Introducing… Sherry Magee

Sherwood Magee gained a little notoriety last year when his name was selected as one of the players on the pre-World War II ballot for Hall of Fame consideration.  The longtime Phillies outfielder was a great run producer with well above average power for The Deadball Era.

Magee made his debut as a 19 year old with the basement dwelling Phillies in 1904.  He was the member of a rather underrated outfield consisting of walk-machine Roy Thomas and Silent John Titus, but other than the outfield, Philadelphia had nothing going for them.  The teenage Magee led the Phillies in RBI and slugging average, showcasing the attributes that would carry him through the majors during his career.

The Phillies fine outfield trio scored in the excess off 300 runs between them in 1905, with Roy Thomas leading the way with 118 runs, Magee behind him with 100 runs and Titus scoring 99.  It was this outfield trio, coupled with solid pitching from Hall of Famer Kid Nichols and the underrated Tully Sparks that pushed the Phillies up to fourth place.  Magee did his part as a 20 year old, pacing all Major League left fielders in batting average and runs scored. 

Sherwood finished second in the NL with 36 doubles during the 1906 season as he had to carry more weight since both Thomas and Titus were in their 30s.  Magee carried his weight and more, leading NL left fielders in homeruns and finishing second in the league with 55 stolen bases.  He was the NL’s RBI leader in 1907 and finished second to Honus Wagner in batting average.

Speed and power were traits that Magee showcased throughout his career.  He swiped 40 bases in 1908 while also leading Major League left fielders in doubles, triples, RBI and slugging average (he was the only LF in the bigs with a slugging average above .400).  Although he had established himself as a star, his breakout season came in 1910 when he led the senior circuit in many offensive categories.  Sherwood won the batting title with a .331 mark while also topping the league in runs, RBI, slugging, total bases and on-base percentage.  Magee and Hall of Famer Sam Crawford were the only players to eclipse the 100 RBI plateau in 1910 and he, Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie were the only players to slug above .500.

Most of Magee’s numbers fell off in 1911, but his homerun total swelled to an all-time high of 15.  He was tied for third in the long ball department that season and then led left fielders with a .306 batting average in 1912.  Another monster season followed in 1914 when he led the senior circuit in hits, doubles, RBI, slugging average and total bases.  Despite the heavy hitting of Magee and teammates Gavvy Cravath and Fred Luderus, the Phillies were still a second division team.  After the 1914 season the Phillies sold their star to the Braves for a bundle of cash and utilityman Possum Whitted.

Leaving Philadelphia hurt Magee’s power numbers – he fell from 15 homeruns in 1914 to just two in 1915, but he still led NL center fielders (his new position in Boston) in base hits.  After a poor season in 1916, Boston was looking to move Sherry and they found a taker in Cincinnati.  Sherwood resurrected his career in Cincy leading the NL in RBI during the 1918 season.  His last Major League action came in the tainted 1919 World Series when he went 1-for-2 against the Black Sox.

THE NUMBERS

G 2,085/R 1,112/H 2,169/2B 425/3B 166/HR 83/RBI 1,177/SB 441/BA .291/SA .427

sherry-magee-1www.philliesnation.com

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    One of the best run-producing outfielders of the Deadball Era, Magee was a three-time RBI champ and even netted a batting title in his career. He slugged .500 twice in the Deadball Era–a feat very few players achieved. A Deadball Era star, the baseball writers never gave Magee the credit he deserved–mainly because he never played for a winner (with the excpetion of his last year in the Majors). His HOF chances are slightly below average.

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