Gavvy Cravath

From BR Bullpen


Clifford Carlton Cravath
(Cactus Gavvy)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

"In right field is the greatest offensive player on Pat Moran's roster. 'Cactus' Cravath is a slugger pure and simple - the greatest in the game today. . . Though no speed marvel, Cravath is one of the brainiest base runners in the country. . . Though 'Cactus' cannot cover ground like Whitted or Paskert, he is sure death on fly balls, and he gets more assists than any other right fielder in the league. The big fellow has an ideal temperament. . . A good-humored, helpful chap . . . Do you see any weakness here?" - an article called 'The Phillies' Underrated Outfield' in Sporting Life, May 20, 1916

Outfielder Gavvy Cravath played 11 seasons in the majors, leading the National League in quite a few offensive categories during that time. Perhaps most notably, he led the league six times in home runs. He also managed a couple of seasons in the big leagues.

Cravath spent a significant portion of his career in top level minor leagues, primarily with the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels (with whom he was PCL MVP in 1907) and the American Association's Minneapolis Millers. He reached the majors with the Boston Red Sox in 1908 and had cups of coffee with the Chicago White Sox and Washington Senators in 1909 before returning to the minors for several years. In 1910 and 1911, he won batting titles in the American Association and also led the circuit in homers. No one tracked RBIs in the AA, or else he may have been the first Triple Crown winner in loop history.

Cravath returned to the majors as a 31-year-old with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1912 and immediately showed power in the Deadball Era, hitting 11 home runs in his first season there. Between 1913 and 1919, he led the National League in homers five times and tied for the league lead one other time. In 1915, Cravath hit 24 home runs, the most since 1900 and just short of the then-record 27 by Ned Williamson. He was was player-manager of the Phillies in 1919 and 1920, but the club finished in last place both seasons. He then returned to the minors, where he ended his playing days.

His 119 career home runs were nearly enough to reach the all-time record of 138 by Roger Connor. However, the record wouldn't have lasted long since Babe Ruth passed Connor in 1921 and eventually hit 714. Cravath was the quickest player in major league history to reach 100 home runs (in 1,016 games) until he was surpassed by Babe Ruth (who needed just 528 games).

Cravath later returned to the Phillies staff as a coach in 1923 and was a scout for the Minneapolis Millers. After his baseball days, he moved to Southern California and became involved in the real estate market. He was elected a magistrate in Laguna Beach in 1927, serving 36 years in that role, and died of a heart ailment there at age 83 in 1963.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1915 & 1916)
  • 2-time NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1913 & 1915)
  • 3-time NL OPS Leader (1913-1915)
  • NL Runs Scored Leader (1915)
  • NL Hits Leader (1913)
  • 2-time NL Total Bases Leader (1913 & 1915)
  • 6-time NL Home Runs Leader (1913-1915 & 1917-1919)
  • 2-time NL RBI Leader (1913 & 1915)
  • NL Base on Balls Leader (1915)
  • 20 Home Runs Seasons: 1 (1915)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 3 (1913-1915)

Preceded by
Jack Coombs
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
Succeeded by
Bill Donovan

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1919 Philadelphia Phillies National League 29-46 8th Philadelphia Phillies replaced Jack Coombs (18-44) on July 9
1920 Philadelphia Phillies National League 62-91 8th Philadelphia Phillies
1921 Salt Lake City Bees Pacific Coast League 73-110 7th none

Records Held[edit]

  • Bases Loaded Doubles, game, 2, 8/8/15 (tied)

Related Sites[edit]