1934 Philadelphia Stars

From BR Bullpen

1934 Philadelphia Stars / Franchise: Philadelphia Stars / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 36-18-10, Finished 2nd in Negro National League (1934 NNL)

League Champs

Managed by Webster McDonald

Ballpark: Passon Field

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1934 Philadelphia Stars were the last major league championship team from Philadelphia until the 1980 Phillies. They did it with only two All-Star players as one of them had one of the best pitching seasons of the decade.

Slim Jones was absolutely dominant, going 20-4 with a 1.24 ERA (313 ERA+) to lead the NNL in wins, games pitched, complete games, shutouts (6), saves (2), ERA and strikeouts (164). About the only thing he didn't lead in was WHIP, which went to Pittsburgh's Satchel Paige, having perhaps his career year, but no match for Jones's best; of course, unlike Paige, Jones had no staying power and was pretty much a one-year wonder.

He wasn't the only skilled hurler on the staff. Player-manager Webster McDonald (7-5, 2.63, 147 ERA+), Rocky Ellis (8-3, 2.72, 142 ERA+) and Lefty Holmes (7-6, 2.52, 154 ERA+) were all fine contributors, with the pitching corps rounded out by Phil Cockrell (1-2, 4.35, 89 ERA+) and Paul Carter (3-2, 8.14, 48 ERA+).

Hall of Famer Jud Wilson manned first and led the hitters at .358/.435/.495 (160 OPS+) with the only other .300 hitter being LF Chaney White (.302/.364/.396, 113 OPS+). RF Jake Dunn (.278/.347/.383, 104 OPS+) tied for the league lead with seven triples. Other position players were CF Pete Washington (.227/.291/.352, 80 OPS+), C Mickey Casey (.250/.332/.306, 79 OPS+), SS Jake Stephens (.264/.325/.311, 79 OPS+), 3B Dewey Creacy (.217/.278/.249, 48 OPS+) and 2B Dick Seay (.184/.253/.219, 33 OPS+ but with a fielding percentage of .967, .022 above the league norm). The most-used backup was Hall-of-Famer Biz Mackey; the veteran C-1B hit .250/.284/.375 for a 84 OPS+.

While the Stars had the league's best record, they only won one of the two halves, meeting the Chicago American Giants in the playoffs. Jones surprisingly blew a save and a 3-2 lead in the opener, dropping a decision to Bill Foster. He then lost a 3-0 duel to Ted Trent three days later. Manager McDonald beat Foster in Game 3, but Ellis lost Game 4. 10 days later, Ellis came back to beat Foster 1-0 as Mackey doubled twice and Seay singled in the winner. The Stars tied it in Game 6 when Creacy tripled in the winning run off Trent and Mackey added a dinger to support Carter's pitching.

After another long break, Game 7 was a 4-4 tie. Jones got his second start of the playoffs in Game 8 and capped his marvelous season (and made up for his postseason struggles_ with a 2-0 shutout win, throwing a five-hitter to outduel Sug Cornelius. He even drove in one of their two runs.

All stats listed are per the Seamheads database 1/28/2021. Playoff information is from The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway, pg. 311-313

Awards and Honors[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Frederick C. Bush and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Stars Shone on Philadelphia: The 1934 Negro National League Champions, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2023. ISBN 978-1-960819-05-5