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Bibb Falk

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Bibb Augustus Falk

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[edit] Biographical Information

Outfielder Bibb Falk was one of the Chicago White Sox stars in the decade following the Black Sox Scandal.

Originally a pitcher, Falk played football and baseball at the University of Texas. While starring on the mound, he also hit over. 400. He was discovered by the White Sox while playing in an exhibition game against Chicago while still in college.


After signing with the White Sox, Falk skipped the minor leagues entirely and made his big league debut late in the 1920 season, appearing in a handful of games as the Black Sox Scandal was coming to light. The next summer, he replaced the banned Joe Jackson as the club's regular leftfielder.

In 1923, Falk began a streak of five consecutive seasons batting over .300, with a .352 average coming in 1924 (third in the American League behind Babe Ruth and Charlie Jamieson). In 1926, he hit .345 (seventh in the AL) with 108 RBIs and 43 doubles, which was a White Sox record until Floyd Robinson broke it in 1962.

After his average dipped down to .290 in 1928, Falk was traded to the Cleveland Indians for catcher Chick Autry. He hit over .300 in each of three seasons with the Tribe as he gradually became a pinch-hitter and backup. His slugging percentage of .507 in 1929 was a personal high, in a league whose slugging percentage was .407.

In a dozen seasons in the majors, Falk had a .314 lifetime batting average. Based on the similarity scores method, three of the five most similar players are Tommy Holmes, Riggs Stephenson, and Irish Meusel.

After his major league career ended, Falk spent 1932 as player/manager with the Toledo Mud Hens, hitting .321. The next year, 1933, he was a member of the Cleveland Indians coaching staff (and interim manager for one game), but was dismissed when Walter Johnson was brought in to manage the club. He was hired by the Boston Red Sox to finish the year as a scout, then was a coach in 1934. He then returned to scouting for the Red Sox from 1935 to 1940, working from his hometown of Austin, TX.

Falk gained greater renown as baseball coach at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin from 1940 to 1967 (with the exception of three years in the United States Air Force during World War II). He replaced longtime coach Billy Disch, for whom he had played twenty years earlier. He led the school to 20 Southwest Conference championships and consecutive national titles in 1949 and 1950. The school's UFCU Disch-Falk Field is named for him and Disch.

Falk was the brother of big league pitcher Chet Falk.

Falk is the one who bestowed the nickname of "Suitcase Bob" on Bob Seeds, because he moved around so much. His own nickname of "Jockey" came because he was so skillful at "riding" (i.e riling) opposite players.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1926)

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1932 Toledo Mud Hens American Association 87-80 4th Cleveland Indians
1933 Cleveland Indians American League 1-0 -- Cleveland Indians interim between Roger Peckinpaugh (26-25) and Walter Johnson on June 10

[edit] Further Reading

  • Matthew M. Clifford: "Bibb Falk: The Only Jockey in the Majors", in Stuart Shea, ed.: North Side, South Side, All Around Town, The National Pastime, SABR, 2015. ISBN 978-1-93359987-8
  • William A. Cook: Bibb Falk: The Man Who Replaced Shoeless Joe, McFarland, Jefferson, NC. 2015. ISBN 978-0-7864-9691-4

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