January 10 – Happy Birthday Del Pratt

Back in the second decade of the last century, Eddie Collins was considered to be the best second baseman in the American League and today’s birthday celebrant was thought to be the junior circuit’s second best second sacker. For most of that decade, Del Pratt played for the lowly St. Louis Browns. I say lowly because during Pratt’s six years with the team, the Browns’ cumulative record was 380-542 and their highest finish in the standings was fifth place. Things got so bad for the franchise that the suspicious Browns’ owner, who’s last name happened to be “Ball,” accused several of the team’s players of purposely playing poorly so that they’d be traded to a more successful franchise. Pratt reacted angrily to the accusation and actually sued the owner for slander. While his case was still in the courts, Pratt was ironically traded to the Yankees, which sort of indicated that the best way to get traded was not to lay down on the job but instead, to sue your boss.

In any event, Pratt spent three very productive years patrolling the middle of the Yankee infield. He averaged .295 in pinstripes and drove in 97 runs in 1920, his first and only season as a teammate of the great Babe Ruth. Just before Christmas of that same year, the Yankees dealt Pratt to the Red Sox in a deal that brought Waite Hoyt to New York. After two seasons in Boston and two more in Detroit, Pratt retired with 1,996 career hits and a .292 lifetime batting average. He was born in Walhalla, SC, in 1888. He shares his January 10th birthday with this former Yankee starting pitcher and this one-time Yankee outfielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1918 NYY 126 540 477 65 131 19 7 2 55 12 35 26 .275 .327 .356 .683
1919 NYY 140 581 527 69 154 27 7 4 56 22 36 24 .292 .342 .393 .735
1920 NYY 154 654 574 84 180 37 8 4 97 12 50 24 .314 .372 .427 .798
13 Yrs 1836 7613 6826 856 1996 392 117 43 968 247 513 428 .292 .345 .403 .748
SLB (6 yrs) 905 3763 3394 386 957 179 72 21 455 174 239 305 .282 .332 .396 .728
NYY (3 yrs) 420 1775 1578 218 465 83 22 10 208 46 121 74 .295 .348 .394 .743
BOS (2 yrs) 289 1248 1128 153 352 80 17 11 188 15 97 30 .312 .369 .442 .811
DET (2 yrs) 222 827 726 99 222 50 6 1 117 12 56 19 .306 .362 .395 .757
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/10/2014.

2 Comments

Born in 1988 and played in 1920? Now that’s talent!

Thanks for pointing that out Joe.

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