Jack Doyle

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John Joseph Doyle
(Dirty Jack)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Dirty Jack Doyle played 17 years in the big leagues, compiling a .299 batting average, and had a long career in other baseball capacities, but is much remembered for frequently fighting with others. In spite of that, he was respected, and was often named captain or manager of teams.

Jack was one of many players born in Ireland, but he is the only one from Killorglin. He grew up mostly in the U.S. in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and was one of the early players to come from what became Fordham University. As of 2013, he is still the player with the second-most major league at-bats to come from Fordham, with only Frankie Frisch getting more.

Doyle was at Fordham in 1888-1889, and by August 1889 he had made his major league debut in the American Association at age 19. He came to the National League in 1891, and except for part of 1902 and one game in 1905 when he was in the American League, he would spend the rest of his major league career in the National League.

He spent parts of eight seasons with the New York Giants, but may be better known for the couple years he spent with the National League's Baltimore Orioles in 1896-97 with other scrappy infielders such as John McGraw and Hughie Jennings. Honus Wagner came up in 1897, and he told a story that went roughly along these lines:

"The 1890's were a tough time. I remember when we played the Baltimore Orioles. I hit a ball that should have been a home run, but when I got to first base, Dirty Jack Doyle tripped me. I got up, ran to second, and shortstop Hughie Jennings slugged me and knocked me cold. I managed to get up again, and ran to third, and there was John McGraw holding a gun, saying "You stop right here!"

Of course that story isn't true, but it certainly gives the flavor of what it was like to break in during the 1890s and play against the Orioles.

Doyle may have been a respected competitor, but he played for 10 teams in his major league career (counting the several times he was with the Giants as only one team). He started out primarily as a catcher, then played some infield and outfield, and ended up as a first baseman (at a time when first base was an important fielding position) for over 1,000 games. He was also credited with being the first pinch-hitter in pro ball on June 7, 1892. While playing for the Cleveland Spiders, he entered a game against the Brooklyn Grooms and hit game-winning single.

Doyle was an above-average hitter, but not usually among the league leaders. His most impressive years were probably 1894, when he hit .368, and 1897, when he hit .354. Of course, batting averages at the time were very high in general, so he wasn't close to the league lead in either year. He stole a lot of bases, and as of 2007 was # 31 on the all-time list with 518 stolen bases. His highest single-year total was in 1896, when he stole 73 to finish fifth in the league.

After playing one game with the New York Highlanders in 1905, Doyle began his managing career. He was skipper of the 1906 Des Moines Champions who went 97-50, and managed the Milwaukee Brewers in 1907. In 1908 and 1909, he was away from baseball, serving as police commissioner of his hometown of Holyoke. He then returned to the diamond as a National League umpire for one season in 1911, working exclusively as a base umpire. He was fired in June for egregiously botching a call on May 30th, when he ruled that Jimmy Archer of the Chicago Cubs was out after Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates deliberately dropped a ball with a runner on first base in an attempt to get a cheap double play. He was dismissed for not knowing the rules, but the league couldn't have been pleased with the fact he had already rung up 11 ejections in just 42 games, a sign that he was perhaps too hot-tempered for the job. After that, he joined the Chicago Cubs as a scout in 1920, a position he held up until his death. While with the Cubs, Doyle was a better talent scout than umpire, as he is credited with signing or recommending Gabby Hartnett, Hack Wilson, Billy Herman, Stan Hack, Billy Jurges, Charley Root, Bill Lee, Augie Galan, Riggs Stephenson, and Phil Cavarretta.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1894 & 1896)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1896)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 2 (1896 & 1897)

Preceded by
George Davis
New York Giants Manager
Succeeded by
Harvey Watkins

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1895 New York Giants National League 32-31 -- New York Giants replaced George Davis (16-17) on June 5 /
replaced by Harvey Watkins on August 21
1898 Washington Senators National League 8-9 -- Washington Senators replaced Tom Brown (12-26) on June 6 /
replaced by Deacon McGuire on June 24
1906 Des Moines Champs Western League 97-50 1st none League Champs
1907 Milwaukee Brewers American Association 71-83 7th none

Related Sites[edit]