1902 Baltimore Orioles season

1902 Baltimore Orioles season

Template:MLB yearly infobox-pre1969

The 1902 Baltimore Orioles season finished with the Orioles in 8th in the American League (AL) with a record of 50-88. The team was managed by John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson. The team played at Oriole Park in Baltimore, Maryland.

During the season, Andrew Freedman, principal owner of the National League's (NL) New York Giants, with the financial backing of John T. Brush, principal owner of the NL's Cincinnati Reds, purchased the Orioles from John Mahon, who was deeply in debt. They raided the Orioles roster, releasing several of Baltimore's better players so that they could sign them to the Giants and Reds. AL president Ban Johnson seized control of the Orioles the next day and restocked their roster with players received on loan from other AL teams.

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.



Knowing that placing a franchise in New York City was key to the success of the American League (AL), AL president Ban Johnson secretly met with principal owner John Mahon and player-manager John McGraw, who was also a part-owner, before the season about relocating to New York. However, the transfer did not occur when they could not find a suitable venue for the team.[1]

In March, Mike Donlin went on a drinking binge in Baltimore, during which he was arrested for urinating in public and assaulting two chorus girls. The Orioles released Donlin when he was sentenced to six months in prison.[2]

Notable players jumped to the Orioles from the rival National League (NL). In December 1901, Joe Kelley jumped from the Brooklyn Superbas. Later in the offseason, Jimmy Sheckard also jumped from Brooklyn.[3] Kip Selbach and Jim Jackson jumped from the New York Giants, Ernie Courtney jumped from the Boston Beaneaters, Tom Hughes jumped from the Chicago Orphans, and Dan McGann jumped from the St. Louis Cardinals. The Orioles signed Bill Keister as a free agent.[4] With these transactions, the Orioles were seen as a contender in the AL pennant going into the 1902 season.[1]

Regular season

The Orioles drew over 10,000 fans on Opening Day.[1] Three players returned to the NL in April 1902. Jack Dunn and Steve Brodie jumped to the Giants in April.[4] Sheckard changed his mind about playing for the Orioles after four games, returning to Brooklyn.[3]

Johnson openly feuded with McGraw. Many Orioles found themselves suspended by Johnson by midseason, including McGraw and Kelley. In early July, McGraw resigned from the team and signed with the New York Giants of the NL.[5] At this point, the Orioles had a 26-31 record. Kelley and Wilbert Robinson succeeded McGraw as player-managers.[6]

The franchise began to fall into significant debt by July. Kelley, son-in-law of part-owner John Mahon, reported that the team owed as much as $12,000 ($327,092 in current dollar terms).[7] Unable to afford that debt, Mahon purchased shares of the team from Kelley and McGraw. With this, Mahon became the majority shareholder, owning 201 of the team's 400 shares.[5] On July 17, 1902, Mahon sold his interest in the Orioles to Andrew Freedman, principal owner of the Giants, and John T. Brush, principal owner of the Cincinnati Reds, also of the NL. The transaction was reported to have been in the range of $20,000 ($545,154 in current dollar terms).[1] That day, Freedman and Brush released Kelley, Joe McGinnity, Roger Bresnahan, Jack Cronin, Cy Seymour, and Dan McGann from their Oriole contracts. Brush then signed Kelley and Seymour to the Reds, while Freedman signed McGinnity, Bresnahan, Cronin, and McGann, joining McGraw, his new player-manager, on the Giants.[8]

Though Kip Selbach and Jimmy Williams were both pressed to agree to relocate as well, they refused to leave Baltimore, saying they would honor their two-year contracts.[9] McGinnity allegedly attempted to contact Johnson that night, offering to stay with the Orioles if he could receive Johnson's personal assurance that he was welcome to stay. McGinnity did not hear back from Johnson, who had left his phone off the hook that night to avoid being contacted, and joined his teammates with the Giants.[10] On that day, the Orioles were forced to forfeit their game against the St. Louis Browns, as Baltimore lacked the minimum number of players required to compete.[7]

Johnson used a league rule to join the Orioles' minority owners to seize control of the team. Now running the Orioles, Johnson sought to restock the team. He requested players from the other AL franchises to fill the Orioles' roster.[7] Sport McAllister was loaned to the Orioles from the Detroit Tigers for three games, but the Tigers requested McAllister back, as the Orioles came to Detroit to play the Tigers.[5] The Orioles received Pop Dillon from the Tigers, but released him after using him in two games.[11] Snake Wiltse was sent to the Orioles from the Philadelphia Athletics on July 19, but he struggled for the Orioles.[12] The Orioles also received Lew Drill on loan from the Washington Senators, sold Charlie Shields to the St. Louis Browns and purchased Jack Thoney from the Cleveland Bronchos.[4]

Season results

The Orioles finished the season with a 50–88 record, good for last place in the AL. For their final game at Oriole Park, the team drew only 138 fans. During the owners meetings in late 1902, the franchise was transferred to New York.[1] MLB would not return to Baltimore until the former Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954.[13]

Season standings

Template:MLB standings


1902 Baltimore Orioles
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters


Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Robinson, WilbertWilbert Robinson 91 335 98 .293 1 57
1B McGann, DanDan McGann 68 250 79 .316 0 42
2B Williams, JimmyJimmy Williams 125 498 156 .313 2 38
3B Bresnahan, RogerRoger Bresnahan 65 235 64 .272 4 34
SS Gilbert, BillyBilly Gilbert 129 445 109 .245 8 83
OF Arndt, HarryHarry Arndt 68 248 63 .254 2 28
OF Selbach, KipKip Selbach 128 503 161 .320 3 60
OF Seymour, CyCy Seymour 72 280 75 .268 3 41

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Howell, HarryHarry Howell 96 347 93 .268 2 42
McFarland, HermHerm McFarland 61 242 78 .322 3 36
Kelley, JoeJoe Kelley 50 222 69 .311 1 34
Jones, TomTom Jones 37 159 45 .283 0 14
Smith, AleckAleck Smith 41 145 34 .234 0 21
Mathison, JimmyJimmy Mathison 29 91 24 .264 0 7
Oyler, AndyAndy Oyler 27 77 17 .221 1 6
McGraw, JohnJohn McGraw 20 63 18 .286 1 3
Yeager, GeorgeGeorge Yeager 11 38 7 .184 0 1
Mellor, BillBill Mellor 10 36 13 .361 0 5
Sheckard, JimmyJimmy Sheckard 4 15 4 .267 0 0
McAllister, SportSport McAllister 3 11 1 .091 0 1
Thoney, JackJack Thoney 3 11 0 .000 0 0
Drill, LewLew Drill 2 8 2 .250 0 0
Dillon, PopPop Dillon 2 7 2 .286 0 0
Courtney, ErnieErnie Courtney 1 4 2 .500 0 1
Jordan, SlatsSlats Jordan 1 4 0 .000 0 0
Burns, C. B.C. B. Burns 1 1 1 1.000 0 0


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Howell, HarryHarry Howell 26 199 9 15 4.12 33
McGinnity, JoeJoe McGinnity 25 198.2 15 10 3.44 39
Wiltse, SnakeSnake Wiltse 19 164 7 11 5.10 37
Shields, CharlieCharlie Shields 23 142.1 4 11 4.24 28
Butler, IkeIke Butler 16 116.1 1 10 5.34 13
Hughes, TomTom Hughes 13 108.1 7 5 3.90 45
Katoll, JackJack Katoll 15 123 5 10 4.02 25
Cronin, JackJack Cronin 10 75.2 3 5 2.62 20
Heismann, CreseCrese Heismann 3 16 0 3 8.44 2
Ross, ErnieErnie Ross 2 17 1 1 7.41 2
Foreman, FrankFrank Foreman 2 16.1 0 2 6.06 2
Prentiss, GeorgeGeorge Prentiss 2 13 0 1 10.80 1

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Hale, DadDad Hale 3 14 0 1 4.50 6
Lawson, BobBob Lawson 3 13 0 2 4.85 5


External links

  • 1902 Baltimore Orioles team page at Baseball Reference
  • Baltimore Orioles team page at www.baseball-almanac.com