In 1910 Eddie Plank was the fourth best pitcher on the champion Philadelphia A’s even though his earned run average (ERA) was 2.01. The other three starters had an ERA of 1.60 or below. Plank didn’t even pitch in the World Series. He had a sore arm, but it appears that Mack just went with Jack Coombs and Chief Bender. They pitched every inning of the World Series for the A’s in their 4-1 series victory. No wonder the team went 102-48.
Here is what I wrote about Plank in the Early Wynn write up. For his era he didn’t really have outstanding seasons, but stayed around a long time. Basically, his career was similar with Wynn’s except years before. I think his placement is reasonable. Bill James had him 34th because I put more emphasis on career.
Further analysis of his stats I believe this even more. The man almost didn’t have a peak. Actually, one of his best seasons was as a 39-year-old. That was because he pitched in the Federal League for one of the best teams the St. Louis Terriers in 1915. Then when the league folded the St. Louis Browns bought a lot of players from the team including Plank. Plank one back in the American League at the age of 40. However, he announced his retirement on August 16, 1917 due to stomach problems. He was traded to the Yankees after the season, but Plank said he was going to stay retired and he did.
After retirement Plank conducted tours of the battlefield at Gettysburg. He also farmed and owned a Buick shop. One time when I was working in DC, four of us visited the battlefield. If you are a history but, it is well worth it. I especially enjoyed the electronic battlefield that showed positioning on the battlefield. It was one of the best explanations of a battle I ever heard and saw.