Gavvy Cravath

Clifford Carlton "Gavvy" Cravath (March 23, 1881 – May 23, 1963), also nicknamed "Cactus", was an American right fielder and right-handed batter in Major League Baseball who played primarily for the Philadelphia Phillies. One of the sport's most prolific power hitters of the dead-ball era, in the seven years from 1913 to 1920 he led the National League in home runs six times, in runs batted in, total bases and slugging percentage twice each, and in hits, runs and walks once each. He led the NL in several offensive categories in 1915 as the Phillies won the first pennant in the team's 33-year history, and he held the team's career home run record from 1917 to 1924. However, he played his home games at Baker Bowl, a park that was notoriously favorable to batting statistics. Cravath hit 92 career homers at Baker Bowl while he had 25 homers in all his games away from home.

Gavvy Cravath
Gavvy Cravath.jpeg
Right fielder / Manager
Born: March 23, 1881
Escondido, California
Died: May 23, 1963 (aged 82)
Laguna Beach, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 18, 1908, for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1920, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
Batting average.287
Home runs119
Runs batted in719
Managerial record91–137
Winning %.399
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

California

Born in Escondido, California, Cravath was the first baseball player from the San Diego area to play in the major leagues. He began his career during a time of independent minor leagues, when not all good players moved quickly to the majors. He entered professional baseball in 1903 with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League; during 5 seasons with the team, he helped them win two pennants. He batted .274, .270, .259, .270, and .303, with 7, 13, 9, 6, and 10 home runs, and with 51, 50, 32, 39, and 45 doubles. He led the league in doubles twice (1906 and 1907) and also finished third twice. Although he never led the PCL in home runs, he was second in the league three times, third once, and fourth once during his 5 seasons.

While playing in California, Cravath reportedly picked up his nickname of "Gavvy" by hitting a ball that killed a seagull ("gaviota" in Spanish) in flight. The reporters spelled the nickname "Gavvy" to emphasize that it rhymes with "savvy", but Cravath himself spelled it "Gavy."

Boston, Chicago, Washington, and Minneapolis

At the end of 1907, Cravath's contract was sold to the Boston Red Sox, where he would be a 27-year-old rookie in 1908. His lack of speed was compared unfavorably to Tris Speaker and other swift outfielders of the time; Cravath once said, "They call me wooden shoes and piano legs and a few other pet names. I do not claim to be the fastest man in the world, but I can get around the bases with a fair wind and all sails set. And so long as I am busting the old apple on the seam, I am not worrying a great deal about my legs." He was hitting .256 with 11 triples in 277 at bats when his contract was sold to the Chicago White Sox in August 1908. After a slow start in Chicago in 1909, he was traded to the Washington Senators, who moved him to the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association after only four games.

In Minneapolis, Cravath learned to hit to the opposite field to take advantage of the short (279 ft) right-field line at Nicollet Park. That ability would also serve him well with the Phillies, who had a similar short right-field porch only 272 feet from home plate at the Baker Bowl. The 1910–11 Millers were one of the great minor league teams of all time, and Cravath was their biggest star. In 1910 he led the league in batting average (.326), hits (200), home runs (14), doubles (41), and triples (13). In 1911 he again led the league in the same categories except for triples, with an average of .363, 221 hits, 53 doubles, 13 triples, and 29 home runs.

Philadelphia

Gavvy Cravath Baseball Card
Baseball card of Gavvy Cravath

The rules of the time did not make it easy for Cravath to move back to the majors. Reportedly, it took a clerical error — the Millers inadvertently left out the word "not" in a telegram — to get Cravath back to the major leagues. In his second chance with the Phillies at age 31 in 1912, he proved he was there to stay by hitting .284 with 11 home runs and 70 RBI. He was also a more than adequate outfielder, sharing the league lead with 26 assists.

In 1913 he enjoyed an even better season, leading the NL in hits (179), home runs (19), RBI (128), total bases (298), and slugging (.568); he also placed second in batting with a career-high mark of .341. He placed second in the voting for the Chalmers (MVP) Award behind Jake Daubert, though some historians think Cravath should have won.Other historians disagree citing the fact that his numbers were largely a product of his tiny home park. He repeated as home run champion in 1914, hitting all of his 19 homers in home games, while again sharing the league lead in assists and finishing second in RBI and slugging.

Gavvy Cravath 1919-1920
Cravath rounding third after hitting a home run, 1919–1920.

1915 saw his best season as he hit 24 home runs ( only 5 home runs away from tiny Baker Bowl ), leading the Phillies to their first pennant; he had a 3-run home run in the pennant-clinching game on September 29. He also led the league in runs (89), RBI (115, leading the NL by 28), total bases (266), walks (86), on-base percentage (.393), and slugging (.510, leading the NL by 53 points), and led the NL in assists for the third time. His 24 home runs were the most in the major leagues since Buck Freeman hit 25 for the 1899 Washington Senators; he also broke Sam Thompson's Phillies franchise record of 20, set in 1889. He later broke Thompson's career franchise record; Cravath's single-season club mark was surpassed by Cy Williams in 1922, and his career record was broken by Williams in 1924. In the low-scoring 1915 World Series against the Red Sox he hit only .125 (2-16), though he drove in the winning run on a ground out in Game 1, the only Phillies victory. He scored Philadelphia's only runs in Games 2 and 4 (both 2–1 losses), and Boston won in five games, outscoring the Phillies 12–10. In Game 5, after the first three Phillie batters reached base, manager Pat Moran gave Cravath the bunt sign on a 3–2 count for unknown reasons; the slugger rolled the next pitch to the pitcher, resulting in a double play.

Regarded as one of the sport's pioneer sluggers of the 20th century, Cravath went on to become the first player to win more than five home run titles. However, his home run total was overwhelmingly a product of the hitter-friendly dimensions of his home park with the Phillies, the Baker Bowl; Cravath hit 92 of his 119 career homers in the Baker Bowl. Although his level of play declined gradually after 1915, he again won the home run title in 1917 and 1918. In 1919, at age 38, he had his last outstanding season, winning his sixth home run title with 12 homers (only 2 homers on the road) in just 214 at-bats while hitting .341 (just .291 on the road). In last place midway through the season, the Phillies fired manager Jack Coombs, and Cravath took his place. After he was invited to return as player-manager in 1920, the Phillies improved to 62–91, but ended up in last place again. Cravath was criticized for his easygoing style and was released, ending his major league career; he became player-manager for the Salt Lake City Bees of the Pacific Coast League in 1921. He played his final professional games in 1922 with the Minneapolis Millers.

Cravath had a career .287 batting average with 119 home runs, then the fourth most in history, and 719 RBI in 1220 games. Mel Ott eventually tied his NL record of six home run titles; Ralph Kiner broke the record in 1952 with seven; and Mike Schmidt now holds the record of eight titles, set with the Phillies in 1986. Cravath's 20th-century record of 119 homers was broken by Babe Ruth in 1921. Cravath returned to California, where he went into real estate and was elected magistrate judge (Justice of the Peace) in September 1927 in Laguna Beach, California; he died there at age 82. His nephew Jeff Cravath was head football coach at the University of Southern California from 1942 to 1950.

In a June 27, 2004 interview with the Washington Post, 7-time Jeopardy! champion Tom Walsh, who set the record for wins on the program in January 2004 before Ken Jennings came along later that year and won 74 games in a row, said, "I feel like 'Cactus Gavvy' Cravath. Do you know who that is? Right. Nobody does. He's the guy who had the home run record before Babe Ruth came along."

In 1985, Cravath was also inducted by the San Diego Hall of Champions into the Breitbard Hall of Fame honoring San Diego's finest athletes both on and off the playing surface.[1]

See also

References

  • William Swank. Gavy Cravath. In Society for American Baseball Research, Deadball Era Committee; Simon, Tom (Ed.) (2004). Deadball Stars of the National League, pp. 221–224. Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-860-9.

External links

1908 Boston Red Sox season

The 1908 Boston Red Sox season was the eighth season for the Major League Baseball franchise previously known as the Boston Americans. The Red Sox finished fifth in the American League (AL) with a record of 75 wins and 79 losses. The team played its home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds.

1909 Chicago White Sox season

The 1909 Chicago White Sox season was a season in Major League Baseball. The White Sox finished fourth in the American League with a record of 78 wins and 74 losses.

1912 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1912 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the National League with a record of 73–79, 30½ games behind the first-place New York Giants.

1913 Major League Baseball season

The 1913 Major League Baseball season.

1913 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1913 throughout the world.

1915 Major League Baseball season

The 1915 Major League Baseball season.

1915 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1915 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Phillies winning the National League, then going on to lose the 1915 World Series to the Boston Red Sox. This was the team's first pennant since joining the league in 1883. They would have to wait another 35 years for their second.

1917 Major League Baseball season

The 1917 Major League Baseball season.

1918 Major League Baseball season

The 1918 Major League Baseball season featured a reduced schedule due to American participation in World War I.

1918 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1918 Philadelphia Phillies season.

1919 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1919 Philadelphia Phillies season.

1920 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1920 Philadelphia Phillies season.

Cravath

Cravath is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Erastus Milo Cravath (1833–1900), American religious leader and educator

Gavvy Cravath (1881–1963), American baseball player

Paul Drennan Cravath (1861–1940), American lawyer, co-founder of Cravath, Swaine & Moore

Prosper Cravath (1809–1886), American farmer and lawyer

Ruth Cravath (1902–1986), American stonework artist

Dave Robertson

Davis Aydelotte Robertson (September 25, 1889 – November 5, 1970) was an American professional baseball player. He was an outfielder over parts of nine seasons with the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Robertson was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. He attended North Carolina State University after matriculating at Maury High School and Norfolk Academy.

In 1916 and 1917, he tied for the National League lead in home runs (with Cy Williams and Gavvy Cravath, respectively) while playing for New York. The short-distanced right field fence at the Polo Grounds was a frequent target of long drives hit by Robertson and his Giants' teammate, Benny Kauff. Their hits to right field became so much of an issue that National League officials convened following the 1916 baseball season. Baseball officials decided to amend Rule #1, which read the shortest distance from a fence or stand on fair territory to the home base should be 235 feet. The amendment to the rule changed the shortest distance from a stand or fence to 270 feet.Robertson played for the Giants in the 1917 World Series against the Chicago White Sox, his 11 hits leading the team in the Series in a losing cause. A member of the Giants during the 1922 season, he did not make an appearance in the 1922 World Series. The champion Giants swept all four games of that Series from their crosstown rival New York Yankees.

In a nine-year major-league career, Robertson posted a .287 batting average (812-2830) with 366 runs, 47 home runs and 364 RBI in 804 games played. His on-base percentage was .318 and slugging percentage was .409. He surpassed the .300 batting mark three times. On September 14,1920, he went 5-5 as a member of the Cubs. On August 19, 1921, he had 8 RBI in a game as a member of the Pirates. Eleven days later, on August 30, he hit for the cycle.

Robertson died at the age of 81 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Hobe Ferris

Albert Sayles "Hobe" Ferris (December 7, 1877 – March 18, 1938) was a major league second baseman during the 1900s. He holds the record for the lowest on-base percentage of any player in Major League Baseball history with over 5000 plate appearances, recording an OBP of just .265. Despite this, his career slugging percentage is higher than the league average of the period.

Although he grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and was long thought to have been born there, census records indicate that he was born somewhere in England and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1879.

He was a shortstop in the minor leagues from 1898 to 1900, after which he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. He chose to jump to the newly formed American League instead, and signed with the Boston Americans. As the team had already signed a shortstop in Freddy Parent, Ferris moved to second base. He made his major league debut on April 26, 1901.

He committed 61 errors as a rookie for Boston in 1901. Kid Gleason of Detroit made 64 errors, but Ferris's error total remains the second-highest total ever for a second baseman in the American League. He hit .250 with 15 triples and 63 RBI. The following season, he cut his error total to 39 and began to acquire a reputation as a stellar fielder with outstanding range. He was also one of the league's feistiest players, being suspended in 1902 for an altercation with umpire Jack Sheridan. On September 11, 1906, he got into a nasty fight with teammate Jack Hayden, whom he accused of lackadaisical play. Ferris kicked Hayden in the face. Both were ejected from the game, and Ferris was suspended for the remainder of the season. This was the first time that teammates had been ejected for fighting each other.

He was a member of the Boston side that won the inaugural 1903 World Series. Despite being a gifted defensive player, Ferris committed an error in the top of the first inning of the opening game of the series, fumbling a ball hit by Pittsburgh's Kitty Bransfield, and in doing so committed the first error in World Series history. He knocked in all of Boston's runs in the final game, which they won 3-0. Boston repeated as pennant winners in 1904, although no World Series was played that year. Ferris hit only .213 that season, and the team fell down the standings over the next years as its star players began to show their age. By 1906, Boston was in last place with a 49-105 record. Ferris was one of the team's few bright spots, playing excellent defense and ranking among American League leaders in extra base hits.

Prior to the 1908 season Ferris was traded to the St. Louis Browns in order to clear space for Amby McConnell, who was highly rated at the time. While at St. Louis, Ferris converted to become a third baseman. His first season with the Browns was the most productive of his entire career: he set new highs in OBP, batting average, and RBI and hit in 26 straight games. However, this relatively successful season with the bat proved to be something of a blip — in 1909 his numbers plummeted as he recorded the worst season of his career. Following this poor season Ferris's contract was not renewed by the Browns.

Following his departure from St. Louis, Ferris could not find a Major League club willing to offer him a contract. This led to him signing with the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association prior to the 1910 season. In his first season with the Millers, Ferris's performance with the bat improved slightly; however, the following year he exploded. In 1911 he hit 14 home runs and recorded an average of .303 as the Millers won their second consecutive pennant with a team that included Gavvy Cravath, Sam Leever and future Hall of Famer Rube Waddell. The Millers won a third consecutive pennant in 1912. Ferris's numbers, however, returned to their previous levels. Ferris retired after playing two more minor league seasons, with the St. Paul Saints and Wilkes-Barre Barons, respectively. His final game in the majors was October 1, 1909.

Hobe Ferris moved to Detroit after his playing career, where he worked as a mechanic. He died there of a brain hemorrhage in 1938.

List of Major League Baseball annual home run leaders

In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit so far that the batter is able to circle all the bases ending at home plate, scoring himself plus any runners already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. An automatic home run is achieved by hitting the ball on the fly over the outfield fence in fair territory. More rarely, an inside-the-park home run occurs when the hitter reaches home plate while the baseball remains in play on the field. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league wins the home run title each season by hitting the most home runs that year. Only home runs hit in a particular league count towards that league's seasonal lead. Mark McGwire, for example, hit 58 home runs in 1997, more than any other player that year. However, McGwire was traded from the American League's (AL) Oakland Athletics to the National League's (NL) St. Louis Cardinals midway through the season and his individual AL and NL home run totals (34 and 24, respectively) did not qualify to lead either league.The first home run champion in the National League was George Hall. In the league's inaugural 1876 season, Hall hit five home runs for the short-lived National League Philadelphia Athletics. In 1901, the American League was established and Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie led it with 14 home runs for the American League Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of his 22-season career, Babe Ruth led the American League in home runs 12 times. Mike Schmidt and Ralph Kiner have the second and third most home run titles respectively, Schmidt with eight and Kiner with seven, all won in the National League. Kiner's seven consecutive titles from 1946 to 1952 are also the most consecutive home run titles by any player.

Ruth set the Major League Baseball single-season home run record four times, first at 29 (1919), then 54 (1920), 59 (1921), and finally 60 (1927). Ruth's 1920 and 1921 seasons are tied for the widest margin of victory for a home run champion as he topped the next highest total by 35 home runs in each season. The single season mark of 60 stood for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. Maris' mark was broken 37 years later by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during the 1998 home run record chase, with McGwire ultimately setting the mark at 70. Barry Bonds, who also has the most career home runs, set the current single season record of 73 in 2001. The 1998 and 2001 seasons each had 4 players hit 50 or more home runs – Greg Vaughn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sosa, and McGwire in 1998 and Alex Rodriguez, Luis Gonzalez, Sosa, and Bonds in 2001. A player has hit 50 or more home runs 42 times, 25 times since 1990. The lowest home run total to lead a major league was four, recorded in the NL by Lip Pike in 1877 and Paul Hines in 1878.

List of National League annual slugging percentage leaders

List of National League Slugging Percentage Leaders

The National League slugging percentage Leader is the Major League Baseball player in the National League who has the highest slugging percentage in a particular season.

In baseball statistics, slugging percentage' (abbreviated SLG) is a measure of the power of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats:

where AB is the number of at-bats for a given player, and 1B, 2B, 3B, and HR are the number of singles, doubles, triples, and home runs, respectively. Walks are specifically excluded from this calculation.

Currently, a player needs to accrue an average of at least 3.1 plate appearances for each game his team plays in order to qualify for the title. An exception to this qualification rule is that if a player falls short of 3.1 plate appearances per game, but would still have the highest batting average if enough hitless at-bats were added to reach the 3.1 average mark, the player still wins the slugging percentage championship.

The latest example of this exception being employed was in 2007, when Ryan Braun had a .634 slugging percentage, but only 492 plate appearances – 10 short of the 502 necessary. The addition of 10 hitless at-bats would have lowered his slugging percentage to a value that was still better than anyone else in the league, so Braun was the National League slugging percentage champion. A similar situation occurred when Tony Gwynn won the NL batting title in 1996.

Year-by-Year National League Slugging Percentage Leaders

+ Hall of Famer

A ** by the stat's value indicates the player had fewer than the required number of plate appearances for the SLG title that year. In order to rank the player, the necessary number of hitless at bats were added to the player's season total. The value here is their actual value, and not the value used to rank them.

Philadelphia Phillies all-time roster

The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The team has played officially under two names since beginning play in 1883: the current moniker, as well as the "Quakers", which was used in conjunction with "Phillies" during the team's early history. The team was also known unofficially as the "Blue Jays" during the World War II era. Since the franchise's inception, 2,006 players have made an appearance in a competitive game for the team, whether as an offensive player (batting and baserunning) or a defensive player (fielding, pitching, or both).

Of those 2,006 Phillies, 202 players have had surnames beginning with the letter M, which is the largest total of any single letter, followed by S with 187 players. The highest numbers of individual batters belongs to M (115), and S has the most pitchers (90). The letters with the smallest representation are Q (5 players), U (6 players), Z (7 players), and Y (8 players); however, there has never been a Phillies player, nor a player in Major League Baseball history, whose surname begins with the letter X.Thirty-two players in Phillies history have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Those players for whom the Hall recognizes the Phillies as their primary team include Grover Cleveland Alexander, Richie Ashburn, Dave Bancroft, Steve Carlton, Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, Chuck Klein, Robin Roberts, Mike Schmidt, and Sam Thompson; manager Harry Wright was also inducted for his contributions with the club. The Phillies have retired numbers for six players, including Schmidt (#20), Carlton (#32), Ashburn (#1), Roberts (#36), and Jim Bunning (#14); the sixth retired number is Jackie Robinson's #42, which was retired throughout baseball in 1997. The Phillies also honor two additional players with the letter "P" in the manner of a retired number: Alexander played before numbers were used in the major leagues; and Klein wore a variety of numbers in his Phillies career.Thirty-six Phillies players have been elected to the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame. All of the players listed above (save Robinson) have been elected; also included are Dick Allen, Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, Johnny Callison, Gavvy Cravath, Darren Daulton, Del Ennis, Jimmie Foxx, Dallas Green, Granny Hamner, Willie Jones, John Kruk, Mike Lieberthal, Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Sherry Magee, Tug McGraw, Juan Samuel, Curt Schilling, Bobby Shantz, Chris Short, Curt Simmons, Tony Taylor, John Vukovich, and Cy Williams. Foxx and Shantz were inducted for their contributions as members of the Philadelphia Athletics. Two non-players are also members of the Wall of Fame for their contributions to the Phillies: broadcaster Harry Kalas; and manager, general manager, and team executive Paul Owens.

Philadelphia Phillies all-time roster (C)

The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The team has played officially under two names since beginning play in 1883: the current moniker, as well as the "Quakers", which was used in conjunction with "Phillies" during the team's early history. The team was also known unofficially as the "Blue Jays" during the World War II era. Since the franchise's inception, 2,006 players have made an appearance in a competitive game for the team, whether as an offensive player (batting and baserunning) or a defensive player (fielding, pitching, or both).

Of those 2,006 Phillies, 143 have had surnames beginning with the letter C. Two of those players have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: pitcher Steve Carlton, who pitched for Philadelphia from 1972 to 1986; and first baseman Roger Connor, who appeared for the Phillies in the 1892 season. The Hall of Fame lists the Phillies as Carlton's primary team, and he is a member of the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame, as are right fielders Johnny Callison and Gavvy Cravath. The Phillies have also retired Carlton's number 32, the only player on this list so honored. Carlton holds two franchise records, leading all Phillies pitchers with 241 victories and 3,031 strikeouts.Among the 78 batters in this list, catcher Harry Cheek and shortstop Todd Cruz have the highest batting average, at .500; each recorded two hits in four career at-bats. Other players with an average above .300 include Ben Chapman (.308 in two seasons), Billy Consolo (.400 in one season), Duff Cooley (.308 in four seasons), Ed Cotter (.308 in one season), and Midre Cummings (.303 in one season). Callison's 185 home runs lead all players on this list, as do Cravath's 676 runs batted in.Of this list's 66 pitchers, two—Milo Candini and Steve Comer—have undefeated win–loss records: Candini with a 2–0 mark; and Comer with one victory and no defeats. Carlton's franchise-record 241 wins lead all pitchers on this list, as do his 161 losses. Mitch Chetkovich is the only member of this list with an earned run average (ERA) of 0.00, allowing no runs in three innings pitched. Among pitchers who have allowed earned runs, Harry Coveleski has the best average (2.09). Carlton's strikeout total of 3,031 is the most among all Phillies pitchers.One player, Bert Conn, has made 30% or more of his Phillies appearances as a pitcher and a position player. He amassed an 0–3 pitching record with a 7.77 ERA while batting .267 with three extra-base hits and seven runs scored.

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