From the heights of four National League pennants and a world championship to a Hall of Fame career in the outfield, Fred Clarke had been on of  the driving forces  for the franchise since 1900 when he came over from the Louisville Colonels in one of the greatest heists in the history of the game.  September 8th, 1915 would prove to a pivotal date in the history of the Pirates when the greatest manager in the history of Pittsburgh baseball called it quits after 16 years and a 1422-969-.595 record  He had accumulated a lots of money over the years and without the motivation of making money, decided that putting up with all the losing was just not worth it.

As successful as Clarke was on the field and on the bench, he also had to assume some responsibility for the destruction of the club too with poor trades and questionable judgment in talent.

One move that might have been a superior one for the franchise and put the team back in the drivers seat ended up going against them when future Hall of Famer George Sisler was declared a free agent coming out of the University of Michigan after a two year fight with Barney Dreyfuss who claimed the rights to him when he signed him as a minor and Sisler had yet to play pro ball.   He would end up with the St Louis Browns and Dreyfuss and the Pirates would end up out in the cold.

Although Wagner career was coming to an end and he again finished under .300 at .274, he still ended up leading the circuit in fielding percentage and also became the oldest man to hit a grand slam in the 20th century on an inside the park job (it was a mark he held until Tony Perez broke it in 1985).   New right fielder Bill Hinchman, who had been out of the majors since 1909, when he was with the Indians, led the team at the plate with a .307 average, 4th in the NL and 77 RBI’s, good for 5th (one behind Wagner who had 78). 

Al Maumaux, in his first full season as a starter was certainly the team MVP with a 21-8 mark and 2.04 ERA, 3rd in both wins and ERA.  His .724 winning percentage, 2nd in the league, was remarkable considering the Pirates team mark of  .478.  Wilbur Cooper, who soon would become the greatest pitcher in the teams’ history, suffered through his worst season ever at 5-16.

Overall it was almost the end of an era with Clarke’s departure.  An era that only the aging Wagner would remain as a part of.

By Pirates Encyclopedia
Al Mamaux, Barney Dreyfuss, Bill Hinchman, Fred Clarke, Honus Wagner, Wilbur Cooper


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