James Philip “Jimmy” Austin (1879-1965) is most widely remembered as the third baseman attempting to dodge the upturned cleats of Ty Cobb as he slid into third in the world famous 1909 Charles Conlon photograph. However, he was more than just an historic image on a piece of photo paper, as he was one of three Welsh-born players to reach the Major Leagues and he was the one of the oldest players, at 49 in 1929, to play a position in a Major League game. Jimmy began his career with the New York Highlanders for two seasons (1909-1910) before being traded to the St. Louis Browns where he would enjoyed a 21-year playing (1911-1923, 1925-1926, 1919) and coaching career that ended in 1932. He played 18 years in the Majors at third and shortstop with his best year coming in 1912 when he batted .252 with 135 hits, 28 stolen bases and 44 RBI. He was a stable infielder with a head for the game and was frequently called upon to serve as player manager, especially when Branch Rickey (who promised his mother he would not work on the Christian Sabbath) called on him as his “Sunday Manager.” Over the course of his career, he posted a .933 fielding percentage with 3,239 assists and 258 double plays. Offensively, Jimmy Austin collected 1,328 hits, 661 runs, 244 stolen bases and 390 runs batted in while batting .246 for his career. During his short stints as manager and Rickey’s Sunday replacement, he also compiled a 31-44 record in 75 games. Following his playing days, Austin coached for the Browns until 1932 when he joined the Chicago White Sox as a coach.
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