The first dynasty in the two league platform that modern baseball fans have come to know was the Pittsburgh Pirates. They had such Hall of Famers as Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke, Jack Chesbro and Rube Waddell, but the guy who made the offense go in the Pirates early years was their swift center fielder Ginger Beaumont.
Ginger was a member of the Pirates before the famous talent infusion that came when the club merged with the Louisville Colonels and got such stars as Wagner and Clarke. As a rookie in 1899, Ginger hit a robust .352 (6th in the National League) with an amazing .416 on-base percentage. In 1900, Ginger began a four-year string of scoring 100 or more runs when he crossed the plate 105 times for the Buccos.
When the American League became a Major League in 1901, the two leagues were at war because the American League raided the rosters of the established National League. Beaumont stayed with the Pirates and helped build their dynasty. In 1901, Ginger led all center fielders in homeruns, runs scored and RBI for the NL Champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Since the two leagues were at war, there was no World Series so the Pirates had to be content with capturing the NL flag.
Ginger won the batting title in 1902 with a .357 batting average. His 194 base hits led the senior circuit as well and the stellar center fielder finished third in runs scored. He was the only Major League center fielder to eclipse 60 RBI and his 33 thefts led NL center fielders. By 1903 the two leagues were able to stomach one another so when the Pirates won the NL flag that year the Red Sox agreed to play them in the first modern World Series. Ginger was a terror all year for the Pirates (he led the league in runs, hits and total bases) and carried the Pirates into the first modern-format Fall Classic. Beaumont, who was the only Major League player to reach 200 hits in ’03, hit .265 in the World Series, but his Pirates fell to the Red Sox.
In 1904 Ginger again led the National League in base hits while tying for second in runs scored. He hit a lusty .328 in 1905 but then missed time in 1906 with an injury. Ginger only appeared in 80 games for the Pirates in 1906 and after the season they traded him to the Braves (then called the Doves) for infielder Ed Abbaticchio. The Doves made out like bandits as Beaumont came off his injury plagued 1906 season to pace the NL in base hits for his new club in 1907. He tied for second in the league with 14 triples while leading NL center fielders in batting average and slugging average.
Ginger topped NL center fielders in runs scored during the 1908 season and then led his position peers in RBI during the 1909 campaign. The Doves had a punchless offense, indicated by Ginger being the lone Boston player to drive in more than 40 runs. Although his batting average fell to .263, he hit 40 points higher than the team average.
Sent to the Cubs after the year, Ginger played his last Major League season with the NL champion Cubs of 1910. He spent one year in the minors with the St. Paul Saints before ending his days as a professional baseball player.
G 1,463/R 953/H 1,754/2B 182/3B 82/HR 39/RBI 617/SB 243/BA .311/SA .393