“Money will not buy a pennant winner;” so said William George “Billy” Murphy, the sports editor of The St. Louis Star. In 1914, he set out to select a team that not even “John D. Rockefeller… (With) all his wealth could buy a club that would win a World’s championship from the one we have picked…The Billion Dollar Team.”
“You fans of towns that have never won a flag, how would you feel to wake up some morning and find that Dame Fortune had so arranged matters that this club had suddenly been picked to represent your fair city.”
Behind the plate he acknowledged “There are many who would doubtless pick (John) Chief Meyers…but considering the Indian’s slowness of foot and propensity for clogging up the bases and stealing when the bags are full, we must remark we cannot see the “Chief” for a minute with Jimmy Archer, who, although not so good a hitter, is faster, a quicker thinker, greater fielder and better pegger.”
Murphy was in the minority questioning the baseball intelligence of Meyers, who was widely considered one of the most intelligent and articulate players of his era. He also rated Ray Schalk and Wally Schang as superior, saying:
“In the writer’s humble opinion they are much more valuable men to their team than Meyers.”
“There will hardly be a dissenting vote cast against Walter Johnson. Unquestionably he is the greatest of all the pitchers.
“(Charles Chief) Bender and (Christy) Mathewson are also great—great when they should show class—in championship games. Every nerve, every fiber of their brains, every muscle necessary to their craft, is at its best when big games are being fought.
“Wonderful as they are, we must pick Johnson, who also has class and is game to the core.”
“For first base, there is only Hal Chase. He is a great hitter, marvelous fielder, can run the sacks, and is a brilliant tactician.
“At short, notwithstanding his age, the palm goes to Hans Wagner. Taken all in all he is still the greatest man at the position in the game. He can do everything and does it better than any of his contemporaries. When will we look upon his like again?”
“At third base, there is that wonderful silent son of swat, Frank Baker, the conqueror of the wonderful Mathewson and Richard (Rube) Marquard.”
“In right field we have Joe Jackson, the young Southerner with the Cleveland club. He is one of the greatest batsmen in the game today and is a fielder and base runner of unusual ability.”
“In center, there is Tyrus Raymond Cobb, the Royston, Georgia marvel, who is the greatest player baseball has ever known.”
“And in left field, there is Tris Speaker of the Boston Red Sox—second only to Cobb.”