David Leonard Brain
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 170 lb.
- Debut April 24, 1901
- Final Game October 7, 1908
- Born January 24, 1879 in Lugwardine, England
- Died May 25, 1959 in Los Angeles, CA USA
Dave Brain was a third baseman and shortstop who had pretty good power for a few years.
Starting out in 5 games in 1901 with the Chicago White Sox, he hit .350 and then came back in 1903 as a regular shortstop with the St. Louis Cardinals for whom he was fourth in the National League in triples with 15. The next year, 1904, was a big year as he was 7th in the NL in doubles, sixth in triples, and second in the league in home runs.
In 1905 he slumped early on and was traded part-way through the season to the Pittsburgh Pirates where Honus Wagner was shortstop, so Brain moved to third base, apparently putting Tommy Leach into the outfield. Brain was only in Pittsburgh for half a year, though, as he was traded after the season to the Boston Beaneaters with a couple other players in return for Vic Willis. Willis had had a few off-years, but he was to be very successful during the next four years in Pittsburgh.
Even though Brain didn't play up to his ability in 1905, he still became famous for hitting three triples in a game in May and then doing it again in August. He is the only National League player to hit three triples in a game twice in a season.
Brain was 7th in the league in home runs in 1906 with Boston. His .250 batting average may not seem like much, but it was the dead ball era and the team as a whole hit .226. He slugged .333 while the team slugged .281. However, in a game in June that year, he made a record 5 errors at third base. In 1907, he had an even better year with the bat, hitting .279 for a team that hit .243. He slugged .420 on a team that slugged .309. His slugging percentage was 5th in the NL, he led the league in home runs with 10, and his 24 doubles were 5th in the league. It was pretty good for a third baseman, since in those days players who played third usually didn't hit much.
Oddly enough, in spite of leading the league in home runs in 1907, he never hit another homer after that. The same was true of Fred Odwell, who led the league in homers a couple of years earlier.
The Cincinnati Reds bought Brain during the off-season, undoubtedly not realizing that 1908 was to be his last season. He hit only .109 with the them through July 10th, and was traded to the New York Giants where he hit .176. He was done after 7 seasons.
He is sometimes criticized for his fielding, because he made more than the average number of errors, but his range at third base was pretty good. He had some speed, stealing 73 bases in his seven major league seasons.
- NL Home Runs Leader (1907)
- 1881 English census