Record – 52-83, Finished Seventh Place in the American League
Pythagorean Record – 58-77
C – Deacon McGuire (.227/.300/.323)
1b – Pop Dillon (.206/.255/.255)
2b – Kid Gleason (.247/.292/.297)
3b – Doc Casey (.273/.338/.352)
SS – Kid Elberfeld (.260/.348/.326)
LF – Dick Harley (.281/.345/.344)
CF – Jimmy Barrett (.303/.397/.387)
RF – Ducky Holmes (.257/.319/.337)
Homeruns – Jimmy Barrett (4)
Batting Average – Jimmy Barrett (.303)
OPS – Jimmy Barrett (.784)
Best Fielder – Ducky Holmes, Jimmy Barrett (10 Fielding Runs Above Average)
Wins – Win Mercer (15)
ERA – Ed Siever (1.91)
Strikeouts – George Mullin (78)
Poor hitting and poor pitching doesn’t make a great combination. The 1902 Tigers took a step back from their inaugural season and would be in the lower half of the American League until Ty Cobb showed up in 1905. The Tigers had a bad team in 1902. They finished 3 1/2 games ahead of the last place Batlimore Orioles but their offense would have put the 2003 Tigers on a pedestal.
The Tigers finished dead last in the American League in batting average, slugging, OBP and runs. They were seventh (second to last) in homeruns. The only statistical category of any significance that the Tigers finished in the top half was walks, and they just made the cut at fourth place. Pitching wasn’t much better. They finished last in strikeouts, sixth in ERA and fifth in runs allowed. All five of their regular starters finished the season with a losing record, including Ed Siever, who led the league with a 1.91 ERA.
Oddly, the Tigers got off to a solid start in 1902. After winning six of seven, the Tigers started the season with a 6-2 record and by the end of May, they were still above .500 at 16-14. They slipped under .500 by mid-June and then the team had a stretch in July where they a 4-16 run put them out of contention. In Auguest they dropped even further when they lost eleven in a row at one point (they played three doubleheaders on three consecutive days against the Philadelphia A’s and lost all six games) and then went on to seven of their next nine after that. Another 10 game losing steak in September gave them a chance to finish dead last, but they won four of their last five games to lock up the seventh place spot.
Jimmy Barrett was the only Tiger hitter to finish with an OPS+ above 100. Only one other player, Dick Harley, had an OPS+ of at least 90. Barrett finished fourth in the league in OBP (.397) and he finished third in walks (74).
The workhorse of the rotation was Win Mercer, who had played for the Senators the year before. 1902 was Mercer’s final major league season and he led the team in wins (15) and innings pitched (281 2/3). Unfortunately he also led the team in losses (18). His Adjusted ERA+ of 120 was tenth in the league.
Ed Siever finished the season 8-11 despite have a league leading ERA of 1.91. He was fourth in the league in WHIP (1.051) and his adjusted ERA+ of 191 led the league. In January of 1903, Siever was sold to the St. Louis Browns.
The Tigers .385 winning percentage was a record low that would stand for 50 years. In 1952, the Tigers went 50-104. That record would then stand until 2003, when the Tigers winning percentage was .265.