Jake Daubert

In his day, Daubert was the National League‘s best all-around first baseman. The lefthander was a two-time NL batting champion and steady .300 batter for ten years of the dead ball era. He escaped the Pennsylvania coal mines and the minor leagues in 1910, taking over first base for Brooklyn at age 26. He was a model of consistency, fielding within a .989-.994 range for 15 years, and was mobile enough to average 10.5 chances per game and take part in 1199 double plays. A chop hitter, he twice led the league in triples and had 165 lifetime. He also had a NL record 392 sacrifices, 4 in one 1914 game for another record.

Daubert was modest, polite, and colorless, though a tiger about money. WWI and competition with the Federal League raised salary levels generally, and Daubert’s went from $5,000 to $9,000. Charles Ebbets probably guaranteed his 1916 Dodger pennant by extending Daubert’s $9,000 another four years (and treating Zack Wheat and Nap Rucker liberally as well).

When the major leagues shortened the 1918 season and tried to prorate salaries, Daubert sued Ebbets for the unpaid balance ($2,150) and got most of it in a settlement. Furious at this, Ebbets traded him to Cincinnati in 1919 for the less-talented Tommy Griffith. Daubert helped lead the Reds to a pennant and a tarnished World Championship in the Black Sox WS.

Daubert benefited from the change to the lively ball. In 1922, at age 38, he had 205 hits for a .336 average, scored 114 runs, and hit 12 HR. Late in the 1924 season he became ill, and a month later died from complications after an appendectomy.