Yankee rookie manager Miller Huggins
was strongly criticized in the New York press
when he sent Urban Shocker
to the Browns in a trade for six-year second baseman Del
Pratt in 1918. But Huggins, a former second baseman himself, knew a good second baseman
when he saw one, and the hard-nosed, hard-hitting Pratt was the AL's best after Eddie
Collins. A former All-American back at Alabama, for three years he plugged a hole
in the Yankee infield that eight players had failed to in the previous decade. He
was traded to the Red Sox in late 1920.
Pratt averaged 141 games a season, had
good range, and led the league five times in total chances per game. He hit over
.300 each of his last five seasons. Of his nearly 2,000 career hits, a quarter were
doubles and triples. With the Browns in 1916, he led the AL with 103 RBI. He argued
with his managers and even sued Browns owner Phil Ball for slander when Ball charged
his team with easing up on an opponent. Pratt won an out-of-court settlement.