Ziggy Hasbrook (NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY)

Ziggy Hasbrook

This article was written by Darren Gibson

Ziggy Hasbrook (NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY)Bob “Ziggy” Hasbrook was the first athlete ever to be a member of both a World Series winner and a national basketball champion. The infielder’s big-league baseball career consisted of just 11 games, but two of those came with the 1917 Chicago White Sox, who included him on their postseason roster. In basketball, he was a key member of the squad from Muscatine, Iowa, that was recognized as U.S. champ from 1916 through 1918. Indeed, in those early years for the sport, some press accounts called them holders of the world’s title.1

Robert Lyndon Hasbrouck was born on November 21, 1893, in Grundy Center, Iowa. He was the last of the five children of Leander Pelton Hasbrouck, a carpenter and contractor born in Ohio to German parents, and Josephine Sarah Klein Hasbrouck, 12 years younger and born in Illinois. Leander was 50 years old at Robert’s birth. Robert’s siblings were brother Benjamin and sisters Mabel, Lulu, and Lela. Not much is known about Robert’s primary years in the cornfields of central Iowa except that by 1911, local newspaper reports spelled his last name as “Hasbrook.”

Young Robert, at 6-feet-1 and 180 pounds, was a local basketball phenom, securing All-State honors at Grundy Center High School. In one March 1911 game, he scored 18 of his team’s 20 points.2 The next season, captain Hasbrook, who “threw baskets in phenomenal form,” scored 26 points as Grundy Center defeated Wilton 40-37 to claim third place in the state high school tourney.3 Hasbrook was honored as “the most spectacular player in the state.”4

After high school, Ziggy starred in hoops for Evanston Academy, a preparatory school sponsored by Northwestern University.5 That was where he first acquired his moniker, a fairly common male nickname for boys whose families emigrated from Germany. He then pitched for the Evanston baseball squad, his “first real (base) ball competition of any note.”6 Before the end of the season, Hasbrook was signed by manager Frank Boyle of the Muscatine (Iowa) Wallopers of the Class D Central Association. Boyle and Muscatine allowed Hasbrook to finish his school term at Evanston.7

Curiously, immediately after the Evanston term ended, Hasbrook, who threw and batted righthanded, started playing outfield with the Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Indians of the Class C Wisconsin-Illinois League.8 For some reason, young Hasbrook, all of 19 years old at the time, thought it was acceptable to latch on for a spell with Oshkosh.9 Muscatine suspended Hasbrook, who ceased playing for Oshkosh but claimed he had simply “misunderstood his contract.”10 Upon his eventual arrival in the Iowa-Illinois border town, the tall Hasbrook immediately supplanted Oliver Kohr at first base.11 Hasbrook hit .246 in 82 games for Muscatine.

On April 15, 1915, Hasbrook pulled his first known professional double duty, manning first base in Muscatine’s exhibition victory over the Regina (Saskatchewan) Red Sox from the Class D Canadian League, then jumping center in a local charity basketball game later that evening.12 Hasbrook hit a paltry .202 in 128 games for Muscatine in 1914, but used his speed to steal 28 bases.

Back with the Muskies for a third year in 1915, he brought his average up to .249 over 124 games. The drama of the season was Hasbrook’s arrest for use of “profane language with women present” and Muscatine’s subsequent forfeit of an August game in Keokuk, Iowa.13 Manager Ned Egan “had to go down and get Hasbrook out of the calaboose after the game.”14 Hasbrook even played shortstop in the meaningless season-ending doubleheader against Mason City.15

In the fall of 1915, Hasbrook, referenced locally from his high school exploits as “the entire Grundy Center team,” signed with the Muscatine professional basketball team.16 Also, in October, he was sold by the Muscatine baseball squad to the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association.17

That winter, Hasbrook won the first of three consecutive national basketball titles for Muscatine, a semipro squad that faced both college and professional teams. His fellow star basketball teammate was Al Gould (also known as “Ab”), eventually a Cleveland Indians pitcher.

In the spring of 1916, Hasbrook was back in Muscatine for a fourth baseball season after the deal with Minneapolis fell through in February.18 He lifted his average to .271 in 120 games. He had started the season at his familiar first base position. In early July, however, after a surprising mop-up pitching performance, Hasbrook was moved to the rotation for a short while. A couple of weeks later, manager Egan reversed course, moving Hasbrook back to the infield, but now to full-time second baseman, mainly because Hasbrook didn’t show well as a pitcher.19

By month’s end, the local Muscatine Journal proclaimed “’Ziggy’ Hasbrook Will Have Chance in Majors,” as the “wonderful fielder” had been sold to Charles Comiskey and the Chicago White Sox, and set to report after the Muscatine season.20

In September 1916, after the Muskies won the league championship, Hasbrook arrived in Chicago, reporting to manager Pants Rowland.21 In his major-league debut, Hasbrook replaced starting first baseman Jack Fournier, who had been ejected in the first inning, and went 0-for-2 with a walk. The game report stated that “Hasbrook, who could not have hit the ball with a tennis racket, walked on four wide ones.”22 In Hasbrook’s last plate appearance of the day, he made an out against his old Muscatine basketball teammate Al Gould, pitching for the Indians.23 Still, the recruit created “a favorable impression” in Chicago’s 4-3 win over Cleveland.24

After three other brief appearances, the speedy Hasbrook scored the winning run as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the ninth on September 19 against the Philadelphia Athletics. Three more unremarkable outings followed before he collected his only major-league hit, a single. It was one of only two White Sox hits off the Cleveland Indians’ Fritz Coumbe in a 2-0 defeat in the first game of a season-ending doubleheader on October 1.

Hasbrook later participated in the annual after-season intercity series against the Cubs, “pulling down $450 as his share” of the city series receipts.25 Upon his return to Muscatine (which by then had become his hometown), infielder Hasbrook again “tried his hand on the mound.” In a surprise, he threw a one-hit shutout in a postseason exhibition over Cedar Rapids, 10-0.26 During the off-season he worked as a clerk at a clothing store while continuing to play hoops for the professional Muscatine basketball squad.27 In February 1917, with Hasbrook as captain, Muscatine won its second consecutive semipro national basketball championship with a 19-18 victory over Oswego (New York).28

In the run-up to the 1917 major-league baseball season, Hasbrook’s eligibility was called into question because he’d been playing basketball. Clause Nine of the American League player contract stated that “the player will not, either during the playing season or before the commencement of after the close thereof, participate in any exhibition baseball games, basketball or football unless the written consent of the club has first been given him.”29 Hasbrook, along with Al Gould, were indeed granted permission to participate in both of their sports.

In arriving at the White Sox 1917 spring training camp in Mineral Wells, Texas, Hasbrook made quite an impression.30 He was battling for the first base job with newly acquired Chick Gandil (Fournier had fallen out of favor in 1916). It was observed that Hasbrook “is a tall, slender, cheerful chap, always wearing a smile, although serious in his play.” Another reporter claimed to be “reminded of Hal Chase as he watches Hasbrook in action around that old first sack,” although acknowledging that the rookie’s bat was a little light.31

On April 16, Hasbrook was sent out to the Columbus (Ohio) Senators of the Class AA American Association.32 In early May, Columbus sent Hasbrook even further down the organizational ladder to the Fargo-Moorhead Graingrowers of the reorganized Class D Northern League. That club lent Hasbrook to a semipro team in Kennedy, Minnesota, where he struck out 12 batters in a victory in late May.33 Hasbrook returned to Columbus as a position player only in June. As of July 10, he was batting just .193, and ended the year barely above .200 (at .207) for the Sens. Playing for manager Joe Tinker, Hasbrook proved to be “a fine fielder, but a weak stick man.”34

Nonetheless, Hasbrook was recalled to the parent White Sox in mid-August. He was inserted by Rowland to pinch-run for ineffective starting pitcher Reb Russell on August 26 in just the second inning, after Russell had singled. Hasbrook later scored on a Joe Jackson single. Even though he didn’t play much “for the Hose, his resonant voice was heard in the coaching box much of the time in the closing weeks of the 1917 season.”35 He did replace Eddie Collins at second base in an exhibition on September 13 against a Wisconsin semipro all-star team.36 In his last official major-league game, Hasbrook replaced Collins at second base in a 6-1 White Sox victory over Washington on September 27.

Regardless, Hasbrook was added to the White Sox’s 24-man World Series roster, although he didn’t see action in Chicago’s triumph.37 His presence was “in time for a slice of the series money.”38 He was even included in the White Sox championship photo.39 He received a partial World Series share, the same amount as the trainer and traveling secretary.40 He was also awarded a World Series emblem (precursor to rings for champions today).

In December 1917, the White Sox optioned Hasbrook to the Mobile (Alabama) Bears of the Class A Southern Association.41 Even following Hasbrook’s release, White Sox manager Rowland spoke fondly of his role player: “He was worth his salary merely for his spirit on the spring training trips … with his dash and ambition he worried the veterans and made them work in earnest.”42 In the winter, Hasbrook accepted the job as coach of the Muscatine High School basketball team.43

He also rejoined the Muscatine basketball five as its starting center.44 They proceeded to win the national title yet again in 1918. In March 1918, however – with World War I raging – the Muskies disbanded. Most of their best players were either in the Army already or subject to the draft. The team had won 47 of 48 games since Hasbrook joined in 1915, against the best teams in the country.45

Hasbrook then reported to Mobile, patrolling first base for the Bears until late June, when the White Sox sold him outright to the Des Moines Boosters of the Class A Western League. Unfortunately, the Western League suspended operations ten days later. Soon after, Hasbrook set course for Camp Dodge, Iowa (near Des Moines) for Army training. (By this time, he was predominantly referred to in the newspapers as “Bob” rather than “Ziggy.”) By August, he was pitching for the Camp Pike, Arkansas Army nine.46 In 1918 he also worked for the medical corps at Camp Dodge.47

Upon his discharge in March 1919, Hasbrook signed up again with Des Moines for the 1919 season. He hit .309, leading the team with 172 hits and 35 doubles and topping the league with 35 stolen bases. He also fielded .984.

On January 8, 1920, Hasbrook married Alma Estelle Eno. He was 26 years old, while Alma was four years younger. The Hasbrooks welcomed daughter Mary Jane in 1922, followed by sons Robert P. (1925) and William Kenneth (1928).

Back with Des Moines for the 1920 season, Hasbrook hit .253 in 103 games. In June, amidst a seven-game losing streak, Hasbrook and six Boosters teammates drove to a Billy Sunday revival in Oklahoma City. Apparently, the sermon on “The Unpardonable Sin” appealed to the players, as they were converted to Christianity by the former big-leaguer turned evangelist.48 In the beginning of August, Hasbrook was sold to the San Francisco Seals of the Class AA Pacific Coast League.49 He hit just below .300, at .299, in 72 games out West.

After the 1920 minor-league campaign, Hasbrook quit Organized Baseball in order to play on the Fairbanks-Morse industrial league team in Beloit, Wisconsin, where his in-laws resided and where the Hasbrooks were to make a home.50 He also starred on the local Fairbanks basketball squad. He played on the F-M team in Beloit for at least four years, and collected six hits in a September 1924 doubleheader.51 Hasbrook quit the game in 1925 because of ill health, yet he continued as a manufacturing salesman for Fairbanks-Morse in the Iowa territory.52 By 1927, the Hasbrooks had moved to Stevens Point, Wisconsin. There he played occasional semipro ball for Mosinee and Wisconsin Rapids.53

In 1928, the professional ranks came calling again, and Hasbrook answered in late June. He became a second baseman-pitcher-manager for the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Bunnies in the Class D Mississippi Valley League, replacing Spoke Emery. He hit only .204 in 67 games, and posted a 2-1 pitching mark in 39 innings, as the Bunnies stumbled to a last-place finish. That was Hasbrook’s last professional season.

In 1930, the Hasbrooks lived in Cedar Rapids, and Bob was a commercial traveler for a corn produce manufacturer. The next year, the telephone directory showed him as a salesman at Penick & Ford, makers of starch and other food products. In 1939, he was back at Fairbanks-Morse Co. as a salesman. In 1940, the family lived in Sioux City, and Hasbrook was a traveling salesman of wholesale plumbing supplies.

Eventually, Hasbrook moved to Texas. A 1959 report from Des Moines showed that he and his wife owned a 42-unit apartment building in Dallas.54 He lived the last five years of his life in Garland, outside of Dallas. Robert “Ziggy” Hasbrook died there on February 9, 1976, of cardiovascular disease. He was 82. His death certificate stated he was a retired sales engineer at A.Y. McDonald Company. He is buried in Restland Memorial Park in Dallas.

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Bill Lamb and by Rory Costello and fact-checked by Paul Proia,

 

Sources

In addition to the sources shown in the notes, the author used Baseball-Reference.com and MyHeritage.com.

 

Notes

1 “Muscatine Takes Title,” Moline (Illinois) Independent, February 10, 1917: 5. “Musky Star Is Chosen as Coach for High Team,” Muscatine (Iowa) Journal, December 20, 1917: 5.

2 Chicago Tribune, March 10, 1911: 21.

3 “Ottumwa Champions,” Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 25, 1912: 1.

4 “Select All-State High School Five,” Des Moines Tribune, April 3, 1912: 8.

5 “Evanston Academy Five Proves Easy for Maroons” Chicago Inter Ocean, December 12, 1912: 14.

6 “Calls Hasbrook a ‘Hal Chase,’” Muscatine Journal, March 27, 1917: 7.

7 “Hasbrook Reports to Manager Boyle Today,” Muscatine Journal, June 19, 1913: 6.

8 “Racine Trims Oshkosh, 4 to 1,” Journal Times (Racine, Wisconsin), June 13, 1913: 13.

9 “Hasbrook Reports to Manager Boyle Today,” Muscatine Journal, June 19, 1913: 6.

10 “Hasbrook Again with Muscatine,” Quad-City Times, (Davenport, Iowa), June 19, 1913: 9

11 “Hasbrook Becomes a Musky Regular Today,” Muscatine Journal, June 20, 1913: 6.

12 “Baseball Men are Swamped 53 to 31,” Muscatine Journal, April 15, 1914: 8.

13 “Game to be Keokuk’s Till Proven Otherwise,” Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat (Keokuk, Iowa), August 22, 1915: 7.

14 “As Good Story Teller as He is Manager,” Morning Star (Rockford, Illinois), January 20, 1918: 8.

15 “Muskies Close Year with Double Victory,” Muscatine Journal, September 7, 1915: 6.

16 “All Star Basket Five to Represent City in Season,” Muscatine News-Tribune, October 26, 1915: 8.

17 “Hasbrook to Minneapolis,” Evening Times (Marshalltown, Iowa), October 29, 1915: 11.

18 “Egan Retains Hasbrook,” Evening Times, February 8, 1916: 11.

19 “O’Day is Released,” Evening Times, July 31, 1916: 7.

20 “’Ziggy’ Hasbrook Will Have Chance in Majors,” Muscatine Journal, July 21, 1916: 6.

21 “Muscatine Sells Players,” Chicago Tribune, September 10, 1916: 22.

22 “Indians are Defeated in First Game,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 7, 1916: 11.

23 Thanks to SABR biography factchecker Paul Proia for uncovering this matchup between the two friends.

24 “Sox Win from Indians,” Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), September 7, 1916: 5.

25 “Cedar Rapids Fans Meet Bob Hasbrook,” Muscatine Journal, October 12, 1916: 2.

26 “Hasbrook Good as Pitcher,” Tescott (Kansas) Press, October 12, 1916: 6.

27 “Ab Gould and Hasbrook to Play on Five,” Quad-City Times, October 22, 1916: 23.

28 “Muskies Win Basket Championship from Title Holders of New York,” Muscatine News-Tribune, February 11, 1917: 10.

29 “Ballplayers Ask Owners Consent,” Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa), October 27, 1916: 19.

30 “Hasbrook Plays Good Ball for Comiskey’s White Sox in Texas,” (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Gazette, March 17, 1917: 9.

31 “Calls Hasbrook a ‘Hal Chase,’” Muscatine Journal, March 27, 1917: 7.

32 “Senators Get Hasbrook,” Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), April 17, 1917: 8.

33 “Drayton Loses to Kennedy,” Grand Forks (North Dakota) Herald, June 1, 1917: 8.

34 “Release Hasbrook to Southern Club,” Rock Island (Illinois) Argus, December 27, 1917: 10.

35 “Hasbrook, Former C.A. Star, Released by Champion White Sox,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 27, 1917: 6.

36 “White Sox Outclass the Semi-Pro Stars,” Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Press, September 13, 1917: 3.

37 “Hasbrook Gets in Big Series Moguls State,” Muscatine News-Tribune, September 23, 1917: 7.

38 “Sox Release Hasbrook,” Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin), December 29, 1917: 8.

39 “Chicago Whitesox (sic) New World’s Baseball Champs,” Pittsburgh Daily Post, October 16, 1917: 10.

40 “Rowland Lifted to Shoulders of Fans,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 18, 1917: 15.

41 “Release Hasbrook to Southern Club,” Rock Island (Illinois) Argus, December 27, 1917: 10.

42 “Hasbrook, Former C.A. Star, Released by Champion White Sox,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 27, 1917: 6.

43 “Musky Star is Chosen as Coach for High Team.”

44 “Hasbrook is Back on Job,” Muscatine Journal, December 27, 1917: 7.

45 “Muscatine Five, Losers of One Game in Three Years, Quits,” Des Moines Register, March 17, 1918: 37.

46 “Camp Pike Stars Beat Hospital Nine,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), August 18, 1918: 13.

47 “Hasbrook Back – Out of Service,” Muscatine Journal, March 18, 1919: 9..

48 “’Ziggy’ Hasbrook Hits Sawdust Trail with “Billy” Sunday,” Evening Times-Republican (Marshalltown, Iowa), June 18, 1920: 7.

49 “Bob Hasbrook Sold to San Francisco Club; New Outfielder Reports Today,” Des Moines Tribune, August 2, 1920: 11.

50 “San Francisco Loses Hasbrook,” Muscatine Journal, March 1, 1921: 6.

51 “Agathons Break Even,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 8, 1924: 16.

52 “Hasbrook Will Lead Cedar Rapids Squad,” Kenosha (Wisconsin) News, June 29, 1928: 18.

53 Stevens Point (Wisconsin) Journal, September 8, 1928: 6.

54 “Sittin’ In,” Des Moines Register, February 23, 1959: 13.

Full Name

Robert Lyndon Hasbrook

Born

November 21, 1893 at Grundy Center, IA (USA)

Died

February 9, 1976 at Garland, TX (USA)

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