But it must be remembered that Luderus had a significant handicap, playing his entire career during baseball’s “dead ball era” in the early 20th century. During these years, the balls themselves were actually softer, and were often used nearly until the laces fell off.
Another factor during this period working against hitters like Luderus was that pitchers could “doctor” the ball. The spitball, for instance, was legal during the entirety of his career, not outlawed until 1921, a year after he retired.
Unlike today when a number of modern ballparks have generous hitting dimensions, in those days many ballparks were nightmares for hitters with 500+ foot deep fences. Even the rules were against homerun hitters. Prior to Luderus’ last season of 1920, balls hit over the fence in fair territory, but landing in foul, were ruled foul balls.
Because of these factors, Luderus’ home run totals are dwarfed by Howard and Burrell, and his rbi totals significantly behind theirs. But he actually has more doubles than Howard, and his total is just 4 behind Burrell’s on the Phillies list.
Luderus’ career batting average of .270 is better than both players, and his 55 career Phillies stolen bases dwarfs their career Phillies totals combined.
In fact, a reasonable look at the regular starting 1st basemen during the 1910’s shows that only, who played for the National League’s Brooklyn Spiders during the majority of the decade, was more productive at the position in that decade than Luderus was for the Phillies.
“the modest Ludy became known for his dependability after his home-run hitting dropped off. From 1916 to 1919 he played in 533 consecutive games, considered “the greatest streak of continuous play by a modern major leaguer.””