Bad To The Bone

Charlie Ebbets

      Ebbets had a deserved reputation for honesty and was popular in Brooklyn.  He does however deserve a place among baseball cheap skates, if only for one incident.  World War I and competition from the Federal League raised salary levels in baseball.  In 1916 Ebbets  guaranteed his 1916 Dodger pennant winners with better salaries.  Among the players he rewarded with better pay were Jake Daubert, Zack Wheat and Nap Rucker.  

     Daubert was modest, polite, and well loved around baseball.  He also was one of the best hitters and first basemen in baseball.  He also was very adamant about money. Daubert had gone from $5,000 to $9,000 a year in salary.  When the major leagues shortened the 1918 season and tried to prorate salaries, Daubert sued Ebbets for the unpaid balance ($2,150) and got most of it in a settlement.

     Furious at this, Ebbets at first sniped at Daubert in the press and called him an ingrate.  Many people who had known Ebbets for years were not that surprised at what was happening with Daubert.  Ebbets had started off his career as a money counter with the Dodgers, and was known to drive a hard bargain with his players at contract time.  But everyone was surprised when Ebbets took a complete fit and traded Daubert to Cincinnati before the start of the 1919 season. 

     Daubert helped lead the Reds to a pennant and a World Championship over the Black Sox.  Ebbets, after seeing his Robins win one more pennant in 1920, died from heart disease in 1925.