Chicago White Sox Season Lookback - 1906
Record - 93-58, Finished First Place in the American League
Pythagorean Record - 90-61
C - Billy Sullivan (.214/.262/.297)
1b - Jiggs Donahue (.257/.320/.318)
2b - Frank Isbell (.279/.324/.352)
3b - Lee Tannehill (.183/.254/.220)
SS - George Davis (.277/.338/.355)
LF - Ed Hahn (.227/.335/.262)
CF - Fielder Jones (.230/.346/.302)
RF - Bill O'Neill (.248/.301/.276)
Homeruns - Billy Sullivan and Fielder Jones (2)
Batting Average - Frank Isbell (.279)
OPS - George Davis (.693)
Best Fielder - Fielder Jones (26 Fielding Runs Above Average)
SP - Frank Owen (293/22/2.33)
SP - Ed Walsh (278.3/17/1.88)
SP - Nick Altrock (287.7/20/2.06)
SP - Doc White (219.3/18/1.52)
SP - Frank Smith (122/5/3.39)
SP - Roy Patterson (142/10/2.09)
Wins - Frank Owen (22)
ERA - Doc White (1.52)
Strikeouts - Ed Walsh (171)
The Hitless Wonders. The Chicago White Sox were dead last in hitting (.230) and Slugging (.286) in 1906. The were also dead last in homeruns (7) and hits (1,133). What this team was good at was getting men on base (453 walks led the league by far, with the next closest being 385) and move those men over (they led the league in sacrafice hits with 226 and were third in stolen bases with 214). Ozzie Guillen would have been proud.
When you combine those hitting stats with one of the best pitching staffs in the league, you get a world championship. All seven regulars in the rotation were back from 1905 and they combined for a 2.13 ERA, which was second in the league (the Cleveland Naps had a 2.09 ERA). The White Sox led the league with 32 shutouts so in over a third of their wins, the White Sox offense only needed to come up with a single run. The White Sox staff was also stingy with giving up walks. The 255 they allowed led the league, and their 1.067 WHIP was second by a razor thing margin to the St. Louis Brown's 1.065.
Things didn't start out easily for the team. On June 1, the team was 15-20 and in sixth place in the American League. Even near the end of July things looked grim. After a four game losing streak, the team was 46-42 on July 25 and in fourth place, nine games back of the first place Philadelphia Athletics.
Then they caught fire. From August 2 to Auguest 23, the White Sox won nineteen straight games. Prior to an August 1 loss, they had won four straight so that's 23 out of 24 games. By the end of that winnings streak, they had pushed themselves to a five and a half game lead in the American League. They faltered in the beeginning of September and actually gave up first place to the New York Giants. Later in the month, the White Sox dropped three of four to the Giants to drop a game back but they won nine of their next ten games and locked up the pennant.
On offense, Fielder Jones set the tone. His 82 walks were second in the league and he was also sixth in the league with 30 sac. hits. He was also the team's best fielder and roamed centerfield in 144 of the White Sox 151 games. Shortstop George Davis led the team with 32 extra base hits (most of those doubles) and a .355 slugging percentage. Near the end of a Hall of Fame career, Davis drove in a team high 80 runs that was the third best in the American League.
On the mound, it was a team effort similar to 2005. Frank Owen was the workhorse and led the team with 22 wins and 293 innings, but it was Ed Walsh who led the team and the American League with ten shutouts It was the first great season for Ed Walsh, a future Hall of Famer who's best known for having the all time best ERA (1.82). And while it was Doc White who led the team and the league in ERA (1.52) and WHIP (.903), it was Nick Altrock who ate up almost as many innings as Frank Owen and won 20 games.
I could go on but that's why this team deserves further examination. For the rest of the off-season, I'm going to pick out and do season bio's on some of the top 1906 White Sox leading up to the season. Then in April, I'm going to follow the team day by day in a format similar to Tigerblog's 1984 Tigers and 1935 Tigers diary. It should be a fun and interesting ride.