1902 Baltimore Orioles

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1902 Baltimore Orioles
Major league affiliations
1902 Uniform
Al 1901 newyork 01.jpg
1902 Information
Owner(s) Judge Harry Goldman, John McGraw, Wilbert Robinson, Rev. John Boland,

Judge Conway Sams, James P. Shannon, John Mahon, Joe Kelly, Sydney Frank, John Mahon & Miles Brinkley (Feb. 1902 - June 28, 1902)

Judge Harry Goldman, Wilbert Robinson, Rev. John Boland, Judge Conway Sams, James P. Shannon, John Mahon, Joe Kelly, Sydney Frank, & Miles Brinkley (June 28, 1902 – Jul. 16, 1902)

Andrew Freedman, John T. Brush, Judge Harry Goldman, Judge Conway Sams, James P. Shannon, & Sydney Frank (Jul. 16 - 18, 1902)

Judge Harry Goldman, Judge Conway Sams, James P. Shannon, & Sydney Frank (Jul. 18, 1902 - Mar. 9, 1903)

Manager(s) John McGraw, Wilbert Robinson
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Baseball-Reference 1902 Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles' 1902 season finished with the Orioles in 8th and last place in the American League with a record of 50-88-3. The team was managed by John McGraw (26-31) and Wilbert Robinson (24-57). The team played at Oriole Park.

The Orioles' second season in Baltimore would ultimately prove to be their last, as the team was moved to New York, New York after the season, where they became known as the New York Highlanders.

Halfway through the season, manager McGraw schemed with Andrew Freedman, owner of the New York Giants to leave the team and take his best players with him; McGraw was mad at AL President Ban Johnson, who objected to his fiery style and his propensity for getting into scraps with umpires, and who had suspended him numerous time. They also enlisted Cincinnati Reds owner John T. Brush to help out, and he managed to purchase a controlling interest in the Orioles on July 16th, while McGraw was suspended, and instantly released half of the team's roster. Joe McGinnity, Dan McGann, Jack Cronin and Roger Bresnahan immediately signed with the Giants, while the Reds got Cy Seymour and Joe Kelley for their help. Two other players who were released, Kip Selbach and Jimmy Williams, refused to return to the NL and stayed with the Orioles. McGraw's hope was that this would force the Orioles to fold and in turn cripple the junior circuit.

McGraw and Freedman's devious plan almost worked as the Orioles were forced to forfeit their next game, against the St. Louis Browns, on July 17th, as they did not have enough players left to field a team. But Johnson quickly stepped in to save the team, taking financial control and rallying the other teams in the league to provide some players, and they did, with Jack Katoll, Herm McFarland and Snake Wiltse among those who were sent over to help. The Orioles were a mediocre team before these events, and even worse afterwards, going 19-47 the rest of the way, but they managed to play out the season, and the AL was able to outlive the storm. The move to New York after the season was a way to stick it to Freedman.

As mentioned, the Orioles were a bad team, and their pitchers set a Deadball Era record for most hits allowed per 9 innings, with 11.384. In fact they were far ahead of the next worst team, the 1901 Washington Senators, whose mark was 10.620. Looking at individual pitchers, the three worst figures for the time period were all posted by Orioles hurlers that year: Ike Butler at 12.997, followed by Katoll at 12.774 and Charlie Shields at 12.429; Wiltse was not far behind at 11.831, the 7th worst mark of that time span. Katoll managed to allow a record 23 hits in two separate starts in September, while the O's were so short of quality players that Wiltse played the field regularly - and was one of the team's better hitters! Things had gone wrong from the get-go that season, as even before the Orioles played their first game, left fielder Mike Donlin, one of their best players, was arrested in March and charged with assaulting a chorus girl and her companion. He pled guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail while being released by Baltimore. When his sentence was over, he ended up on the Reds as well.

Final Standings[edit]

American League W L T GB Pct.
Philadelphia Athletics 83 53 1 -- .610
St. Louis Browns 78 58 4 5 .574
Boston Somersets 77 60 1 .562
Chicago White Sox 74 60 4 8 .552
Cleveland Bronchos 69 67 1 14 .507
Washington Senators 61 75 2 22 .449
Detroit Tigers 52 83 2 30½ .385
Baltimore Orioles 50 88 3 34 .362


Further Reading[edit]

  • Eugene C. Murdock: Ban Johnson: Czar of Baseball, Contributions to the Study of Popular Culture, Greenwood Press; annotated edition, 1982.