Jamieson’s Name No Longer Forgotten as He Joins Indians Hall of Fame
Bob Toth | On 30, Jul 2016
Prior to the 1919 season, the Indians and Athletics swapped four players, with outfielder Braggo Roth and cash heading to Philadelphia in exchange for pitcher Elmer Myers, third baseman Larry Gardner, and outfielder Charlie Jamieson.
The move would have a major impact on the Indians’ first playoff team the following season while resolving roster decisions at third base and left field for years to come.
Roth had been acquired by Cleveland in the Joe Jackson trade in 1915 and spent four seasons in an Indians uniform. He led the league in homers in his first season on the shores of Lake Erie and ranked in the top ten of a handful of offensive statistics in his time with the club, including doubles, triples, homers, RBI, slugging percentage, and OPS, as well as showing off a good arm while being a top assist and double play man from the outfield corner. He had his weaknesses, ranking in the top five in errors among right fielders from 1916 to 1918 and was frequently near the top of the strikeouts list, so turning him into three pieces made sense, especially with a personality that would later get him into trouble with the legendary Connie Mack.
Myers was gone from Cleveland in August of 1920, claimed off of waivers and turned into a productive pitcher the rest of the season by the Boston Red Sox. Gardner and Jamieson, however, made their marks in the city’s baseball landscape.
Gardner spent his final six seasons in an Indians uniform and put up his best two seasons in Cleveland. He hit .300 his first year in town before hitting .310 with 31 doubles, eleven triples, three homers, and a career-high 118 RBI while playing 154 games for the World Championship club in 1920. The following season, he played in 153 games, established new career highs in doubles (32), triples (14), RBI (120), and batting average (.319). His final two years tailed off, but he still left his mark as one of the better third baseman in franchise history.
Jamieson wasn’t a big man or a prolific power hitting outfielder, but he was a steady and stable force in the Cleveland lineup during the majority of his 14 seasons in Cleveland.
He reached the Majors in 1915 with Washington and was dealt to Philadelphia during the 1917 season, but was only 26 by the time the Indians acquired him. He initially worked as a platoon outfielder and even occasionally took the mound, pitching in four games in his first season with the Tribe and even made a start. He spent 22 other games making sporadic starting, pinch-hitting, and pinch-running appearances.
The following season, Jamieson started in the platoon role, splitting some time at first base and left field, but by midseason and hitting well over .300, he got regular work as the team’s starting left fielder. He finished the year hitting .319 with a .388 on-base percentage and was 5-for-15 (.333) in the World Series as the Indians knocked off the Brooklyn Robins.
He played a role in the Indians’ game five win at home at the corner of East 66th and Lexington Avenue, hitting leadoff and singling off of the Brooklyn first baseman Ed Konetchy to start the bottom of the first. He advanced to second on a single by Bill Wambsganss and to third on an infield bunt single by Tris Speaker before Elmer Smith hit a grand slam over the giant wall in right field, the first in World Series history.
“Cuckoo” Jamieson came up big in the next half inning, catching a fly ball to left and firing to the plate to double up Konetchy, who had tripled.
The 1920 series would be the only postseason appearance of Jamieson’s 18-year career.
He hit .310 in 1921 and .323 in 1922, earning some votes in the MVP balloting but finishing 19th overall.
In 1923, Jamieson led baseball with 746 plate appearances and led the American League with 644 at bats and 222 hits. He had 172 singles (which remains the franchise record) and walked 80 times to hit .345 with a .422 OBP for the year. He scored 130 runs and finished sixth in the MVP voting. Despite the strong season, he was overshadowed by Speaker, who had five fewer hits but hit .380 with a .469 OBP, 59 doubles (beating his club record that would last just three seasons before George Burns set the current mark of 64 in 1926), eleven triples, 17 homers, and 130 RBI.
Jamieson hit .359 with a .407 OBP in 1924, delivering 34 doubles, eight triples, three homers, and 54 RBI while stealing a career-hit 21 bases. He finished third in the AL MVP voting behind Walter Johnson and Eddie Collins with his second consecutive 200+ hit season. His average was second-best in the league, trailing only Babe Ruth‘s .378 mark.
After six straight seasons hitting above .300, Jamieson hit .296 in 1925 and .299 in 1926 before back-to-back seasons back above that line. All in all, he would hit above .300 ten times in 14 seasons in an Indians uniform.
His time in the Majors ended in 1932, but he appeared in 26 games at the Double-A level close to his home with the Jersey City Skeeters, hitting .250.
When he retired from the Indians, he owned the fourth-most hits and doubles in club history, trailing Nap Lajoie and his fellow teammates in Cleveland, Speaker and Joe Sewell. Earl Averill, who spent three seasons with Jamieson in an Indians uniform, would later pass him on both lists. Lou Boudreau and Ken Keltner would each pass him on the doubles list. He does remain the team’s most caught on the bases, as he stole 107 bases but was caught 110 times, six more than Indians Hall of Famer Kenny Lofton.
He was second at the end of his career in runs in club history with 944, trailing only Speaker. Averill and Lofton both surpassed his mark. Jamieson also ranks ninth with a .316 batting average and eleventh with a .388 OBP.
He died on October 27, 1969, in his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey, at the age of 76. His name gets lost in the historical shuffle behind other more prominent outfielders in franchise history, like his teammates Speaker and Averill, other Hall of Famers like Larry Doby and Elmer Flick, and fan favorites like Rocky Colavito.
But being forgotten some by history should take nothing away from the accomplishments of Jamieson, who during his 14-year career in Cleveland hit .316 with a .388 OBP, delivering 1,753 hits, 296 doubles, 74 triples, 18 homers, and 490 RBI over 1,483 games.
The trade of Roth for Jamieson, Gardner, and Myers is one of the top trades, not just in Indians history, but in the history of Cleveland sports. Jamieson will now get some of the credit that has been lacking over the years as he posthumously takes his place in the Indians Hall of Fame.
Photo: Retro Images Archives