1891: After the Washington Nationals folded in 1889, baseball returned the Nation’s Capital with a team in the American Association called the Washington Statesmen. The American Association had been a rival to the National League for a decade, but never quite reached the same level as the NL dominated the unofficial version of the 19th Century World Series. The AA had been hurt by the Player’s League lone season in 1890 and limped into its final year of existence with the Statesmen as a new team trying to keep the league afloat. Washington did not fare well in the American Association as they finished dead last in the nine team league with a record of 44-91. Deacon McGuire was the Statesmen’s leading hitter with a .303 average, with three home runs and 66 RBI, while Frank Forman was the top pitcher at 18-20. After the season the American Association would fold, but the Washington Statesmen would be one of four teams to join the National League.
1892: With a dozen teams now in the National League as split season is held, with the now rebranded Washington Senators finishing seventh in the first half. However, the second half would be a struggle for Washington as they finished tenth overall at 58-93 with all four former American Association teams finishing at the bottom of the National League. Henry Larkin was the Senators leading hitter with a .280 average, eight home runs and 96 RBI. On the mound Frank Killen was Washington’s top pitcher with a record of 29-26 and a 3.31 ERA.
1893: In their second National League season, the Washington Senators continued to struggle finishing dead last with a record of 40-89. Despite the struggles, Washington had three hitters with more than 70 RBI, led by Sam Wise who hit .311 with five home runs and 77 RBI. While Henry Larkin drove in 75 with a team best .317 average, as Duke Farrell had 73 RBI and a .282 average. Pitching was not as strong for the Senators as Duke Esper and Al Maul each won 12 games to lead the way.
1894: The Washington Senators continued to dwell near the bottom of the National League, finishing in 11th place with a record of 45-87. One bright spot for the Senators was Bill Joyce who was among the league leaders, with 17 home runs along with a .355 average and 89 RBI. Ed Cartwright was the team’s leading run producer with 12 home runs and 106 RBI, while Charlie Abbey hit .314 with 12 dingers and 100 RBI and Bill Hassamer hit .322 with four home runs and 90 RBI. On the mound Washington’s top pitcher was Win Mercer, who posted a record of 17-23 with an ERA of 3.85.
1895: The Washington Senators move up one spot in the standings, finishing in tenth place with a record of 43-85. Bill Joyce again had 17 home runs as he shared the team’s RBI lead with 97 RBI with Deacon McGuire. McGuire also led Washington in hitting with a .336 average. Pitching continued to be the issue for the Senators, as Win Mercer lost more than he won, posting a record of 13-23 with a 4.42 ERA. At the end of the season Ed Cartwright made history by becoming the first Senator to hit for the Cycle against the Boston Beaneaters on September 30th.
1896: The Washington Senators slow climb up the National League continued, as they placed ninth with a record of 58-73. Gene DeMontreville was the leading hitter, with an average of .343, with eight home runs and 77 RBI, while Kip Selbach had a team best 100 RBI. On the mound Win Mercer had a terrific year, with 25 wins against 18 losses.
1897: The rise of the Washington Senators continued as they climbed to sixth place in the National League. The Senators were among the best teams in baseball down the stretch, winning 30 of their last 46 games. Gene DeMontreville again was Washington’s top hitter at .341 with 93 RBI. On the mound Win Mercer led the Senators with a record of 21-20, and a 3.18 ERA. Win Mercer had a large following of women fans, who would flock to Boundary Field every time he pitched. Mercer often would pitch on “Ladies Day” including the last game of the season. When Win Mercer was ejected an group of angry female fans stormed the field and attacked Umpire Bill Carpenter, tearing off his clothes, before police restored order.
1898: After four straight seasons of steady improvement the Washington Senators to a major step backward, dropping back to 11th place with a record of 51-101. John Anderson, with a .305 average, nine home runs and 71 RBI. Pitching was a problem for the Senators as Gus Weyhing’s 15-26 record was the best of a bad bunch.
1899: As the National League approached the 20th Century, the league realized that 12 teams was too much and wanted to cut down to eight teams. The Washington Senators who never finished better than sixth and lacked star power were an easy target for the chopping block. In their final season, the Senators again finished in 11th place with a record of 54-98. Unlike other teams designated for contraction, the Senators did not have a land place after their removal. Members of the Cleveland Spiders had joined the St. Louis Perfectos before the season resulting in the worst season in MLB history. The Louisville Colonels led by Owner Barney Dreyfuss would join with the Pittsburgh Pirates, while most of the Baltimore Orioles ended up becoming members of the Brooklyn Superbas. This would result in Washington Senators Owner J. Earl Wagner receiving $39,000 from the National League. In the Senators final season Buck Freeman led the National League with 25 home runs, which was the second highest total in the 19th Century behind Ned Williamson’s 27 hit in 1884. The 25 home runs hit by Freeman would be most until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. The Senators leading pitcher was Bill Dineen, who posted a record of 14-20 with an ERA of 3.93. Dineen would go on to win three games in the first World Series with the Boston Americans in 1903. Washington would be without baseball for just one season, as the four contracted teams opened the door for another rival league, this one with staying power called the American League, which began play in 1901, with a new Washington Senators team as a charter franchise.
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Page created on August 3, 2016. Last updated on August 3, 2016 at 10:45 pm ET.