Cravath was the home run king of the deadball era. He set marks Babe Ruth would break soon after with the introduction of the lively ball. The tobacco-chewing, cussing bruiser was called “Cactus” for his prickly personality.
Cravath was a sensation in the Pacific Coast League and the American Association. In between, he failed with the Red Sox, White Sox, and Senators. Given a second chance with the Phillies at age 31, he bloomed. In 1913 he led the NL with 19 HR and 128 RBI – 35 more than runner-up Heinie Zimmerman. His league-high 179 hits gave him a .341 average, his career best. Over the next six years he won five more HR titles, with a high of 24 in 1915, when he repeated as RBI champ. That August 8, he tied a ML record with four doubles in a game. He won the 1919 NL HR crown with 12 in only 83 games.
A gruff player, Cravath proved too easygoing as a manager, lasting just a season and a half at the Phillies helm. He frequently used himself off the bench, and had a league-high 12 pinch hits in 1920. The California native became a justice of the peace in Laguna, but lost his job for being too easygoing.