One of the Deadball Era’s top flychasers, Amos Strunk patrolled center field for Connie Mack’s Athletics like a buzzard patrols the sky over roadkill. Strunk was the A’s ballhawk during their dynasty $100,000 Infield years which enabled him to win three World Championships with Mr. Mack. Amos added another Fall Classic title later in his career with the Red Sox of Ruth.
Amos joined the A’s as a 19-year-old in 1908. Connie Mack farmed him out to the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association in 1909. In 1910, Strunk only played in sixteen games all season but Mr. Mack used him regularly in that year’s World Series. He didn’t disappoint the suit wearing skipper–Amos hit .278 with a triple in the World Series to give the A’s the title.
Strunk wasn’t a regular player with the A’s until 1912. Used predominately in left field, he paced AL left fielders with a dozen triples that season. He hit .305 in 1913 as the A’s won another World Championship. Mack led them to the 1914 World Series as well–where Strunk hit .286–but with the Federal League invading the rosters of the two established leagues, Connie Mack could no longer compete and he dispersed his dynasty. Strunk, however, stuck around while the A’s fell to the basement in 1915.
The A’s reached their lowest point about the same time Strunk reached his peak. He posted a nifty .371 on-base percentage for the last place A’s in 1915 while pacing Major League center fielders with 16 triples. Amos’ fleet feet were good at legging out triples but even better at chasing down flyballs. He led center fielders in fielding percentage four years during his career.
But Strunk was always overshadowed. He manned a position in the same era as arguably the two greatest center fielders of all-time: Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker. With Cobb and Spoke patrolling the center pasture in the AL, Strunk was relegated to second citizen status. Nevertheless, he, Cobb and Speaker were the only three center fielders in the Major Leagues to hit over .300 in 1916. Connie Mack completed his fire sale after the 1917 season when he sold Strunk, Bullet Joe Bush and Wally Schang to the Red Sox for $60,000 and some spare parts.
Strunk won a World Title with the Red Sox in 1918, but since his numbers had fallen during the WW I years, the Red Sox shipped Amos back to the Mackmen during the 1919 season. The White Sox selected him off waivers in 1920 as Amos played a few months with the eight men who conspired to throw the 1919 World Series before their banishment from the game. When the White Sox lost great outfielders Shoeless Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch, the aging Strunk was thrust into an everyday role again in 1921. He responded by having his last great year. Although he hit a lusty .332, his batting average was well in the dark depths cast by the shadows of Cobb and Speaker. He ended his career with a third stint under Connie Mack in 1924.
G 1,512/R 696/H 1,418/2B 213/3B 96/HR 15/RBI 530/SB 185/BA 284/SA .374/OBP .359