Jack Doyle (baseball)

John Joseph Doyle (October 25, 1869 December 31, 1958) was an Irish born first baseman in Major League Baseball whose career spanned 17 seasons, mainly in the National League.[1] He was born in Killorglin, Ireland, and emigrated to the U.S. when he was a child, his family settling in Holyoke, Massachusetts.[2]

Jack Doyle
First baseman / Manager
Born: (1869-10-25)October 25, 1869
Killorglin, Ireland
Died: December 31, 1958(1958-12-31) (aged 89)
Holyoke, Massachusetts
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 20, 1889, for the Columbus Solons
Last MLB appearance
July 13, 1905, for the New York Highlanders
MLB statistics
Batting average.299
Home runs25
Runs batted in971
Stolen bases518
As player

As manager

Playing career

After attending Fordham University, he embarked on a baseball career that would last 70 years. He made his first appearance at the major league level by signing and playing two years for the Columbus Solons of the American Association. Doyle would play for ten clubs from 1889 to 1905, batting .299 in 1,569 games with 518 stolen bases. He began as a catcheroutfielder and became a first baseman in 1894. His best years were in 1894, when he batted .367 for the New York Giants, and in 1897, when he hit .354 with 62 stolen bases for the Baltimore Orioles.[1] He is credited with being the first pinch-hitter in pro ball, with Cleveland at Brooklyn on June 7, 1892. Patsy Tebeau was the manager and Doyle came through with a game-winning single.[2]

For the 1894 season, he took over the everyday duties at first base and became team captain.[3] Manager John Montgomery Ward not only made the decision to replace his former teammate and friend Roger Connor, but released him as well. Connor was a very popular player, and this decision drew the ire and scrutiny from the fans and media alike. Ward defended his decision and claimed the move came down to the fact that he liked Doyle's playing style, describing him as a hustler.[4] Replacing Connor at first base proved worth the risk, as Jack batted .367 that season, and he totaled 100 runs batted in and stole 42 bases.[1]

Dirty Jack

Because of his aggressive playing style, Doyle was known as "Dirty Jack", often feuding with umpires, fans, opposing players, and even, at times, his own teammates.[5] On one occasion, in Cincinnati on July 4, 1900, while in the 3rd inning of the second game of a doubleheader, Doyle slugged umpire Bob Emslie after being called out on a steal attempt. Fans jumped from the stands as the two got into it, and players finally separated the two fighters. Two policemen chased the fans back into the stands and then arrested and fined Doyle.[2] On July 1, 1901, when he was being harassed by a Polo Grounds fan, he jumped into the stands and hit him once with his left hand, reinjuring it after having broken it several weeks earlier.[6]

He carried on a lengthy feud with John McGraw that started when they were teammates at Baltimore. McGraw, of course, had to have the last word. In 1902, McGraw was appointed manager of the Giants, and his first act was to release Doyle, even though he was batting .301 and fielding .991 at the time. Even with these seemingly out-of-control traits, Doyle was deemed a natural leader and was selected as team captain in New York, Brooklyn and Chicago, and served as an interim manager for the Giants in 1895 and Washington Senators in 1898.[2]

Minor league success

In 1905, after playing one game with the New York Highlanders, Doyle became manager of Toledo of the Western Association. One year later, in 1906, he was named the manager of the Des Moines Champions, so named because they won the league championship the previous year, and they won it again under Doyle's helm. Following his championship season at Des Moines, he managed Milwaukee in 1907[5]

Other career capacities

In 1908–09, the only years of his adult life spent outside of baseball, he served as police commissioner of his hometown of Holyoke.[2] Doyle returned to the game as an umpire and worked in the National League for 42 games in 1911.[7] Later on he would join the Chicago Cubs as a scout in 1920. In his many years with the Cubs, Doyle was credited with signing or recommending the acquisition of such stars as Gabby Hartnett, Hack Wilson, Billy Herman, Stan Hack, Bill Jurges, Charlie Root, Bill Lee, Augie Galan, Riggs Stephenson and Phil Cavarretta.[5] He remained in that capacity until his death at age 89 on New Year's Eve 1958. He was buried at St. Jerome Cemetery in Holyoke.[7]


In the Irish Baseball League, the annual award for best slugger is named "The 'Dirty' Jack Doyle Silver Slugger Award. [8]

See also


  1. "Jack Doyle Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  2. "Jack Doyle Biography". SABR.org. Archived from the original on 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  3. "Doyle Signed by New York: Famous Baseball Player to Captain the Team and Play First Base—Pleased with the Club's Outlook" (PDF). The New York Times. February 27, 1902.
  4. A Clever Base-Ballist: The Life and Times of John Montgomery Ward, pg. 352, by Bryan Di Salvatore
  5. "Top 100 Teams". minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  6. "Jack Doyle". Baseballbiography.com. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  7. "Jack Doyle". Retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  8. "Baseball Ireland Award Winners". baseballireland.com. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
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