All-Time Indians: Glenn Liebhardt

Name: Glenn John Liebhardt     Position: Starting Pitcher      
Tribe Time: 1906-1909           DOB: 03/10/1883      
Stats W L W% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1907) 18 14 0.563 2.06 38 34 27 4 280.1 254 100 64 1 85 110 1.21 3.5 .232
Career 36 35 0.507 2.18 90 66 49 7 612.2 543 225 148 3 183 280 1.19 4.1 .228

If there was ever a flash in the pan for the Indians, it was Glenn Liebhardt. In the age of the starting pitcher, early in the dead ball era, Liebhardt was even better than the best for a very short time. In 1906, the Indians only used eight pitchers all year with all but one keeping an ERA under 3.00. Liebhardt only started two games in that, his rookie season, but he won both and had the lowest ERA, BAA and WHIP for that short period, giving just a hint of his amazing future.

In 1907, Liebhardt had one of the greatest single seasons in Indians history, throwing 280 innings in 34 starts with 27 complete games. He won 18 of those games as the Indians second best starter behind Addie Joss. The starting staff stuck together and in 1908 may have become the greatest pitching staff in Indians history. Three of five starters held ERAs under 1.80 (all in the top ten single season records) with Joss setting the team record of 1.16. Liebhardt as actually one of the worst pitchers of the group, posting a 2.20 ERA in 262 innings. This was the first great season in Indians history with the team winning 90 games (.584 W%) and allowing just 2.92 runs per game, the only time in Cleveland history that the team allowed less than three. With no play-offs, the Naps finished in second behind Ty Cobb's Detroit Tigers by one loss (they tied three times as well), keeping them from their first shot at a World Series title.

1909 was Liebhardt's final season with the Naps and in professional baseball. He lost his starting role to the greatest pitcher in baseball history, Cy Young, and was used as a reliever in eight of 12 games played. He still had an ERA under 3.00, but walked more than he struck out and moved out of favor with the team. In mid-season 1909 he was traded to the American Association's Columbus team and then bounced around in other Independent leagues until 1914. Unlike many players from the early Cleveland teams, Liebhardt lived a long life after baseball, especially considering that he was out of the MLB by the age of 26, dying at the age of 73 in Cleveland in 1956.

 

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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