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This Date in Washington Senators History
Jake Stahl, 1905-1906
Record as Senators manager: 119-182, .395 Pct.
1905: 64-87, 7th place, .424 Pct., 29.5 GB
1906: 55-95, 7th place, .367 Pct., 37.5 GB
During an era where most players, and the general populace for that matter, did not possess a high school education, Jake Stahl was an anomaly. A former collegiate football star from the University of Illinois, Stahl graduated in 1903 with a degree in law. With the law degree in hand, Stahl, no relation to Red Sox star Chick Stahl, could afford to play pro baseball purely for the fun of it. Originally signed by the Boston Americans, Stahl was dealt to Washington before the 1904 season. The 25 year old was one of the very few bright spots for the Senators in 1904, leading the team in batting average, home runs and RBI.
In February of 1905, Stahl was named the player-manager by new Senators president Thomas C. Noyes. The Senators got off to a hot start finding themselves in 1st place in early May. Starving for any success, Washington fans threw a parade for the Senators after the team returned from a successful road trip early in the season. Injuries and an illness to Stahl would condemn the Nats a 7th place finish, but the 64 wins was quite an improvement from the pathetic 38 win campaign of 1904. As a reward for finishing out of the cellar, a reported $1,000 was distributed to the players, who divided up the money amongst themselves.
The light at the end of the tunnel was not an end to the Senators woes, but another oncoming train. In March, 1906, promising SS Joe Cassidy died from typhoid fever. Stahl led Washington to another respectable start that year, but an 8 game losing streak in late May put the Nats in 7th place for good. The highlight of 1906 was an August win over the White Sox that halted the “Hitless Wonders” 19 game winning streak. Stahl accepted responsibility for the Senators disappointing finish stating, “If I’d been able to hit .300 this year, as many of my friends predicted, we’d have been up in the first division, but I was a frost.” Unable to fire the players, Noyes and the Washington owners fired Stahl after the season.
Jake Stahl write up on SABR.com
Oswald Louis “Ossie” Bluege B Oct. 24, 1900 D Oct. 14, 1985
Ossie Bluege is certainly a rarity in Senators history-a career Washington Senator who would play for 18 seasons in a Washington uniform, manage the team for an additional 5 years and also served the Senators as a coach, farm director and team accountant, his total time in the organization totalling 50 years.
Bluege would make his major league debut in April of 1922. He’d only make it into 19 games his first season hitting .197. Primarily a 3rd baseman, Bluege would also play at 1st, 2nd, shortstop and in the outfield over the course of 1816 games.
In 1922, Bluege would make it into 109 games and raise his BA to .245. 1923 would see his average improve again to .281. Never a power hitter (Playing half their games in expansive Griffith Stadium would limit many hitters home run production.), Bluege would hit just 8 home runs in 1931, his best year. He’d never manage to hit .300 in a season either, his best year being 1928 when he’d manage a .297 BA. However he was consistent, hitting .270 or better in 10 of 18 seasons.
Bluege would be named to the 1935 All Star Team and was a member of all 3 pennant winning Washington teams in 1924, 1925 and 1933.
Hitting a disappointing .192 in the 1924 World Series, when Washington captured it’s only World Series, Bluege would rebound in 1925, hitting .278 in 5 games as the Senators would lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 7. He’d only go 2 for 16 with 6 strikeouts in the 1933 series, as the Senators lost to the New York Giants in 5 games.
Bluege’s final season as a player came in 1939. At 38 years of age, he had slowed considerably and only managed to hit .153 in 18 games, his last major league appearance as a player coming in mid-July.
After his career as a player ended, Bluege would manage the Senators from 1943 through 1947. The 1943 and 1945 squads would finish in 2nd place. Bluege would also see the basement in 1944 when the Senators finished 8th with a 64-90 record.
After the 1947 season, Bluege would go on to serve the Senators as farm director and team accountant. He would pass away just 10 days shy of his 85th birthday in 1985.
Jack Erwin Russell B Oct. 24, 1905 D Nov. 3, 1990
Pitcher Jack Russell played for 6 different teams in a 15 year career, including 2 separate terms with the Boston Red Sox.
Debuting in early May of 1926 with Boston, Russell would post an 0-5 record with a 3.58 ERA. Russell would remain in Boston through mid-June of 1932. He’d pitch in over 200 innings from 1928 through 1931 but would have some rough years, including losing 20 games in 1930.
Traded to the Cleveland Indians, Russell would finish the 1932 season going 5-7 for the Tribe.
After the 1932 season, Russell, along with Bruce Connaster would be traded to the Washington Senators for Harley Boss.
1933 would be the first season since his major league debut where Russell would post a winning record, going 12-6 in 50 games for Washington with a 2.69 ERA. Russell would make it in to 3 games of the 1933 World Series, pitching 10 and 1/3rds innings. While he had a stellar ERA of 0.87, he’d be charged with a loss.
Russell would be named to the 1934 All Star Team but his record for the 1934 Senators would drop to 5-10 and his ERA would rise to 4.17.
Russell would lead the American League in saves in 1933 (13) and 1934 (7) and in games appeared in (54), also in 1934.
Russell would post a 4-9 record in 1935. After 18 games in 1936 where he’d go 3-2 with the Senators, Russell would be traded back to the Boston Red Sox for Joe Cascarella, where he’d finish the 1936 season with an 0-3 record.
Released by the Red Sox in March of 1937, Russell would be signed by the Detroit Tigers. He’d post a 2-5 record in Detroit, once again being released at the end of the season.
Picked up by the 1938 Chicago Cubs, Russell would return to his winning ways posting a 6-1 record in 42 games and appearing in his 2nd World Series with Chicago as the Cubs lost to the New York Yankees.
Russell would post a 4-3 record with the 1939 Cubs in 39 games. After the season he’d be released again, this time being signed by the St. Louis Cardinals. He’d pitch in 26 games for St. Louis, going 3-4, his last major league appearance coming in early August.