1874 was business as ususal in the National Association of Baseball Players. The Boston Redstockings won the pennent by 7.5 games with the New York Mutuals giving chase. The best player on the team was Ross Barnes, the 2nd best player on the team was George Wright and the best pitcher in the League was Boston’s Al Spaulding. Ross Barnes did not dominate the league in this season, however as he had in year past. He was among the best defenders in the league, but Warren White was a bit better, winning the defensive MVP at the hot corner for the last place Baltimore Canaries. He prevented 29 runs in just 47 games his team played. Barnes prevented 32 runs, but his successful Red Stocking team played 70 games.
Also, strictly speaking, Al Spaulding was not the best pitcher in the league for the season. That player would have been Jack Manning, also of the last place Baltimore Canaries, but Manning only pitched about half of his team’s games, and Spaulding pitched all of his team’s games, so Spaulding gets the nod. Manning was his team’s best hitter, and along with White, the only players of professional caliber playing for the team that season. Boston Manager George Wright must have agreed, picking up Manning for the 1875 season, and pitching him for 17 games. White moved to Chicago for the 1875 season.
The best hitter for the season was the 3rd best 2nd baseman in baseball for 1874, Levi Meyerle. Meyerle batted .394 with 19 doubles for the Chicago White Stockings. He was better than Lipman Pike who lead the league in HRs from 1871-1873 each season. He had only 1 dinger in 1874 but lead the league in doubles and patrolled the infield and outfield with equal skill and was a plus defender at both center field and shortstop. He did plenty batting the ball to be my 1874 MVP over Ross Barnes by a hair.
My third and final All-Star is another 2nd baseman, Bill Craver. In 1874 Craver was not quite as good as Barnes with a bat, and was not quite good as Barnes with his glove, but was the best player on his Philadelphia Whites and the third best player in the league for the season.
My 1874 rookie of the year was John Peters, batting .289 and playing plus defense for the Chicago White Stockings.
|Best By Position||Silver Slugger||Fantastic Fielders|
|P||Al Spalding||Jack Manning|
|C||Mike McGeary||Cal McVey||Mike McGeary|
|1B||Bill Craver||Jim O'Rourke||Wes Fisler|
|2B||Ross Barnes||Bill Craver||Ross Barnes|
|3B||Davy Force||Levi Meyerle||Warren White|
|SS||George Wright||George Wright||Davy Force|
|OF||Lip Pike||Ross Barnes||John Hatfield|
|OF||Levi Meyerle||Lip Pike||Johnny Ryan|
|OF||Cal McVey||John McMullin||Lip Pike|
|MVP||Lip Pike||Levi Meyerle||Warren White|