Hardball Retrospective – The “Original” 1905 New York Giants

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. Accordingly, Vada Pinson is listed on the Reds roster for the duration of his career while the Red Sox declare Amos Otis and the Rockies claim Chone Figgins. 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.

Expanding on my research for the book, the following series of articles will reveal the finest single-season rosters for every Major League organization based on overall rankings in OWAR and OWS along with the general managers and scouting directors that constructed the teams. “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 TuataraSoftware.com.

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


The 1905 New York Giants          OWAR: 69.9     OWS: 348     OPW%: .634

Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1905 Giants edged the Phillies, seizing the pennant by three games. New York led the National League in OWS and posted the highest all-time OWAR.

Cy Seymour’s tremendous offensive outburst transformed the Giants’ attack. Seymour paced the circuit in seven major categories including batting average (.377), hits (219), doubles (40), triples (21), RBI (121), SLG (.559) and total bases (325). A .303 lifetime batter, Seymour never led the League in any categories during his other 15 MLB seasons. Harry H. Davis (.285/8/83) topped the home run charts in four consecutive campaigns. Danny F. Murphy ripped 34 two-base knocks and swiped 23 bags. Art Devlin pilfered a League-high 59 bases in his sophomore season. “Wee” Willie Keeler contributed 42 sacrifice hits along with a .302 BA – the twelfth of thirteen straight seasons with a batting average above the .300 mark. Keeler posted a career BA of .341 and collected at least 200 base knocks per year from 1894-1901.

Christy Mathewson leads the All-Time Second Basemen rankings according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” Teammates listed in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include Seymour (30th-CF), Keeler (35th-RF), Murphy (51st-2B), Devlin (58th-3B) and Davis (60th-1B).

Willie Keeler RF 2.22 19.56
Danny F. Murphy 2B 4.04 25.62
Cy Seymour CF 10.32 40.54
Harry H. Davis 1B 4.1 26.45
Art Devlin 3B 3.74 21.67
Dave Zearfoss C -0.35 0.5
Charlie Babb SS -1.07 3.32
Ike Van Zandt LF/RF -1.73 3.69
Moonlight Graham RF -0.01 0
Offa Neal 3B -0.17 0.15

Christy Mathewson (31-9, 1.28) dominated opposition batsmen as he topped the charts in victories, ERA, shutouts (8), strikeouts (206) and WHIP (0.933). Excluding 1902, “Big Six” tallied at least 20 wins per season from 1901-1914. The Hall of Fame hurler registered a lifetime won-loss record of 373-188 with an ERA of 2.13. Red Ames whiffed 198 batters and furnished a 22-8 mark with a 2.74 ERA. Dummy Taylor fashioned a 2.66 ERA and compiled 16 victories. Hooks Wiltse contributed a 15-6 mark with 2.47 ERA in 32 games (19 starts).

Christy Mathewson SP 10.56 39.05
Hooks Wiltse SP 3.56 18.38
Dummy Taylor SP 2.04 14.76
Red Ames SP 1.75 17.71
Red Donahue SP -1.32 4.41


The “Original” 1905 New York Giants roster

NAME POS WAR WS General Manager Scouting Director
Christy Mathewson SP 10.56 39.05 John Brush
Cy Seymour CF 10.32 40.54 John Brush
Harry Davis 1B 4.1 26.45 John Brush
Danny Murphy 2B 4.04 25.62 John Brush
Art Devlin 3B 3.74 21.67 John Brush
Hooks Wiltse SP 3.56 18.38 John Brush
Willie Keeler RF 2.22 19.56 John Brush
Dummy Taylor SP 2.04 14.76 John Brush
Red Ames SP 1.75 17.71 John Brush
Moonlight Graham RF -0.01 0 John Brush
Offa Neal 3B -0.17 0.15 John Brush
Dave Zearfoss C -0.35 0.5 John Brush
Charlie Babb SS -1.07 3.32 John Brush
Red Donahue SP -1.32 4.41 John Brush
Ike Van Zandt RF -1.73 3.69 John Brush

Honorable Mention

The “Original” 1962 Giants    OWAR: 52.6     OWS: 355     OPW%: .589

The Giants engaged in fierce late-season combat with the Braves and the Reds. “The Say Hey Kid” and his San Francisco teammates emerged with a hard-fought victory. Willie Mays (.304/49/141) supplied career-bests in runs (130) and RBI yet finished runner-up in the 1962 NL MVP balloting. The twelve-time Gold Glove Award winner retired in 1973 with 660 home runs, 2062 runs scored and 3283 base hits. Orlando “Baby Bull” Cepeda mashed 35 long balls, amassed 114 ribbies and registered 105 tallies. Felipe Alou (.316/25/98) and Leon “Daddy Wags” Wagner (.260/37/107) merited their first All-Star invitations. Seven-time Gold Glove Award winner Bill D. White swatted 20 big-flies, drove in 102 baserunners and produced a career-best .324 BA. Eddie Bressoud drilled 40 doubles while third-sacker Jim Davenport (.297/14/58) earned an All-Star nod along with the Gold Glove Award. Juan Marichal began a string of 8 consecutive All-Star appearances in ’62. The “Dominican Dandy” amassed 18 victories, completed 18 of 36 starts and compiled a 3.36 ERA.

On Deck

What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1904 Phillies

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database


James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, NY.: The Free Press, 2001. Print.

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

Retrosheet – Transactions Database

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive

Derek Bain is a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games. He has written a number of articles for Fangraphs and Seamheads, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.

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