A Dozen Things You Should Know About Rabbit Maranville

Rabbit Maranville

Rabbit Maranville

1. Walter James Vincent Maranville was born in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts (home to the basketball Hall of Fame).

2. He worked as a pipe fitter and played semi-pro ball before signing with New Bedford of the New England League in 1911. He got his nickname there in 1912 because people thought he hopped around like a rabbit while playing short.

3. He was signed by the Boston Braves in late 1912 and made 11 errors in 26 games while hitting .206.

4. By 1914 he was hitting clean up (until Possum Whitted showed up at mid-season). He hit .246 with four home runs and 28 stolen bases. He drove in 78 runs (a team and career high) and finished the season hitting seventh in the lineup. Boston won the 1914 World Series with Maranville hitting .308 with an OPS of .708. He finished second in the Chalmers Award (an early version of the MVP Award) voting in 1914.

5. During World War I he served as a gunner on the battleship USS Pennsylvania.

6. In 1921 he was traded to Pittsburgh, where he played through 1924, finished seventh in MVP voting in ’24. He was promptly traded to Chicago.

7. He was with St. Louis when they made the 1928 World Series. He hit .240 in the regular season, but .308 in the World Series. The Cardinals were swept.

8. He went back to Boston in 1929, remaining there through 1933.

9. In spring training 1934 he broke his foot sliding into home. He was out all of the ’34 season, then failed in a 1935 comeback (He hit .149 in 23 games).

10. In retirement, he managed a little, then caught on as director of a sandbox baseball school for one of the New York City newspapers. Among the players he taught was Whitey Ford.

11. He died in January 1954 and was elected to the Hall of Fame shortly afterward. Many people still contend it was a sympathy and tribute vote.

12. For his career Maranville has a triple slash line of .258/.318/.340/.658 with an OPS+ of 82.  His OPS+ peaks at 114 in 1919 (in a season in which he plays more than 11 games). His Baseball Reference.com offensive WAR is 29.5 and his defensive WAR is 30.7.  He was considered a superior shortstop in his era and did extraordinarily well in MVP voting for a guy who never hit above .284 in years when an MVP was awarded.

Maranville,s grave

Maranville’s grave

 

 

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3 Responses to “A Dozen Things You Should Know About Rabbit Maranville”

  1. wkkortas Says:

    From what you read about Maranville, one of his hobbies may have been getting arrested. The man was a character and then some.

  2. Triston Says:

    Maranville’s election in 1954 may have been due to sympathy, but based on his trends in the voting, it simply got him in a year or two sooner than he would have otherwise: 62% in 1953, and because of eligibilty rules that weren’t changed until 1964, he would have remained eligible until 1965.

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