Jack Tobin

  • Card series: Jim Dandie Feds
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Terriers
  • League: Federal League

John Thomas Tobin (1892-1969) built a fine major league career in the outfield for four teams, primarily in his hometown of St. Louis with the Federal League’s Terriers in that organization’s two years competing with the AL and NL, 1914-15; then staying on with the Browns for nine campaigns. “Johnny” did himself proud with the Browns, compiling a .318 average. Over his tenure in the big leagues, his average was an excellent .309. Tobin’s introduction to the big leagues came via his play for his employer, Bell Telephone. He was literally recruited by the Terriers from atop a pole. He quickly established himself in St. Louis as a popular guy, both with fans and writers. Johnny led his team of MLB castoffs from last in ’14 to within an eyelash of the Federal League pennant in ’15, earning him a spot on the Browns. Business Manager Branch Rickey thought Tobin needed some seasoning and shipped him to the Salt Lake City Bees for most of 1917, a move that bore the mark of Rickey’s genius as Tobin tore up the Coast League, leading the circuit with 265 hits. He would go on to earn the plaudits of no less than teammate George Sisler who termed him “One of the best leadoff men I ever saw” and “the best drag-bunter anyone ever saw.” The crafty speedster began piling up great seasons in St. Louis. He hit .322 in ’22 when the club fell just shy of the Yankees, the only team they couldn’t beat. Eventually Tobin’s speed faded a bit and he was traded to the Senators in 1926 where he played very little before moving on that season to the Red Sox. His finale in ’27 was a fitting resurgence by a great hitter as Tobin hit .310 in 111 games.

  • Walter Johnson was another fan: “Tobin is a batter of the old school, not unlike Willie Keeler in many respects. I am glad there are not more like him.”
  • Johnny became a fixture in his hometown’s baseball circles, coaching youth and semi-pro leagues. In 1958 the Baseball Writers Association of America named him to the St. Louis “All-Time All-Star” squad along with such luminaries as Musial, Sisler, Frisch, Hornsby and Dizzy Dean

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