Sep. 23, 2014
Best Major League Baseball Team 1899-1907 Part 2
Hopefully, if you are reading this article, you had a chance to read Part 1. If not, here is a quick refresher. To determine the best team that ever played in Major League Baseball, I had to start with two teams, the 1904 Boston Americans and the 1904 New York Giants; the World Series was not played that year, so it was necessary to "play it out", and it also proved to be a great place to start because who does not want to know what would have happened? Well, the Giants swept the Americans 5-0 which brought in play two predetermined rules. If a sweep takes place then the second place of the winning team's year gets added because maybe they were that dominant and might be better than first place teams from other years. Also, a second place team that is swept adds a team from the previous year for the same reason.
The results of the previous series would lead to the following teams being added into the competition: the 1903 Boston Americans(the next best team from the previous year and coincidentally, the first World Series Champions), the 1904 Chicago Cubs (next best team from 1904), and the 1902 Philadelphia A's and the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (both teams had to be added because there was no World Series and they competed against entirely different competition.)
The next part of the season would, in essence, would continue with a "Winner's Bracket and a Loser's Bracket." In the Winner's Bracket, the pseudo World Series Champions of 1904 - the New York Giants would play the 1903 World Series Champions Boston Americans. The Losers Bracket would consist of the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates, the 1904 Chicago Cubs, and the 1902 Philadelphia A's in a round robin home-home alternating formula since all three teams were entering 0-0. Unfortunately, the 0-5 1904 Boston Americans would have to sit out for awhile.
The series between the '04 Giants and the '03 Americans would begin in Boston and they would have home field advantage based on another predetermined rule. When two teams must play each other without any previous history, the older team gets the home field advantage, what I like to call the "Age before Beauty Rule." They would also play in a best 5 of 9 because that is what the format was in 1903 and the 1905 World Series Champion has not been added to the competition yet.
The series was again dominated by the 1904 New York Giants and they won the series 5-1 with the Americans lone victory coming on 5-2-1905 where they won 6-4 with the starting pitchers being George Winter against Red Ames. Christy Mathewson had faced Cy Young when the '04 Giants played the '04 Americans and had won 5-2. In this series, Mathewson and Young faced each other two more times with Mathewson getting the winning decision both times with the Giants winning 4-2 in Boston in Game 1 and the Giants winning 8-2 in the deciding Game 6 in New York. In this parallel universe, if you will, the best pitcher every year is given the "Christy Mathewson Award."
In the Losers Bracket, or maybe a better name would be the "Newcomers Bracket", the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates finished with a 3-1 record, the 1904 Chicago Cubs finished with a 1-2 record, and the 1902 Philadelphia A's finished with an 0-1 record. In a perfect world, they would have played the same amount of games with an equal amount of home games, however, the predetermined rules dictate that two teams can only play on days that both teams actually played in reality and teams that ended in a tie would be carried over to the next day that both teams played until a decision was rendered. Also, back then, teams schedules were not as rigid as they are today. They would also stop playing when the main series between the '04 Giants and the '03 Americans was completed. Thus, this part of the season concluded on 5-3-1905 with the 1904 New York Giants in first with a 10-1 record, a 6.5 game lead over the 3-1 '02 Pirates.
The season would also continue because even though the '02 A's had only played one game, technically they were swept which brought in the rule that if losing team that is swept, the next best team from the previous year must be added. Again, there was no World Series, so the first place teams from both teams were added. Part three of the season would continue with the 1901 Chicago White Sox and the 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates becoming eligible to play with the best and the opportunity to show how good they were.