Introducing… Earl Moore

One of the top power pitchers of the Deadball Era, Earl “Crossfire” Moore was often among the league leaders in strikeouts and like most power arms, was listed quite high each season in walks issued.  Moore was a member of the inaugural Cleveland team of the American League which were refered to as the Blues, Bronchos and Naps before the moniker of Indians held.  A two-time 20-game-winner and former strikeout champ, Crossfire never played for a winner during his career and thus never witnessed World Series action.

When the American League was established as a major circuit in 1901, Earl was a rookie with the Cleveland entry.  Crossfire won 16 games as a freshman and followed that up with a 17 win season in 1902 but he didn’t enjoy his breakout year until 1903.  That year Cleveland was called the “Naps” after their team leader Nap Lajoie.  Moore, who was also nicknamed “The Steam Engine in Boots,” won 20 games on just eight losses.  He led the league with an amazing 1.74 ERA and allowed the fewest hits over nine innings among AL moundsmen.  In top form, Moore, who had issued 100 or more walks his first two years in the circuit, trimmed his total down to 62 while establishing a new career high in strikeouts with 148 (seventh in the AL).

Although Crossfire kept his ERA down at 2.25, he was only able to muster a dozen wins in 1904 despite his brilliant peripheral stats.  In 228 innings he only allowed 186 hits while fanning 139 batters (a rather high total for the Deadball Era).  The next season Earl won 15 games on 269 innings.  In his first five years in the Majors he had pitched at least 227 innings each season.  His arm went south in 1906.  With a dead arm, Cleveland traded Crossfire to New York for one of the lesser Delahanty Brothers and he couldn’t get back on track with the Yankees (then called the Highlanders).  His contract was sold to Jersey City of the minor leagues where he regained his old form.

The Phillies brought Crossfire back to the Majors at the end of the 1908 season and by 1909 he was one of the top pitchers in the Majors again.  He returned to his power pitcher ways from his early days–high strikeout totals as well as high bases on balls totals.  He won 18 games for the Phillies in 1909 on 300 innings of work.  With impeccable swing-and-miss stuff, Moore allowed just 238 hits in his 300 frames.  Although Crossfire led the league in walks with 108, he fanned 173 batters which was good for third in the senior circuit.  He would establish some career highs the next season in 1910.

Earl won 22 games for the Phillies in 1910–his career high in that category.  He also set career standards in both shutouts and strikeouts and each total led the National League.  Crossfire fanned 185 batters to go along with his league leading six shutouts.  In 1911, Earl whiffed 174 batters to give him three straight seasons finishing in the Top Five in that department.  That year he also established a career high with 308 innings of work, but it was his last good year as he would never again reach 200 innings a season.  His arm went dead again in 1913 but with the advent of the Federal League in 1914, Crossfire was able to pitch one final season in the upstart league before ending his days in fast company.

THE NUMBERS

W 163/L 154/PCT .514/ERA 2.78/G 388/CG 230/SHO 34/IP 2,776/H 2,474/BB 1,108/SO 1,403

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