Walter James Vincent “Rabbit” Maranville
Born: November 11, 1891 - Springfield, MA
Died: January 5, 1954 - New York, NY
Career BA: .258
Managerial Record: 23–30
Boston Braves NL (1912–1920, 1929–1933, 1935)
Pittsburgh Pirates NL (1921–1924)
Chicago Cubs NL (player-manager: 1925)
Brooklyn Robins NL (1926)
St. Louis Cardinals NL (1927–1928)
The Hall of Fame career of Walter James Vincent “Rabbit” Maranville is not merely about statistics. His career batting average was an ordinary .258 and he slugged just .340. He slammed a scant 28 career home runs and hit over .300 just once. What Maranville did do, at a tireless pace, was show up to the ballpark every day and drive opponents crazy. He consistently approached or surpassed 150 games and led the league in plate appearances (746) and at-bats (672) with the Pirates in 1922. In two World Series, 1914 with the victorious Braves and 1928 with the losing Cardinals, Maranville batted .308.
Now, about that nickname. If you check out any photo of Maranville, you would probably jump, or in this case, hop to the conclusion that the name Rabbit came from his rather large ears. Maranville related that the moniker actually came from a family friend describing his penchant for bounding and jumping about. With 2,605 career hits, Maranville was more than a diamond version of Peter Cottontail. In 1913, in his first game as the starting shortstop for the Braves, Maranville had three hits against Giants legend Christy Mathewson. Clutch hits were his specialty in leading Boston to a world title in 1914. For part of 1925, Maranville served as player-manager for the Cubs, posting a record of 23–30. In 1929, he returned to the Braves after an eight-year absence and, in 1929 and 1930, posted two of his best career batting averages, .284 and .281. He also continued to show up and drive opponents crazy, playing in over 140 games and registering close to or more than 600 plate appearances between 1929 and 1933.
Known for his battling style with umpires and opponents alike, Maranville retired after the 1935 season and managed in the minors through 1941. He taught the game to youngsters as director of baseball clinics sponsored by the New York Journal-American newspaper. Maranville died at the age of 62 in 1954, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame later that year. This Rabbit surely enjoyed a 24-“carrot” gold career.
– 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