March 31, 2023

Hardball Retrospective – 1908 Season Replay

August 19, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

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, Johnny Evers is listed on the Cubs roster for the duration of his career while the Giants claim Hooks Wiltse and the Cardinals declare “Turkey” Mike Donlin. 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 1908 schedule.

Several housekeeping items:

  • American League schedule was omitted from the 1908 season replay due to a lack of ballplayers on each team. The American League will commence play in 1909. (Apologies to Ty Cobb, Ed Walsh and Addie Joss)
  • Players on defunct teams such as Honus Wagner, Tommy Leach and Fred Clarke (Louisville Colonels) along with Cy Young and Bobby Wallace (Cleveland Spiders) 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. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.


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

1908 National League – Replay Results

The St. Louis Cardinals stormed out to an early lead and held a 10-game cushion as the calendar turned to September. The Giants were unwilling to concede the pennant to the Redbirds as the New Yorkers seized 25 of 33 contests in September before losing four consecutive contests to the Phillies in early October. Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown (31-10, 1.94) paced the Senior Circuit in victories and ERA. “Turkey” Mike Donlin earned the runner-up slot in batting average (.325), OBP (.361) and base hits (202). Donlin (99) and Red Murray (96) topped the RBI leader boards while Charlie “Eagle Eye” Hemphill led the League with 53 stolen bases and tied the Giants’ Art Devlin with 100 aces. Murray legged out 23 triples and finished third in the NL with a .300 BA.

Christy Mathewson (27-13, 2.23) twirled a no-hitter against the Pirates on August 26, 1908. “Matty” completed 36 of 40 starts and finished fourth in earned run average. Hooks Wiltse (26-14, 2.16) placed second in the ERA race. Devlin nabbed 46 bags and slapped 182 base knocks. Germany Schaefer succeeded on 42 stolen base attempts while Joe Tinker led Chicago in runs scored and RBI (82) as the Cubs finished 13 games off the pace. “Long” Tom Hughes (20-11, 2.27), Ed Reulbach (17-16, 2.90) and Fred Beebe (10-9, 2.21) fashioned sub-3.00 ERA’s.

George McQuillan (24-16, 2.43) delivered the fourth-best ERA in the National League and completed 35 of 39 starts for the Phillies. Sherry Magee belted a League-best 35 doubles and contributed 14 three-baggers. Cincinnati ended the season one game above .500 (78-77). Rube Vickers (22-15, 2.30) and Orval Overall (13-12, 2.41) held the opposition in check while Patsy Dougherty sparked the offense with a .296 BA (4th in the NL) with 45 stolen bases.

Pirates’ utilityman Solly Hofman claimed the home run title with 6 round-trippers while Hans Lobert slashed 15 triples. Kaiser Wilhelm logged a 19-19 record and completed 30 games while fashioning an ERA of 2.90. Fielder Jones accrued 52 stolen bases and a League-leading 77 walks for the Superbas. Kitty Bransfield secured the batting crown with a .344 BA and also topped the leader boards in OBP (.378), SLG (.440) and base hits (218).


1908 National League – Hardball Retro Replay – Final Standings


1908 NL Batting Leaders 1908 NL Pitching Leaders
Team Batting Team Pitching
1908 Boston Doves 1908 Boston Doves
1908 Brooklyn Superbas 1908 Brooklyn Superbas
1908 Chicago Cubs 1908 Chicago Cubs
1908 Cincinnati Reds 1908 Cincinnati Reds
1908 New York Giants 1908 New York Giants
1908 Philadelphia Phillies 1908 Philadelphia Phillies
1908 Pittsburgh Pirates 1908 Pittsburgh Pirates
1908 St. Louis Cardinals 1908 St. Louis Cardinals

Replay Results vs. Hardball Retrospective Findings

The Giants regrouped and seized the pennant by 8 games over the Cubs. New York led the National League in OWAR (61.8) and Chicago posted the best OWS (315). St. Louis finished fifth in OWAR and OWS.

On Deck

1909 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




2 Responses to “Hardball Retrospective – 1908 Season Replay”
  1. Cliff Blau says:

    The team batting and pitching links all go to 1907.

  2. Derek Bain says:

    @Cliff Blau – Cliff, thank you for catching this error. I have corrected the links – they should all reference the 1908 results now. – Derek

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