago held a slight edge over Cincinnati in OWS, 304 to 298. Philadelphia’s balanced attack overcame any perceived deficiencies in the DDBB replay.

On Deck

1904 Season Replay

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database


James, Bill, with Jim Henzler. Win Shares. Morton Grove, Ill.: STATS, 2002. Print.

Retrosheet – Transactions Database

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive

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