- 2B, 3B, OF, SS, 1B
- January 10, 1888
- 5' 11"
- 175 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-11-1912 with SLA
Like most players who performed well for the St. Louis Browns, Del Pratt remains relatively anonymous except to the most ardent baseball historians. Yet, from 1912 to his final season in 1924, he was one of the finest second baseman in the American League. In 1916, he led the American League in RBI, and he batted better than .300 six times, including his final five seasons
He was born Derrill Burnham Pratt in South Carolina. He played baseball for the University of Alabama from 1907 to 1909. After two minor league seasons he was purchased by the St. Louis Browns, where he played regularly at second base for the next six years. In his first five seasons (1912-1916), he averaged 31 doubles, 13 triples, 31 steals, 80 RBI, 169 hits, and played more games than any other man in the American League. Over that stretch his 846 hits ranked 5th in the league, directly behind his chief competition at second base – Eddie Collins. Never as great a hitter or base stealer as Collins, Pratt did lead the AL in putouts five times at second base.
When Pratt took part in a lawsuit against Browns owner Phil Ball (Ball insinuated that Pratt and shortstop Doc Lavan had thrown games), his days in St. Louis were numbered. He was traded to the Yankees in the Urban Shocker deal, and played three seasons with New York. But soon he was involved in more front office wrangling (this time over third-place money) and was shipped to the Red Sox. With Boston in 1921 he posted a career-best .324 average and plated 102 teammates. The trade proved a good one for New York, as they received catcher Wally Schang and pitcher Waite Hoyt from the BoSox.
Ty Cobb, always an admirer, helped bring Pratt to Detroit for the 1923 and 1924 seasons, where he again batted over .300. In his final season he drove in 77 runs in just 121 games. In 1925 he moved on to be the player/manager of the Waco, Texas League team, staying through the 1930 season. He managed Galveston and Fort Worth in the same league until his retirement following the 1934 schedule.
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