Derrill Burnham “Del” Pratt
Born: January 10, 1888 - Walhalia, SC
Died: September 30, 1977 - Texas City, TX
Career BA: .292
St. Louis Browns AL (1912–1917)
New York Yankees AL (1918–1920)
Boston Red Sox AL (1921–1922)
Detroit Tigers AL (1923–1924)
In 13 big-league seasons, Del Pratt never got as much as a whiff of the postseason. He spent his first six years in that baseball purgatory known as the St. Louis Browns. Between 1912 and 1917, Pratt’s Brownies were perennial losers. Even the legendary Branch Rickey couldn’t help. Rickey managed the Browns from 1913 until 1915, but never climbed higher than fifth place.
Despite his team’s woes, Pratt broke into baseball with a bang. He led the American League in games played four of his first five years, and approached or surpassed 170 hits and 30 doubles in that same time frame. He also played in 360 consecutive games between 1914 and 1917. Pratt was often a victim of bad timing. He joined the Yankees in 1918, just before their domination of baseball would begin. He moved to the Red Sox in 1921, just after their domination of baseball had ended. Pratt’s final two teams may have been his best. The Tigers, managed by Ty Cobb, finished second and third, respectively, in 1923 and 1924. Pratt had a solid career batting average of .292 and led the American League in RBI with 103 in 1916.
Before turning to baseball, Pratt played football for the University of Alabama and was rumored to be a coaching candidate for the team on more than one occasion. His gridiron grit carried over to baseball in some notorious umpire brush ups, clubhouse arguments and manager battles. After his Major League career, Pratt managed in the Texas League for nine seasons. Del Pratt was elected into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1972 and was universally recognized as one of the top second sackers of his era.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html