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The 1910 baseball season marked the beginning of two new trends that ultimately contributed to the rise of modern, home run baseball during the 1920s: the widespread building of enclosed, steel-and-concrete ballparks and the invention of the livelier cork-centered baseball.

The most influential of the newly-constructed stadiums was Chicago’s Comiskey Park, which was considered to be the finest baseball facility in the world when it first opened in 1910.  With a seating capacity of a then-staggering 48,600, Comiskey Park in many ways served as the model for the many stadiums that were built in subsequent seasons.  Washington’s Griffith Stadium and Cleveland’s League Park also opened their gates for the first time in 1910.

Invented by Philadelphia’s Ben Shibe, the cork-centered ball made its debut in the 1910 World Series.  Both leagues subsequently adopted it for the following season.

Meanwhile, Connie Mack led his Philadelphia Athletics to their third American League pennant in the 10-year history of the junior circuit.  The A’s finished 14 ½ games ahead of the second-place New York Highlanders, with a record of 102-48.  

Easily the American League’s most well-balanced team, the A’s featured superb pitching and a young and talented starting lineup.  Second baseman Eddie Collins led the league with 81 stolen bases and placed among the leaders with a .322 batting average and 81 runs batted in.  In his second full season, third baseman Frank “Home Run” Baker finished near the top of the league rankings in runs batted in, runs scored, and triples.  The A’s greatest strength, though, was their pitching.  Chief Bender finished 23-5, compiled a 1.58 ERA, and threw 25 complete games and 250 innings.  Eddie Plank won 16 games, posted a 2.01 ERA, completed 22 games, and also tossed 250 innings.  Jack Coombs served as the staff ace.  In his greatest season, Coombs finished 31-9, to lead all A.L. pitchers in victories.  The right-hander also topped the circuit with an A.L. record 13 shutouts, and he placed among the leaders with a 1.30 ERA, 353 innings pitched, 224 strikeouts, and 35 complete games.     

The Athletics continued their dominance in the World Series, defeating the Chicago Cubs in five games and outscoring their overmatched opponents by a combined margin of 35-15.  Jack Coombs earned three of the victories for the A’s, who batted .316 as a team against Chicago’s vaunted pitching staff.

With Philadelphia bringing the American League pennant race to an early end, fans of the junior circuit spent the final few weeks of the season focusing on the A.L. batting race, which held special significance in 1910.  In a promotion that inspired the modern MVP Award, the Chalmers Motor Co. offered a car to the winner of the American League batting title.  With the extremely popular Napoleon Lajoie battling the universally disliked Ty Cobb down to the wire for the batting crown, the race ended in scandal when the St. Louis Browns allegedly lay back and let Lajoie beat out seven bunts on the last day of the season to help him make up a seemingly insurmountable lead that Cobb had earlier established.  Although Lajoie’s .384 batting average placed him percentage points ahead of Cobb, who finished the campaign with a mark of .383, Hugh Chalmers attempted to appease everyone involved by presenting a car to both players.  The St. Louis manager ended up getting fired for his involvement in the conspiracy, and the Chalmers Award was allowed to continue in an altered form: one car was to be given to the "most important and useful" player in each league, as determined by a committee of sports writers.  A player could only win one Chalmers Award in his career.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the American League included:

Cy Young won his 500th game on July 19, almost precisely 20 years after he won his first.  In the 19 seasons between the two marks, he averaged 25.68 victories per year.  He also lost his 300th game during the 1910 campaign, a record that seems equally secure.  

Addie Joss tossed a no-hitter on April 20 that represented the final shutout of his career.  Less than a year after tossing his hitless gem, Joss died of tubercular meningitis.  Cleveland players threatened mutiny until American League officials canceled their game the day of his funeral so they could attend it en masse.

• Despite posting a league-leading 1.26 ERA, Ed Walsh finished the campaign with a record of 18-20.  Walsh’s White Sox teammates batted a collective .211 over the course of the season – the lowest mark in history.

• The A's established an American League record by compiling a team ERA of 1.79.

• Walter Johnson’s 25 victories made him the first Washington Senators pitcher to surpass 20 wins in a season.

• William Howard Taft became the first U.S. President to throw out the first ball at the Washington home opener.

Walter Johnson led the American League with 313 strikeouts, topping the junior circuit in that category for the first of 12 times.

• Earle Mack of the A's became the first son to play in the major leagues for his father (Connie Mack).

• Philadelphia’s Jack Coombs and Chicago’s Ed Walsh locked up in a 16-inning scoreless tie on August 4.

• Detroit's Sam Crawford led the league with 120 runs batted in and 19 triples.

• New York's Russ Ford posted a record of 26-6, setting in the process an American League rookie record for highest winning percentage (.813).  His 26 wins and eight shutouts also remain records for A.L. rookies.

• On Sept. 17, Detroit pitcher Ed Summers hit two homers in one game.

• On Sept. 30, the Browns' Ray Jansen played in his only major league game and went 4-for-5.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BOS 1586 5204 637 1350 527 .181 175 87 43 194 1828 .292 .232 .555 227
CHA 1586 5024 456 1058 351 .189 115 58 7 183 0 1310 .347 .237 .592 0 0 189
CLE 1664 5390 548 1316 460 .220 188 64 9 189 0 1659 .295 .267 .563 0 0 189
DET 1582 5039 679 1317 548 .209 190 72 28 249 1735 .334 .259 .603 197
NYA 1568 5051 629 1254 492 .212 164 75 20 288 1628 .325 .265 .619 176
PHA 1558 5154 670 1373 541 .213 191 105 19 207 0 1831 .322 .286 .643 199
SLA 1632 5077 454 1105 347 .183 131 60 12 169 1392 .281 .223 .521 143
WS1 1555 4989 498 1175 393 .205 145 47 9 192 0 1441 .286 .248 .544 0 0 171

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BOS 228 81 72 1431 670 414 5715 1236 30 51.520 390 564 100 11 6 32 1
CHA 222 68 85 1422 785 381 5539 1130 16 18.090 320 495 103 23 7 31 3
CLE 243 71 81 1466 617 488 5894 1392 10 47.620 470 654 92 13 5 43 0
DET 219 86 68 1380 532 460 5656 1257 34 50.080 433 582 108 17 5 31 0
NYA 213 88 63 1399 654 364 5548 1238 16 35.210 406 556 110 14 8 27 2
PHA 200 102 48 1421 789 450 5565 1103 8 14.540 282 441 123 24 5 42 1
SLA 230 47 107 1389 557 532 5701 1356 14 73.760 478 742 101 9 3 34 2
WS1 200 66 85 1374 674 375 5434 1215 19 54.460 376 552 119 19 3 54 3

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BOS 1535 6670 4275 2087 308 .920 0 0 0 0 20
CHA 1526 6762 4239 2209 314 .950 0 0 0 0 17
CLE 1588 6909 4386 2277 246 .929 0 0 0 0 19
DET 1508 6617 4167 2162 288 .942 0 0 0 0 18
NYA 1508 6515 4178 2051 286 .948 0 0 0 0 19
PHA 1506 6486 4255 2001 230 .948 0 0 0 0 10
SLA 1540 6809 4186 2238 385 .926 0 0 0 0 14
WS1 1496 6505 4129 2112 264 .898 0 0 0 0 30

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1910 Chalmers Award, Addie Joss, American League, Ben Shibe, Chief Bender, Cleveland League Park, Comiskey Park, Connie Mack, Cy Young, Earle Mack, Ed Summers, Ed Walsh, Eddie Collins, Eddie Plank, Frank Baker, Griffith Stadium, Jack Coombs, Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Athletics, Ray Jansen, Russ Ford, Sam Crawford, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson

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