An All-Time All-Star Team Selected in 1930…
In 1930, Dan Daniel; sports writer for the New York Telegram, published a book titled Babe Ruth: The Idol of the American Boy. This book, published by the Whitman Publishing Company, was written for children, but looking through it, nearly 90 years later, is a fascinating experience. There is so much great material to see, read, enjoy, and learn from.
First, I love how, on the title page, the author, Daniel M. Daniel, is referred to as the “Baseball Expert of the New York Telegram.” Now that’s a title to have!
Next, before even getting to any text, the book features “The All Star Team as Selected by the Author.” I had originally thought that the list was created by Babe Ruth, but the page clearly identifies the list as chosen by the author (Dan Daniel).
(Later, I’ll share highlights from the forward of the book, attributed to the Babe’s own hand, but for now, let’s look at the players chosen by the author.)
Of note, which I find fascinating, is that the author lists his All-Star team, but since this book was published in 1930, it precedes baseball’s actual All-Star Game by three years. The first All-Star Game was played on July 6, 1933 in Chicago. And, yes, the first homerun ever hit in an All-Star game was smashed by Babe Ruth.
Here now are Dan Daniel’s All Stars:
Johnny Kling – c – A catcher who played from 1900 to 1913. Kling batted .272 over his career. As a member of the Chicago Cubs, Kling appeared in four World Series, including three consecutive (1906-1908). He was the backbone of those great Cubs teams and was known as a marvelous defensive catcher. Interestingly, Johnny Kling, considered one of the early greats of the game, is not in the Hall-of-Fame.
Hal Chase – 1b – Prince Hal was a New York HIghlander from 1905-13 before bouncing around to a bunch of other clubs including Buffalo of the Federal League. It was said that no one could play first base like Hal Chase. That is, when he wanted to play… A defensive specialist, Chase was also a solid hitter (lifetime .291) who batted over .300 six times and led the National League in batting, while playing for Cincinnati, in 1916. The problem was that, as the stories go, Hal Chase, was not a particularly likable fellow (Bill James once called him the “least admirable superstar” of the 1900-1909 period). Chase was involved in a number of game-fixing or betting scandals. He is not in the Hall-of-Fame. (Of great interest is the fact that Lou Gehrig is not the first baseman on this list, but, in some ways that is not a surprise. Hal Chase was that widely regarded in baseball’s early days as a true great of the game.)
Eddie Collins – 2b – Collins was one of the true early greats of the game. He was a left-handed hitting second baseman who was a star on the Great Philadelphia A’s team. Collins batted .333 for his career. Collins had 3,315 hits. He was elected to the Hall-of-Fame in 1939. There is no question that he belongs on a list like this.
Hans Wagner – ss – Also an inner-circle Hall-of-Famer. Wagner is still consider by some to be baseball’s greatest shortstop – ever. Wagner was a member of the Hall-of-Fame’s inaugural class.
Jimmy Collins – 3b – This might be the last great player that some readers are not familiar with. Jimmy Collins, though, was an early superstar of the game. He was an integral member of the 1903 World Series Champion Red Sox. Collins was known as the “king of third basemen.” He was a solid hitter, who, like many above, was also a superior defender. Collins is in the Hall-of-Fame.
Tris Speaker – lf – .345 lifetime batting average. 3,514 hits. Hall-of-Famer. A true great of the game. He went into the Hall-of-Fame in 1937.
Ty Cobb – cf – .366 lifetime batting average. 4,189 hits. Hall-of-Famer. One of baseball’s greatest – ever. He was put into baseball’s first ever Hall-of-Fame class in 1936. With 98.23% of the vote with that first class, Cobb actually outdistanced Babe Ruth in the voting. (Ruth had 95.13% of the vote.)
Babe Ruth – rf – Baseball’s greatest player of all-time. A great pitcher and then baseball’s greatest hitter.
Walter Johnson – P – Cy Young won 511 games. Walter Johnson is the only other pitcher to win more than 400 games. Johnson won 417 games between 1907 and 1927. The Big Train might have been baseball’s greatest pitcher. He was in the inaugural Hall-of-Fame class.
Christy Mathewson – P – Another member of that great first Hall-of-Fame class, Mathewson starred for the New York Giants. Mathewson won 373 games. Bill James once called him the “Most Admirable Superstar” of the 1900 to 1909 period.