Yankee rookie manager Miller Huggins was strongly criticized in the New York press when he sent Urban Shocker to the Browns in a trade for six-year second baseman Del Pratt in 1918. But Huggins, a former second baseman himself, knew a good second baseman when he saw one, and the hard-nosed, hard-hitting Pratt was the AL’s best after Eddie Collins. A former All-American back at Alabama, for three years he plugged a hole in the Yankee infield that eight players had failed to in the previous decade. He was traded to the Red Sox in late 1920.
Pratt averaged 141 games a season, had good range, and led the league five times in total chances per game. He hit over .300 each of his last five seasons. Of his nearly 2,000 career hits, a quarter were doubles and triples. With the Browns in 1916, he led the AL with 103 RBI. He argued with his managers and even sued Browns owner Phil Ball for slander when Ball charged his team with easing up on an opponent. Pratt won an out-of-court settlement.