Jack Chesbro (sometimes referred to as "Happy Jack") was a 5'9" right handed pitcher from North Adams, Massachusetts. Born on June 5th, 1874, he accrued a 26-30 minor league record between the "A" level Eastern League Springfield Maroons (2-1), the "B" Level Virginia League Roanoke Magicians (8-11) and the "B" level Atlantic League Richmond Giants from 1895-97. After taking 1898 off, he came back with a 17-4 record for the Atlantic League Richmond Bluebirds. He was called up to the Pirates in mid-July.
In his first major league season, Chesbro racked up a pedestrian 6-9 record with a 4.11 ERA in 149 innings. He posted a 1.503 WHIP and struck out only 28 while walking 59. He also collected nine hits in 58 at bats for a .155 batting average. Pittsburgh finished with a 76-73 record, on the top of the second division (the Brooklyn Superbas won the pennant by eight games with a 101-47 record).
Chesbro started coming into his own starting in the 1900 season for the Bucs. He went 15-13 with a 3.67 ERA. He finished 20 of his 26 starts (out of 32 appearances), with an NL fifth best three shutouts. He still finished with a K/W rating of below one, with 79 walks and 56 strikeouts in 215.2 innings pitched, although his WHIP improved to 1.386 in what was merely a shadow of what was to come. He went 15-for-85 from the plate, for a .176 average. The Pirates finished at 79-60, losing the pennant by four and a half games to the Superbas.
In 1901, Chesbro again showed marked improvement from the previous season, finishing 26 of his 28 starts with an NL leading six shutouts. He posted his first of five 20 win seasons at 21-10, with an NL fifth best 2.38 ERA. He dropped his WHIP to an NL third-ranking 1.088 in 287.2 innings, while reversing his walks (52) to strikeout (129) ratio. He hit .216 (25-of-116) with his first Major League home run and eight RBI. The Pirates won the NL Pennant by seven and a half games, at 90-49. 1901 was also the first official season for the upstart American League, and as such there was no "World Series" played.
1902 would again see Chesbro improve his already impressive numbers, leading the NL in wins and win percentage at 28-6 with an NL ninth best 2.17 ERA. He finished 31 of his 33 starts, leading the league with eight shutouts. He lowered his WHIP to 1.062 in 286.1 innings, striking out 136 to only 62 walks. The Pirates were head and shoulders above the competition, winning the pennant by 27.5 games with a 103-36 record. Jack hit .179 by going 20-for-112 at the plate.
After the season, Chesbro "jumped" to the New York Highlanders. He played six and a half seasons with the precursor to the Yankees, collecting an impressive 128-93, 2.58 record. This includes a historic 41-12 record in 1904, as he pitched a Major League leading 454.2 innings. He pitched (and lost) one game for the Boston Red Sox to close out his career in 1909.
All-Time Statline: 70-38, 2.89 ERA, 122 games, 104 starts, 92 CG, 17 shutouts, 938.2 innings pitched, 888 hits allowed, walked 252, struck out 349, 1.214 WHIP, 11.5 wins above replacement.