Ralph Orlando Seybold
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 175 lb.
- Debut August 20, 1899
- Final Game October 7, 1908
- Born November 23, 1870 in Washingtonville, OH USA
- Died December 21, 1921 in Greensburg, PA USA
In 1899 Socks Seybold started his professional baseball career with the Richmond Bluebirds of the Atlantic League. Richmond won the league title by 13 games with a 63-25 .716 record under manager Jake Wells. "Socks" smacked 11 home runs, a big count in those days, to lead the league and play a big part in helping his team to the league title.
Seybold's performance got him called up by the National League's Cincinnati Reds for the tail end of the 1899 season and he got in 22 games, getting 19 hits in 85 at-bats.
1900 found "Socks" with the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the still minor league American League where he busted a total of 9 homers, tying him with Perry Werden of the Minneapolis Millers for the league home run crown. The Hoosiers finished third for the year, 11 games behind the Chicago White Stockings
Seybold hooked up with Connie Mack and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901, the AL's first season as a major league, and would stay with them through the 1908 season. During his tenure with the A's Seybold hit over .300 three times, had over 90 RBI three times and was consistently among the leaders in homers. He has the distinction of getting the first base hit in Athletics history, on April 24th. He was second in RBI in 1907 and fourth in 1902. In 1902 he led the AL in home runs with 16; a total that was to stand as an American League record until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Seybold led the league in doubles in 1903 with 45. In 1901, he put together a 27-game hitting streak. In 1905, he batted .316 with 97 RBI. The Athletics won the pennant that year and in only the second World Series to be played, they lost to the New York Giants of the National League in five games.
Injuries put an end to Seybold's Major League career in 1908 and he played his last big league game in July of that year. He was sent by Connie Mack in August to scout a young kid named Joe Jackson, and Seybold was impressed with both Jackson's swing and his arm.
Seybold tried to play with the Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association in the 1909 season, playing partially in 43 games and wound up taking the manager's role for the remainder of the season.
Out of baseball in 1910 and 1911, he tried a comeback with the United States League, an independent affair, in 1912, but played in only 26 games. Amazingly, in this short time, he managed to tack on 5 more home runs to run his lifetime total to 51, a good count in those times. He is also remembered for an unusual incident, when he became stuck while trying to recover a ball that had rolled into a doghouse, used a storage shed, that was actually in play in the outfield at Boundary Field, the early home of the Washington Senators. It took some time to pull him out, by which time the batter had had plenty of time to circle the bases with an inside-the-park homer.
The 1912 season was to be his last effort in organized baseball. Life dealt him a cruel blow when he was killed in an automobile accident, 4 days before Christmas in 1921, at age 51.
- AL Doubles Leader (1903)
- AL Home Runs Leader (1902)
SABR Data Base
Articles from Frank Russo and Gene Racz Book.
- ↑ David M. Jordan. The Athletics of Philadelphia:Connie Macks' White Elephants, 1901-1954.p. 19.
- Matt Monagan: "The time a fielder got stuck in a doghouse: The first, and only, inside-the-doghouse home run", mlb.com, January 9, 2022. 
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