A longtime St. Louis Brown, Jack Tobin played with the lackluster franchise during their glory years of the 1920s. The Browns had the misfortune of coming to prominence when Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees, therefore they never made the World Series during Tobin’s tenure even though their offense was oftentimes better than the Yankees. The Browns lack of pitching kept them from dethroning the mighty Yankees of Ruth.
Jack got his first taste of Major League action in 1914. The Federal League was established as a third Major League that year and Tobin as the star hitter in the St. Louis Terriers lineup. He led the Federal League in base hits during the 1915 season but when Major League Baseball found out it couldn’t sustain three Major Leagues, the Federal League fell apart. On the open market, the Federal League’s hits leader signed on with the American League’s St. Louis entry: the Browns.
Jack struggled at first in the faster American League but found his footing in 1919. That year he hit a robust .327, kicking off a five-year streak of posting batting averages above .315. He proved that he could hit the old “deadball” with the best of them but took to the “lively” ball when it was introduced in 1920. The first year of a new decade was good to Jack, as he was the only AL right fielder to reach 200 base hits. The left-handed swinger finished as Babe Ruth’s runner-up in batting average among junior circuit right fielders with a .341 mark.
Tobin led the AL in triples in 1921 while finishing second in the league with 236 base hits. Jack also finished as the second pea in the pod in runs scored with 132 steps across home plate. His averages were quite flattering as well with a .352 batting average, .395 on-base percentage and .487 slugging average. Just as good in 1922, Jack was the only Major League right fielder to reach 200 hits and his 122 runs scored topped his American League position peers.
Never a brawny basher, Jack swatted 13 homeruns in 1922 and followed that up with an equal showing in 1923. During the ’23 season, Jack posted 637 at-bats but only struck out thirteen times during the season. The next year he fanned a dozen times in over 600 at-bats. He began to lose playing time in 1925 and was traded after the season to the Senators for Win Ballou and Tom Zachary. No longer able to slug in the .400s, Jack finished his career in 1927 with a solid .310 batting average and a 4-to-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
G 1,617/R 934/H 1,908/2B 297/3B 101/HR 64/RBI 581/BB 498/SO 172/SB 147/BA .309/SA .421