Introducing… George Cutshaw

One of the finest defensive second basemen of the Deadball Era, Cutshaw normally led his position in putouts and assists every year.  His legacy gains more weight now with the advent of all those new defensive stats since Cutty scores very well in the new range factor stat.  But George also brought a little extra offensively.  He hit for a decent average, ran the bases well and had modest pop in the day when the ball was deceased.

Cutshaw joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1912 and the following year he paced Major League second basemen in homeruns.  Much better than his NL peers, Cutty led senior circuit second basemen in hits, triples, RBI and stolen bases.  On the field, Cutty had a career high in doubles plays turned and led second basemen, which he often did, in putouts.

A fine run-producing second baseman during the Deadball Era, George led National second basemen with 78 RBI in 1914.  Like he did in 1913, Cutty also exceeded his position peers in other major offensive categories: hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases.  Always eager to take an extra base, Cutshaw led NL second basemen in steals again in 1915.  Cutty had seven straight years of 20 or more thefts from 1913 to 1919.

The American League had Hall of Famer Eddie Collins leading the position in numerous offensive categories, and although Cutshaw was no Cocky Collins, he had a stranglehold on the stats among senior circuit second basemen.  In 1916, Cutty led NL second basemen in hits, RBI and stolen bases, but his .260 batting average paled in comparison to the perennial .330 hitting Collins. 

In the war-torn 1918 season, George led Major League second basemen in homeruns with the modest total of five.  Remember, this was the Deadball Era, before the jack-rabbit ball and steroids were circulated.  Cutty’s 68 RBI topped National League second basemen as he was the only second baseman from the senior circuit to reach 40.  All this was done with his new team, the Pirates, who acquired his services for Hall of Fame spitballer Burleigh Grimes.

Cutshaw pilfered 36 bags in 1919–tops among NL second basemen.  Although his steals total was cut in half in 1920, he nevertheless paced senior circuit second basemen in thefts again.  Cutshaw, who spent his prime years during the Deadball Era, was usually a .255 to .260 hitter, but when the livelier ball was introduced, Cutty’s batting average jumped to .340 in 1921 as a 34-year-old veteran.

One of the game’s more difficult strikeout victims, Cutty was as difficult to strikeout as Marx was to embrace capitalism.  Despite hitting .340 in 1921, the Pirates waived their aging second baseman and he caught on with Ty Cobb’s Tigers of Detroit.  Cutty’s best years were behind him but he earned an MVP vote in 1922.  After a poor 1923 season, Cutty went west and finished his career in the Pacific Coast League.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,516/R 629/H 1,487/2B 195/3B 89/HR 25/RBI 653/BB 300/SO 242/SB 271/BA .265/SA .344/OBP .305

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    When you look at Deadball Era second basemen in the HOF (guys like Eddie Collins and Nap Lajoie) you can clearly see that Cutshaw doesn’t measure up. Playing in the Deadball Era surely hurts his chances of eventual induction since his BA spiked when the Lively Ball was introduced at the end of his career. His HOF chances hover just above never-getting-in.

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