While he may have deserved it for his prowess afield, Joe Dugan earned his nickname for being AWOL from his first big league club as a youngster.
The tall, rangy infielder went directly from the campus of Holy Cross to the Athletics in 1917. A shortstop in his first three seasons, Dugan became one of the finest all-around third basemen of his era. After batting .194 and .195 in his first two seasons he found his stroke and developed into a timely hitter, reaching a high of .322 in 1920.
Best known for his six and one half years with the Yankees, Dugan was a key member of five pennant winners including the fabled 1927 World Champion “Murderer’s Row.”
Dugan’s controversial trade from the Red Sox to the Yankees in late July 1922, during a heated pennant race, caused an uproar which helped to bring about a June 15 trading deadline the following year.