The New York Giants finally put things together for the 1904 season and were poised to contend. During the 1902 season, the Giants robbed the AL's Baltimore Orioles of their top players, including future Hall of Fame manager John McGraw, which led to the team ceasing to exist after 1902. Nevertheless, the Giants would win the NL by 13 games over the Chicago Orphans, finishing with 106 wins. The Giants had a great balance of pitching and offense, though it was star pitchers Christi Mathewson and Joe McGinnity that carried the team to the NL Pennant. McGinnity went 35-8, 1.61, pitched 38 complete games, 9 shutouts and 408 innings for the season. Mathewson finished with a 33-12, 2.03 with 33 CGs, 4 SHO and over 367 IP.
Offensively, the Giants were paced by 1B Dan McGann (.286, 6, 71, 42 SB, 81 RS) and SS Bill Dahlen (.268, 2, 80, 47 SB, 70 RS). The Giants, as a whole, were known for stealing bases, finishing the season with 283 as a team and had 9 players with 10 or more. Future HOF OF Roger Bresnahan was also on the team, fresh off a .350 batting season a year earlier. The one- two punch of McGinnity and Mathewson made it easy to play small ball, something very common in both leagues at that time.
The Boston Americans, managed by future HOF Jimmy Collins, won the first ever World Series a year earlier. In spite of the World Series Championship, things were not as easy in 1904 for the Americans as were for the Giants. Boston went 95-59, finishing just three games ahead of the New York Highlanders, who were led by manager and pitcher Clark Griffith. Buck Freeman, fresh off some tremendous seasons since joining Boston in 1901 (1901- .339, 12, 114) (1902- .309, 11, 121) (1903- .287, 13, 104), was still one of their top players, along with Collins, who was their starting 3B. Freeman (.280, 7, 94) and Collins (.271, 3, 17, 13 3Bs) paced the Boston offense, which of course did not include a lot of home run power, something very common in the dead ball era.
The Americans were paced by the shortest group of pitchers, possibly in the history of the game. Cy Young (26-16, 1.97, 43 games, 41 starts) led the pitching staff, which only included a total of 5 pitchers. Bill Dinneen (23-14, 2.20, 37 games started) and Jesse Tannehill (21-11, 2.04, 33 games, 31 starts) provided Young with some depth. Norwood Gibson (17-14, 2.21, 33 games, 32 starts) and George Winter (8-4, 2.32, 20 games, 16 starts). As a whole, the Americans pitched to a 2.16 ERA.
The Giants themselves had essentially a 5 man pitching staff, though 4 others appeared in games for them. Their ERA as a team was 2.17. The Giants clearly had the advantage in regards to pitching as the combination of McGinnity and Mathewson gave them the edge over Young and Dinneen. Offensively, I think the Red Sox were a little bit deeper, though the Giants hit for a higher average as a team (.262-.247). On paper, it looked as if the Giants would be the team to beat if this were a World Series. I would have the Giants winning, likely 5-1 or 5-2 in the best of 9 if the games were played. Of course, it was the fault of the New York Giants, their owner John Brush and manager John McGraw for the reason why the "exhibition series"- as it was viewed by the Giants- was not played. Had the Giants won the World Series that season, they would now have 9 WS Championships instead of the 8 they have now. The same for the Americans, who of course, later became known as the Red Sox. Instead, both teams sit at 8 World Series wins. One of the teams should have 9.