Bubbles Hargrave

When Hargrave hit .353 in 1926, he became the first full-time catcher to lead his league in batting; only Ernie Lombardi ever matched the feat. It was the first time that decade that Rogers Hornsby, who slumped to .317 that year, didn’t win the crown. Hargrave had only 326 at-bats, but at the time the percentage title qualification was 100 games; Hargrave caught 93 games, but pinch-hitting appearances brought his total to 105 games. The primitive state of catchers’ protective gear made it fairly common for first-string catchers to play fewer than 100 games. It wasn’t until 1951 that the requirement was changed to 400 at-bats, but the statistical record book Total Baseball doesn ‘t list him as the league leader in 1926.

Hargrave hit .300 six straight years (1922-27). His best season was 1923, when he caught the most games of his career (109) and reached personal highs in HR (10), RBI (78), runs (54), and doubles (23) while batting .333. He had failed his first major league trial, hitting .207 in parts of three seasons with the Cubs. He was the Reds’ primary catcher in the years he was a .300 hitter, and in 1924 he led NL receivers in double plays. His last season was spent as a backup catcher for the Yankees. His younger brother was Pinky Hargrave.