Not Rabbit Maranville.
Today is the birthday of The Authentic Rabbitt, Joe Rabbitt, born on 16 January in 1900. A Tuesday, for those who are keeping track of these things.
Joe appeared in just two games in his major league career, what’s known as “a cup of coffee.” According to Wikipedia (do I ever cite anything else) Joe was one of a group of players, young prospects all, that Manager Tris Speaker sent into the game on 21 September 1922. “An opportunity for the fans to see various minor league prospects.”
As Joe appeared in only two games, he apparently did not quite live up to his “prospect” status. Sad to say.
Joe played in two games, with three at bats, a run and a hit. Lifetime batting average: .333. Not bad.
You might think, oh, Joe Rabbitt, two games, three at bats, not a very good player. Well I found some old statistics from the 1927 Western League that show that Joe Rabbitt could play some ball.
Joe Rabbitt led the league in hits, runs and stolen bases. He tended the garden and averaged .361 in 155 games…In 1928 and 29 he led the International League in stolen bases with 42 and 46 while playing for Toronto.
Apparently Joe lived up to his name. He had some speed going there. Joe racked up 251 hits for the ’27 Omaha Buffaloes, and 172 runs, according to Nebraska Minor League Baseball History.
Joe died in 1969; I haven’t seen anything yet about his life outside of baseball. But here’s to Joe Rabbitt, major league ball player, a kid with some speed and talent. Why he didn’t make it in the big leagues is probably a story. The kid had all the tools, but perhaps life took an unexpected turn for him. Perhaps he hated Cleveland, or perhaps he fell in love with a gal down there in Arkansas. Perhaps he couldn’t hit the curve, or maybe he had to attend to family matters and the game just passed him by. It’s likely we’ll never know. I wonder if he looked back at his .333 lifetime batting average and was glad that he made it up to the majors for a couple games, a hit and a run. Or was he sad that he only had those two games, those three at bats.
Happy birthday Joe Rabbitt. Good game.