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1904 American League

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The 1904 season of the American League was the fourth season of the league.

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Season summary[edit]

The 1904 American League pennant race was one of the most exciting in history. On August 22nd, the entire first division of the league was within two games of each other, with the fifth-place Cleveland Naps just 5 games back. From August 27 to the end of the season, the Boston Americans and New York Highlanders would be within one game of each other for all but four days. The third-place Chicago White Sox weren't eliminated until the first week of October.

The pennant was decided in a five-game season-ending series between Boston and New York that began on Friday, October 7th in New York with Boston holding a half-game lead. In the opener, Jack Chesbro won his 41st game for New York, setting a league record that still stands. There were now two doubleheaders left to play, and the already overused Chesbro started one of the games on the Saturday in Boston. He and Walter Clarkson were battered in a 13-2 loss, then Boston also won the nitecap, 1-0, behind the pitching of Cy Young and a costly error by Wid Conroy. With Sunday baseball still banned, the last two games were played on the Monday, October 10th, back in New York. The Highlanders needed to win both games, and sent Chesbro back on the mound for the opener. New York had little choice, as they basically had a two-men pitching staff, with Chesbro and Jake Powell (who had been on the wrong end of the 1-0 decision) combining for a record 845 innings). Facing Bill Dinneen, one of the heroes of Boston's World Series win the year before, he took a tie game into the 9th, but famously uncorked a wild pitch with Lou Criger on third base to allow the winning run. The Highlanders were unable to score in the bottom half of the inning, stranding two runners, and lost the game, 3-2, to give Boston its second consecutive pennant. That wild pitch would (unfairly) haunt Chesbro for the remainder of his career and of his life, even though the batter, Freddy Parent, followed with a single that would have scored the winning run anyway.

However there was no World Series that year, as the New York Giants, who won the National League title handily, refused to "debase" themselves by facing what they considered the champions of an inferior league, a decision that was largely prompted by the fear that the upstart Highlanders could be the AL champs. The decision did not go down well with fans and prompted officials of the two leagues to agree to a truce after the season and make the World Series a permanent fixture.


Bold indicates league champion; there was no World Series played
1 Boston Americans 157 95 59 3 .605 -.- 608 (3.87) 466 (2.97) 0.247 0.294 0.340 2.12 0.963
2 New York Highlanders 155 92 59 4 .594 1.5 598 (3.86) 526 (3.39) 0.259 0.301 0.347 2.57 0.958
3 Chicago White Sox 156 89 65 2 .571 6.0 600 (3.85) 482 (3.09) 0.242 0.294 0.316 2.30 0.964
4 Cleveland Naps 154 86 65 3 .558 7.5 647 (4.20) 482 (3.13) 0.260 0.302 0.354 2.22 0.959
5 Philadelphia Athletics 155 81 70 4 .523 12.5 557 (3.59) 503 (3.25) 0.249 0.292 0.336 2.35 0.959
6 St. Louis Browns 156 65 87 4 .417 29.0 481 (3.08) 604 (3.87) 0.239 0.284 0.294 2.83 0.960
7 Detroit Tigers 162 62 90 10 .383 32.0 505 (3.12) 627 (3.87) 0.231 0.278 0.292 2.77 0.959
8 Washington Senators 157 38 113 6 .242 55.5 437 (2.78) 743 (4.73) 0.227 0.267 0.288 3.62 0.951

League leaders[edit]

Bold indicates league record, Italics indicate all-time record


Statistic Leader Team Number
Games Played Jimmy Barrett Detroit Tigers 162
At Bats Patsy Dougherty Boston Americans/New York Highlanders 647
Runs Scored Patsy Dougherty Boston Americans/New York Highlanders 113
Hits Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 208
Doubles Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 49
Triples Joe Cassidy
Buck Freeman
Chick Stahl
Washington Senators
Boston Americans
Boston Americans
Home Runs Harry Davis Philadelphia Athletics 10
Total Bases Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 305
Runs Batted In Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 102
Stolen Bases Harry Bay
Elmer Flick
Cleveland Naps
Cleveland Naps
Walks Jimmy Barrett Detroit Tigers 79
Hit by Pitch Dick Padden St. Louis Browns 18
Sacrifice Hits Fielder Jones Chicago White Sox 36
Batting Average Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 0.376
On-Base Percentage Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 0.413
Slugging Percentage Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 0.552
On-Base plus Slugging Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 0.965
On-Base plus Slugging Plus Nap Lajoie Cleveland Naps 205


Statistic Leader Team Number
Wins Jack Chesbro New York Highlanders 41
Losses Happy Townsend Washington Senators 26
Win-Loss Percentage Jack Chesbro New York Highlanders 0.774
Appearances Jack Chesbro New York Highlanders 55
Games Started Jack Chesbro New York Highlanders 51
Complete Games Jack Chesbro New York Highlanders 48
Shutouts Cy Young Boston Americans 10
Games Finished Ed Walsh Chicago White Sox 10
Saves Case Patten Washington Senators 3
Innings Pitched Jack Chesbro New York Highlanders 454.2
Batters Faced Jack Chesbro New York Highlanders 1778
Hits Allowed Case Patten Washington Senators 367
Home Runs Allowed Jack Powell New York Highlanders 15
Base-on-Balls Allowed George Mullin Detroit Tigers 131
Hit Batsmen Case Patten
Barney Pelty
Washington Senators
St. Louis Browns
Strikeouts Rube Waddell Philadelphia Athletics 349
Wild Pitches Happy Townsend Washington Senators 19
Balks 9 players tied 1
Runs Allowed Happy Townsend Washington Senators 163
Earned Runs Allowed Case Patten Washington Senators 122
Earned Run Average Addie Joss Cleveland Naps 1.59
Walks plus Hits
per Inning Pitched
Cy Young Boston Americans 0.937


The World Series between the league champions of the American League, the Boston Americans and the National League, the New York Giants was not held.

Notable events[edit]


* Denotes a fill-in umpire

Further Reading[edit]

  • Tom Ruane: "A Retro-Review of the 1900s (the 1904 edition)", [1]