Introducing… Joe Dugan

Jumping Joe Dugan was the starting third baseman for the Babe Ruth led Yankees of the 1920s.  The Holy Cross product was a serviceable batter and above average defender who led third basemen in fielding percentage in two separate seasons.  Because he was on the same roster as the Great Bambino, Jumping Joe took part in five World Series and won three of them.  Like a number of the Yankees stars of the time, Dugan was acquired via the Red Sox who had a penchant for giving their top talent to New York after World War I.

Originally a Connie Mack find, Dugan made his Major League debut with the Athletics in 1917.  This was still considered the Deadball Era and Dugan failed to hit .200 in his first two seasons in the Majors.  In the infamous 1919 season, Joe raised his batting average up to .271 before he broke out in 1920.  The Deadball Era came to a sudden close in 1920 thanks to a new, tighter wound baseball and the outlaw of several pitches, to include the spitball, and the result was a spike in batting across the board.  Jumping Joe hit a mighty .322 and set a personal high with 40 doubles that season. 

Never much of a power threat, Dugan hit a career high ten homeruns in 1921 for the lowly Athletics.  Connie Mack’s dynasty of Plank, Bender, Collins and Baker was a thing of the past and his teams of the late 1910s and early 1920s were American League doormats.  Before the 1922 season began Mr. Mack used Jumping Joe as bait to acquire solid-hitting outfielder Bing Miller from the Senators.  The trade worked well for both sides although Dugan never played a game for Washington.  He was promptly sent to the Red Sox for future MVP Roger Peckinpaugh.  Boston, however, held onto Jumping Joe for just half a season before trading him to the Yankees for a bunch of spare pieces and $50,000 for non-baseball related purposes.  Dugan became a star in pinstripes.

In his first full year with the Yankees, Joe set personal highs in both runs scored and RBI.  He crossed the plate 111 times (7th in the AL) for the pennant capturing Yankees and paced American League third basemen in fielding percentage.  His Yankees took on the Giants of John McGraw in the World Series and bested them as Dugan hit .280 with five Fall Classic RBI.  In 1924 Jumping Joe posted his second straight season of 100+ runs scored, working as a table setter for sluggers Ruth and Bob Meusel.  Gehrig would join the Yankees that season and give the Bronx Bombers another amazing run producer.

Dugan again paced third basemen in fielding percentage in 1925 and in ’26 he would make his third World Series appearance.  During the 1926 regular season he plated 64 runs and in the Fall Classic Jumping Joe hit .333 but in a losing cause.  However, he would be a member of World Champion teams the next two seasons as the Yankees won the World Series in both 1927 and ’28.  His playing time began to slip in 1928 and the Yankees waived him after the season.  The Braves plucked him off the waiver wire and he spent a season with Boston before playing his final game with the 1931 Tigers.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,447/R 665/H 1,516/2B 277/3B 46/HR 42/RBI 571/SB 37/BB 250/SO 419/BA .280/OBP .317/SA .372

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