Philadelphia Athletics Had Only 2 Pitchers Win More Than 2 Games in 1916

Harold FriendChief Writer IMay 11, 2012

Statue of Connie Mack
Statue of Connie MackJamie Squire/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Athletics won the 1914 American League pennant. Despite being highly favored in the World Series, they were swept by the "Miracle" Boston Braves.

Facing financial problems caused primarily by the formation of the "outlaw" Federal League, Athletics' owner Connie Mack refused to match the offers the new league made to many of his stars, which resulted in a very different Athletics team in 1915.

Philadelphia finished last with a record of 43 wins and 109 losses. Their statistics were amazing, but it was only the beginning.

The Athletics used 55 different players, 27 of whom were pitchers. The average age of their pitching staff was a little more than 22 years.

Weldon Wykcoff led the staff with 10 wins, but he lost 22 games. Bob Shawkey was second in wins with six.

The 1915 Athletics batted .237/.304/.311 and averaged 3.54 runs a game. They had a 4.29 ERA, which was last in the league. The Cleveland Indians, with a 3.13 ERA, were seventh.

But in 1916, it became bizarre.

The Athletics lost 117 games to finish 40 games behind the seventh-place Washington Senators. They batted .242/.303/.313, averaging 2.9 runs a game. They didn't score as many as three runs a game, but the lack of defense tells the real story.

The team ERA was 3.92, which is respectable. The defense, however, was so bad that the Athletics allowed 5.04 runs a game.

Bullet Joe Bush, Elmer Meyers and Jack Nabors each reached the 20-game mark in losses.

Bush lost 24 games, Meyers lost 23 games and Nabors lost 20 while winning only once. Yes, Nabors was 1-20.

Bush won 15 games and Meyers won 14. Jing Johnson and Rube Parnham followed. Each had two wins.

It is almost impossible to imagine a pitching staff that has three 20-game losers and only two pitchers that won more than two games.

Philadelphia finished in the basement from 1915-1921. Finally, in 1922, the Boston Red Sox, in the process of helping Ed Barrow and the New York Yankees form their first dynasty, edged out the Athletics for last place.

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