Lajoie (pronounced Laz-uh-way) was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies in the latter part of 1896. After hitting .326 in the remaining 39 games, he became a star for the Phillies. He hit ,361, 9, 127 with 40 2Bs, 23 3Bs and 197 hits in 1897. He followed that up with a .326, 6, 127 with 43 2Bs, 11 3Bs and 197 hits in 1898. Despite hitting .378 in 1899, he only played in 77 games that season. In 102 games in 1900, Lajoie hit .337, 7, 92.
The American League started in 1901. The owners and league board members wanted this league to become a major league. So then started the negotiations between National League players and American League teams with the AL teams trying to fry the NL players away. Many players jumped leagues, including Lajoie, who joined the Philadelphia Athletics and Mack. As would be expected, NL teams were infuriated by the players jumping leagues. However, Lajoie got a chance to play in the new league's inaugural season in 1901, winning the triple crown for the Athletics (.426, 14, 125). He scored 145 runs, had 232 hits, 48 2Bs, 14 3Bs, a 1.108 OPS, 198 OPS+ and 350 total bases; all while striking out 9 times in 544 ABs! One of the greatest seasons of any era.
The National League got a court order banning Lajoie from playing games in the city of Philadelphia after the 1901 season. Nap would play in one game for the Athletics, going 1-4 before he was allowed to sign with Cleveland's AL team, known as the Bronchos at the time. Mack felt it was not fair for Lajoie to remain with the Athletics and allowed him to sign with a team that he could play for. Lajoie still could not play in Cleveland's road games when they traveled to Philadelphia. Napolean would lead the AL in batting his first three years in Cleveland, as the team became known as the "Naps" in Nap's second season there. He became known as Cleveland's best player and became player-manager from 1905-1909.
After Lajoie was done managing, he was part of the historic batting race with the legendary Ty Cobb in 1910. Cobb was hated by the opposition and in some cases, his own teammates. Cobb had chosen to sit out the final two games of the 1910 season, as the Tigers were out of the race and he had a healthy lead on the batting race. Lajoie played in a double header and had 8 hits- 6 bunt singles, as he finished ahead of Cobb, .384-.383. St Louis Browns manager Jack O'Connor, with his team well over 100 losses and in last place in the AL, had his 3B play further back than normal. This was done to allow Lajoie to win the batting title over the hated Cobb. In the end, they were both considered batting champions for the season.
Always respected by Mack, Lajoie came back to Philadelphia for the 1915 season at age 40. Napolean just got his 3000th career hit, in fact he rejoined Philadelphia with 3001 career hits. Lajoie's batting average dropped from .335 in 1913 to .258 in 1914 and the Cleveland organization thought Lajoie was finished as a player. They were ready to move in a different direction and sold him back to the Athletics. From 1915 on, the Naps became known as the Indians and of course are still so today. Lajoie hit .280 in 1915, but retired after 1916 after hitting a career low .246 at age 41.