Richard Carleton “Dick” Hoblitzell
Born: October 26, 1888 - Waverly, WV
Died: November 14, 1962 - Parkersburg, WV
Career BA: .278
Cincinnati Reds NL (October 26, 1888 - November 14, 1962)
Boston Red Sox AL (1914–1918)
Dick Hoblitzell was born in Waverly, West Virginia, in 1888, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. He carried the blue-collar work ethic of these regions to the baseball field in his 11 Major League seasons. A left-handed-hitting first baseman, Hoblitzell began his career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1908 and quickly became a staple in the Cincy lineup. Known as “Hobby,” he logged a league-leading 611 and 622 at-bats in 1910 and 1911, respectively. Hoblitzell also led the National League in games played in 1911 with 158. Respected by teammates for his intelligence, Hoblitzell was consistently productive in the Queen City between 1908 and 1913. In that time span, he hit .284 with 383 RBI and averaged just over 20 doubles per season.
In 1914, Hoblitzell was nearly traded to the Yankees, but instead, was claimed by the Red Sox off the waiver wire for a reported $1,500. While his Cincinnati teams were predominantly mediocre, Hoblitzell would become a key contributor to Boston’s early 1900s dynasty. He batted .319 over the latter portion of the 1914 season for the second place Red Sox, smacking 73 hits in 69 games. Amazingly, Hoblitzell managed to show up on time for 468 games for Boston between 1914 and 1918 despite rooming on road trips with the notorious man about town Babe Ruth. In truth, Hoblitzell was the anti-Ruth, a humble and reliable teammate reflective of his simple upbringing.
By 1915, Hoblitzell had become the starting first baseman for the Red Sox. Moreover, he was a postseason stalwart, batting .313 in the 1915 World Series won by Boston in five games over the Philadelphia Phillies. In the 1916 Series, Hoblitzell walked the walk, literally, with a .435 on base percentage, buoyed by six base on balls. The Red Sox again won the crown, this time beating the Brooklyn Robins (formerly, and again later, the Dodgers) in five games. In 1918, Hoblitzell slumped and was unseated at first base by his old pal Ruth. That spring, at the age of 29, he left the Red Sox and his big-league career for good to enlist in the U.S. Army Dental Corps. He would eventually sink his teeth into a career as a sportswriter, radio personality and community activist in West Virginia. On the field and off, we applaud Dick Hoblitzell’s consistency as a player, leader, and teammate.
– 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