Born in Wales, Austin was one of the best third basemen of his day. In his twelve seasons as a regular, he led the AL five times in total chances per game, four times in double plays, twice each in putouts and assists, and once in fielding average. An inconsistent hitter, he compensated by drawing walks and stealing bases, pilfering 244 lifetime with a high of 37. The switch-hitting chatterbox is most famous for a photo of him at third base, attempting to avoid the flying spikes of Ty Cobb. He signed with Pittsburgh of the Federal League but never reported, as the Browns matched the contract.
Austin was the first of Branch Rickey’s “Sunday Managers” with the Browns (Rickey would not enter a ballpark on a Sunday due to an early promise to his mother). Austin had three short stints as the Browns’ interim manager. The last four years of his playing career each consisted of just one game, including his sole appearance behind the plate. He coached with the Browns until 1932, when he joined the White Sox for seven years.