Top 100 Indians: #51 Charlie Jamieson

Charlie Jamieson - legendaryauctions.com/

Never spectacular, but always steady, we look at the seventh left fielder in Tribe history on this list.

Charles Devine Jamieson (Cuckoo)

Left Fielder, 1919-1932

Height: 5'8" Weight: 165 lbs

Throws: Left Bats: Left

How Acquired: Trade, March 1, 1919: Traded with Larry Gardner and Elmer Myers by the Philadelphia Athletics for Braggo Roth

Left Via: Released, December 30, 1932

Born in Paterson, NJ, Jamieson was the son of former third baseman who had played with John McGraw (albeit not in any leagues recognized by BRef). His mother also encouraged him to play ball instead of working in the local textile mills. By high school, he was playing semi-pro ball with a local team called the Lafayettes. The Buffalo Bisons of the International League offered Charlie $250/month for the upcoming 1912 season, and at nineteen, Charlie was on his way.

In 1912, Charlie was a very good starting pitcher, going 13-7 and 2.98 ERA in 31 games. Ironically, his bat was pretty awful that year, .159 average and .195 slugging in 82 at-bats. In 1913 he still made 32 starts, going 14-10 with a 2.95 ERA, but manager Bill Clymer started using him in the outfield, making 19 appearances there, and the hitting improved a tad, .236 average and .260 slugging, but was still not good.

Clymer felt Jamieson had good speed and a strong enough arm to stick in the outfield, so in 1914 he only made 20 relief appearances but played in 55 games in the outfield with his numbers spiking to .308 average and .421 slugging. In 1915, new manager Patsy Donovan moved him to the outfield full time and in 522 at-bats, he hit .307 and .395 slugging. This was good enough for Washington Senators owner/manager Clark Griffith to purchase him.

He was merely a backup outfielder for the 1916 season and didn't hit all that well, 248/331/276 83 OPS+. After only 20 nondescript games in 1917, Griffith waived him. The Philadelphia Athletics owner/manager, in the midst of yet another string of poor seasons, took a flyer on Jamieson on July 17. Jamieson took over the starting right field job in 1918, but struggled mightily, 202/297/238 61 OPS+. Meanwhile in Cleveland, manager Lee Fohl wasn't seeing eye to eye with left fielder Braggo Roth. And both he and owner Jim Dunn wanted to trade for A's third baseman Larry Gardner. A Roth for Gardner trade would have been very equitable, but Dunn asked for starting pitcher Elmer Myers and Jamieson to be included. Mack had no reason to believe Jamieson was worth much and said yes.

Jamieson played sparingly in 1919 as managers Fohl (fired after 78 games) and Speaker used Jack Graney in left, Speaker in center and Elmer Smith in right with Smokey Joe Wood as the fourth outfielder. Jamieson appeared only 26 times for 18 plate appearances, five times in center, four times on the mound, nine times as a pinch hitter and twelve times as a pinch runner. And at the age of 26, his career looked to be that of a career back-up.

The 1920 season started with Jamieson again on the bench. But in mid-May, left fielder Graney was injured. This opened a competition between Joe Evans and Jamieson. Evans was the starter for most of June, but by early July, Jamieson had taken over in left and in the leadoff spot in the batting order. He finished with a 319/388/411 108 OPS+ line and started four of the seven games in the 5-2 World Series over the Brooklyn Robins.

By 1921, he had earned the everyday starting job in left and was pretty consistent. From 1921-1924, he had a 335/402/438 116 OPS+ line, averaging 33 doubles, 10 triples, 62 walks and only 25 strikeouts. He finished 19th in MVP voting in 1922, 6th in 1922 when he led the league in plate appearances, at-bats and hits (222); and peaked at 3rd in MVP voting in 1924. His best season was the 1923 one where he hit 345/422/447 129 OPS+36 doubles and 12 triples.

He fell off to league average starting in 1925, and was very consistent once again, averaging 301/378/378 94 OPS+ from 1925 to 1930. In 1928, he became the only outfielder in MLB history to start two triple plays in a season, which he did in the span of two weeks; in the ninth inning on May 23 against the White Sox and in the second inning on June 9 against the Yankees. In 1930, he was a robust 37 years young and still playing every day. However in 1931, he lost his spot to a 21 year old by the name of Joe Vosmik and was relegated to pinch hitting duties that year and in 1932.

Upon his release, The Plain Dealer's Gordon Cobbledick wrote, "They come and they go in baseball, a racket wherein there's no place for either the aged or the incompetent, and you can't be mourning long for any of them. But still, without allowing yourself to grow too sentimental about it, you find yourself wishing old Jamie could have stuck around for another 14 years. He's that kind of a guy and that kind of a ballplayer." One example of his stature of being beloved was in 1929, on Jamieson Day. The fans had donated $3200 as a gift to their favorite player. He got two hits that day, but grounded out in the ninth with the winning run on base. When the owner Alva Bradley met him after the game to give him his purse, he was in tears and said, "I like money as well as the next guy, but I'd have given that whole $3200 for one more hit off that big monkey [Lefty Grove]."

Not only was he the most beloved player between Nap Lajoie and Bob Feller eras, but he had a sterling reputation as a defender. With his speed and arm, he covered the expansive left field in League Park for those 14 seasons. His range factor led the league three times and he also led the league in double plays three times. He played a whopping 1242 games in left field of his career, the most in Cleveland history (with Jack Graney second at 1179).

Jamieson was quoted once as saying "I'm going to play ball as long as they'll let me - major, minor, semipro and sandlot." So, after being released after the 1932 season at the age of 39, it was no surprise that he resurfaced back home on the Jersey City Skeeters in the International League for a season. It would not surprise me if he played semi-pro for many years after that. He did manage the Paterson Smart Set of the Paterson East Side Park Club in the 1930s. He passed away on October 27, 1969 at the age of 76 in his hometown.

Sources

The Best They Could Be, Scott Longert; The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia, Russ Schneider

Indians Career Stats

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB HBP SH Pos Awards
1919 26 CLE 26 18 17 3 6 2 1 0 2 2 0 2 .353 .353 .588 .941 155 10 0 0 /81O
1920 27 CLE 108 426 370 69 118 17 7 1 40 2 9 41 26 .319 .388 .411 .799 108 152 1 13 O78/39
1921 28 CLE 140 610 536 94 166 33 10 1 46 8 4 67 27 .310 .387 .414 .802 103 222 1 4 *O78
1922 29 CLE 145 641 567 87 183 29 11 3 57 15 9 54 22 .323 .388 .429 .816 111 243 6 14 *O78/1 MVP-19
1923 30 CLE 152 746 644 130 222 36 12 2 51 18 14 80 37 .345 .422 .447 .869 129 288 6 12 *7O/8 MVP-6
1924 31 CLE 143 663 594 98 213 34 8 3 54 21 12 47 15 .359 .407 .458 .865 121 272 2 17 *7O MVP-3
1925 32 CLE 138 644 557 109 165 24 5 4 42 14 18 72 26 .296 .380 .379 .759 92 211 3 11 *7O
1926 33 CLE 143 630 555 89 166 33 7 2 43 9 7 53 22 .299 .361 .395 .756 96 219 1 19 *7O
1927 34 CLE 127 572 489 73 151 23 6 0 36 7 9 64 14 .309 .394 .380 .775 101 186 5 14 *7O MVP-18
1928 35 CLE 112 501 433 63 133 18 4 1 37 3 12 56 20 .307 .388 .374 .762 100 162 1 11 *7O
1929 36 CLE 102 423 364 56 106 22 1 0 26 2 13 50 12 .291 .378 .357 .735 88 130 1 7 7O
1930 37 CLE 103 417 366 64 110 22 1 1 52 5 2 36 20 .301 .368 .374 .742 86 137 3 12 O7/8
1931 38 CLE 28 48 43 7 13 2 1 0 4 1 1 5 1 .302 .375 .395 .770 99 17 0 0 /O78
1932 39 CLE 16 19 16 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 .063 .211 .125 .336 -14 2 1 0 /O97
CLE (14 yrs) 1483 6358 5551 942 1753 296 74 18 490 107 110 627 247 .316 .388 .406 .794 104 2251 31 134
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/22/2013.

Selected Awards/Leaders

  • AL MVP: 1924-3rd, 1923-6th, 1927-18th, 1922-19th
  • AL WAR Position Players: 8th, 1923-4.9
  • AL oWAR: 7th, 1923-4.5
  • AL Average: 2nd, 1924-.359; 7th, 1923-.345
  • AL On Base Percentage: 7th, 1923-.422
  • AL Runs Scored: 3rd, 1923-130; 6th, 1925-109
  • AL Hits: 1st, 1923-222; 2nd, 1924-213
  • AL TB: 6th, 1923-288; 9th, 1924-272
  • AL 2B: 10th, 1923-36
  • AL 3B: 7th, 1923-12; 10th, 1922-11
  • AL Bases on Balls: 6th, 1923-80; 9th, 1918-54; 9th, 1925-72; 10th, 1927-64
  • AL Stolen Bases: 5th, 1923-18; 5th, 1924-21
  • AL Singles: 1st, 1923-172; 1st, 1924-168; 7th, 1922-140
  • AL RC: 5th, 1923-119; 6th, 1924-110
  • AL Hit By Pitch: 9th, 1927-5
  • AL Caught Stealing: 2nd, 1925-18; 4th, 1928-12; 4th, 1929-13; 9th, 1923-14
  • AL Putouts as LF: 1st, 1923-360; 2nd, 1924-333; 2nd, 1925-324; 2nd, 1926-193; 2nd, 1928-283; 4th, 1922-260; 4th, 1927-300
  • AL Assists as LF: 1st, 1928-21; 2nd, 1922-16; 2nd, 1926-15; 3rd, 1923-18; 3rd, 1927-13; 4th, 1925-16; 5th, 1924-11; 5th, 1930-7
  • AL Errors as LF: 1st, 1925-17; 1st, 1926-13; 3rd, 1923-10; 3rd, 1927-10; 3rd, 1930-8; 5th, 1924-9; 5th, 1928-5
  • AL Double Plays Turned as LF: 1st, 1922-4; 1st, 1924-6; 1st, 1926-6; 4th, 1923-1; 4th, 1925-3; 4th, 1927-2; 5th, 1928-1
  • AL Double Plays Turned as CF: 2nd, 1921-2
  • AL Assists as OF: 1st, 1928-22
  • AL Double Plays Turned as OF: 3rd, 1924-6; 4th, 1922-4; 4th, 1926-6
  • AL Range Factor/Game LF: 1st, 1923-2.49; 1st, 1924-2.47; 1st, 1928-2.74; 2nd, 1925-2.52; 3rd, 1927-2.46; 5th, 1926-2.15
  • AL Range Factor/Game OF: 5th, 1928-2.74

Cleveland Indians Career Leader

  • 25th WAR Position Players (24.1)
  • 28th oWAR (21.9)
  • 11th Average (.316)
  • 14th On Base Percentage (.388)
  • t-42nd OPS (.794)
  • 9th Games Played (1483)
  • 8th At Bats (5551)
  • 8th Plate Appearances (6358)
  • 4th Runs Scored (942)
  • 5th Hits (1753)
  • 9th Total Bases (2251)
  • 7th Doubles (296)
  • t-10th Triples (74)
  • 28th Runs Batted In (490)
  • 9th Bases On Balls (627)
  • 22nd Stolen Bases (107)
  • 2nd Singles (1365)
  • 9th Runs Created (852)
  • 17th Extra Base Hits (388)
  • t-33rd Hit By Pitch (31)
  • t-9th Sacrifice Hits (134)
  • 1st Caught Stealing (110)

Cleveland Indians Season Leader

  • 19th Average (.359, 1924)
  • 34th Average (.345, 1923)
  • t-34th On Base Perecntage (.422, 1923)
  • t-9th At Bats (644, 1923)
  • 3rd Plate Appearances (746, 1923)
  • 9th Runs Scored (130, 1923)
  • t-38th Runs Scored (109, 1925)
  • 6th Hits (213, 1924)
  • 13th Hits (213, 1924)
  • t-40th Triples (12, 1923)
  • 1st Singles (172, 1923)
  • 2nd Singles (168, 1924)
  • t-35th Singles (140, 1922)
  • t-7th Caught Stealing (18, 1925)
  • t-31st Caught Stealing (14, 1923)
  • t-39th Caught Stealing (13, 1929)
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