Jean Joseph Octave Dubuc
Born: September 15, 1888 - St. Johnsbury, VT
Died: August 28, 1958 - Fort Myers, FL
MLB Pitching Record: 85–76
Cincinnati Reds NL (1908–1909)
Detroit Tigers AL (1912–1916)
Boston Red Sox AL (1918)
New York Giants NL (1919)
The French-speaking Jean “Chauncey” Dubuc first pitched at the Seminary of St. Theresa in Montreal, where he was studying to become a priest. Realizing that he was not cut out for the cloth, Dubuc returned home to Vermont and played for St. Michaels College before transferring to Notre Dame University in Indiana. There Dubuc excelled as pitcher for an outstanding Notre Dame team. The following year he got caught pitching for a semi-pro team and lost his amateur status, ending his days as a college hurler. Immediately catching the eye of the Cincinnati Reds, Dubuc signed in 1908 but was released after two seasons because he needed to hone his skills.
He returned to Montreal, where he played for two years with the Royals, while also starting a successful bowling alley and pool hall business. After a 21-win season in 1911, Dubuc was claimed by Detroit where he had five very good seasons, winning 71 games for the Tigers over that span. Playing alongside the likes of Ty Cobb, Dubuc developed his “slow pitch” and became successful using this variation of the change-up. After working in the minors again in 1917, Dubuc signed with the Red Sox and appeared in the 1918 World Series. John McGraw then signed him to play the 1919 season for the Giants.
Things got a little murky from that point. Evidently, Dubuc was still friendly with former teammate and notorious gambler “Sleepy” Bill Burns. During the Black Sox trial it was noted that Burns gave Dubuc a tip to bet on the Reds because the Series was fixed. Before Judge Landis could hand out banishments, Dubuc quit the MLB and returned to Canada, staying out of the spotlight. He resurfaced in 1922 to play and manage in the minors for several years.
Whether he really knew anything about the fix is still in question. We do know that Dubuc went on to become a very well-respected coach for Brown University. He also scouted for the Tigers and is credited with signing future Hall of Famers Birdie Tebbetts and Hank Greenberg. By 1937, Dubuc left sports to go into sales, and later retired to Florida. “Chauncey” Dubuc was one interesting character.
– 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