Updated: Apr 1, 2020
In 1905, at age 36, manager Sol White was entering his fourth season as captain of the Philadelphia Giants and his eighteenth as a professional ball player. White piloted the 1905 Philadelphia Giants to an unprecedented record of 134 wins 24 losses and 3 tie games. Along the way, his Giants could boast of victories over teams managed by Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, James O’Rourke and Billy Hamilton.
Under White’s astute guidance, the 1905 Philadelphia Giants defeated nine minor league opponents from five different leagues. Against rival African-American teams they went undefeated. In the eight state region surrounding Philadelphia, the Giants won well over 100 games against the most influential semi-professional teams in the east.
Superior hitting teams were difficult to find as the Philadelphians were out-hit by their opponents less than twenty times in over 158 games played. They also played an entire schedule of over one hundred fifty games without ever getting shutout. Slugging their way to nearly 1,500 hits and well over 220 doubles they were as dominant on the field as they were segregated off it. Considering that these high-water marks were reached while “Home Run” Johnson, Bill Monroe and Sol White were having an injury-plagued season only solidifies this team’s quest for greatness. It was pitching, though, that made this Philadelphia Giants team nearly unbeatable.
Highlighting this memorable season, were pitchers “Rube” Foster, Dan McClellan and Emmett Bowman. They transformed the 1905 Philadelphia Giants into a baseball powerhouse. Collectively they combined for a mind-blowing 100 wins, over 20 shutouts, nearly 700 strikeouts and over 1,035 innings pitched. Their cumulative record was in the neighborhood of 101-20.
The uncompromising roster of the 1905 Philadelphia Giants varied from twelve to fourteen men. As an elite squad, they were a mixture of many athletic components. In Bill Monroe the Giants’ fielded one the best hitting and fielding third basemen in baseball. Slick fielding “Home Run” Johnson at shortstop, just as the name implied, was a potential long ball in every at-bat. The hitting and fielding of Charlie Grant, at second base, and Pete Hill, in center field, made the Giants extremely strong up the middle of the field – as strong as any team of that era. Whenever a utility player was needed there were few more dependable than steady “Mike” Moore.
The Philadelphia Giants of 1905 were a championship squad with few equals.