Wabash George Mullin was the Tigers co-ace during the early years of the Ty Cobb regime. Teaming with Wild Bill Donovan, Mullin pitched Detroit to three straight American League pennants from 1907 to 1909. A five-time 20-game winner, Mullin could throw 300 innings a season with little effort.
Mullin joined the Tigers in 1902 and won 14 games as a rookie that year. Control was a problem for George initially but his walks per inning total are far superior to modern-day pitchers with accuracy issues. Every year he issued 100 walks, he threw at least 285 innings, so he kept his base on balls total down compared to hurlers of today.
Although Mullin issued his share of walks he also struck out more batters than the average pitcher. Wabash George finished fifth in the junior circuit in strikeouts in 1903. He started 36 games during the season but still managed to lead the league in saves (a stat that wasn’t regarded back then). He won 19 games, tossed six shutouts and had an ERA of 2.24. In 1904 Mullin tossed a career high 382 innings and tied for third in the league with seven shutouts. A fine hitter throughout his career, George hit .290 that year; he was a career .262 hitter.
Mullin had his first 20-win season in 1905. That year he led the American League in innings pitched and tied for the lead in complete games. His string of three straight 20-win seasons was kicked off that year, as he won 21 games in 1906 (he and Hall of Famer Jack Chesbro were the only AL pitchers to start 40 games that year) and added another 20 wins to his career total in his first pennant winning season in 1907. Although the Tigers had a thunderous offense with Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford, they couldn’t get it done offensively in the World Series. Mullin suffered two hardluck losses in the ’07 Fall Classic.
His Tigers went to the World Series again in 1908 and Wabash George took matters into his own hands during his lone start. Suffering two hardluck losses in 1907 George tossed a shutout in Game 3 with eight strikeouts, but the Tigers again lost the World Series to the Cubs of Three-Finger Brown.
His finest year came in 1909, the Tigers last pennant winning season while he was on its roster. Mullin led the league with 29 wins and a .784 winning percentage. His ERA was a nifty 2.22 during the season, as he led the Tigers to their third straight World Series appearance. In the 1909 Fall Classic the Tigers took on the Pirates of Honus Wagner and Mullin looked sharp in the Series. He became only the second pitcher since the modern World Series was adopted to reach 20 strikeouts.
Wabash George had his final 20-win season in 1910. The Tigers finished second in 1911 with Mullin pacing the pitching staff in wins, strikeouts and ERA. With the numerous seasons of 300 innings worked, Mullin’s arm began to slip in 1912 when his record fell to 12-17. During the 1913 season the Tigers sold his contract to the Senators and he had a poor showing in Washington. After completing the 1913 season, the upstart Federal League became a Major League and Mullin jumped the Senators to join the Indianapolis Hoosiers. He ended his Major League career with the Federal League’s Newark entry in 1915.
W 229/L 192/PCT .544/G 488/CG 353/IP 3,687/H 3,518/BB 1,238/SO 1,482/SHO 34/ERA 2.82