Babe Dahlgren

Babe Dahlgren

Babe Dahlgren

1B, 3B, C, SS
June 15, 1912
190 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-16-1935 with BOS

Dahlgren was the Red Sox' first baseman as a rookie in 1935, but was displaced in 1936 when Boston acquired Jimmie Foxx. He dropped to the minors, and in 1937 played third base for the championship Newark (International League) club. On May 2, 1939, he played first base for the Yankees in place of the ailing Lou Gehrig, whose consecutive-game string thus ended at 2,130. Dahlgren homered that day, and he remained the Yankee first baseman for two seasons. 


In 1941, a rumor was circulated in Major League baseball that Dahlgren smoked marijuana. After discovering the existence of the rumor in 1943, Dahlgren became the first Major League Baseball player to take a drug test for a non-performance enhancing drug. He did so voluntarily to discredit the rumors circulating at the time. The tests were all negative, refuting the charges of marijuana use. Dahlgren continued to play at the major league level until 1946, in a playing career which spanned 18 years, including all or part of twelve seasons in the majors. Dahlgren spent decades trying to uncover the source of the rumor.

A hypothesis as to who the perpetrator of the rumor was has been recently brought forth by his grandson, Matt Dahlgren, in his self published book, Rumor in Town.

Also notable during this period, the Browns returned Dahlgren to the Cubs for a contract dispute once it was learned that he had become eligible for the draft in May 1942. He was sold to the Dodgers soon after. In August 1942 he sought voluntary retirement. In early 1943, Dahlgren was notified by the draft board to report for his physical, which occurred in mid-May of that year. After passing his physical, Dahlgren was to be inducted into the military in July 1943. In July 1943, he played on the National League All-star team. In October 1943, Dahlgren was rejected for military service.


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