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Dave Shean

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David William Shean

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[edit] Biographical Information

Middle infielder Dave Shean, a defensive expert, played nine seasons in the majors and appeared in the 1918 World Series.

Shean was born in Arlington, MA and attended Fordham University. His time at Fordham overlapped with that of Hall of Famer Ed Walsh.

Shean came to the big leagues in 1906, at age 22, playing in 22 games for the 1906 Philadelphia Athletics. The regular second baseman, however, was Danny Murphy, who would remain with the A's for years to come. Another youngster, 19-year-old Eddie Collins, was also looking for playing time with the A's. Collins made his major league debut one week after Shean did.

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Dave spent 1907 with Montreal and much of 1908 with Williamsport. The 1908 Phillies drafted him from Williamsport and put him in the majors for 14 games. Although he didn't hit, he stuck with the team in 1909 and had 130 plate appearances before being traded in mid-season to the 1909 Boston Doves, for whom he had 300 plate appearances.

While Shean was a below-average hitter, he wasn't an embarassment, and his fielding allowed him to become an everyday regular in 1910. He led the league in put-outs, assists and range factor at second base in 1910, while with the bat he hit .239 for a team which hit .246.

Although he was a great fielder, the Doves decided they could do without him, and traded him in February 1911 to the 1911 Cubs for Scotty Ingerton and Big Jeff Pfeffer. Dave hit poorly for the Cubs and the following year started a five-year stretch with the Providence Grays of the International League.

During his five years with Providence, Dave came up to the majors only once, when he played five games for the 1912 Boston Braves, hitting .300.

In his best year with the Grays, 1914, Dave led the team with a .334 batting average. A teammate was the 19-year-old Babe Ruth, who went 22-9 and hit .231. The 22-year-old Carl Mays was also on the team, going 24-8 and hitting .277. Dave managed the Grays in 1915-16.

Shean came back to the majors in 1917, hitting .210 for the 1917 Reds but leading the league in put-outs and assists at second base. The Reds traded him to the 1918 Red Sox, where he was reunited with Babe Ruth and Carl Mays. He played well defensively and had perhaps his best year with the bat, hitting .264 (the team hit .249) and leading the league in sacrifice hits. The Red Sox went on to win the 1918 World Series.

A quick look at the stats shows that Shean hit "only" .211. However, that needs to be viewed in context. The Red Sox, who won the Series, hit .186 as a team. Shean led the Sox with four walks, and he also had one of only two doubles hit by the team. Shean had four hits in the Series, with nobody on the team getting more than five. He batted second in the lineup in each game of the Series.

In 1919 Shean didn't hit much and his major league career was over.

The book Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox says that after baseball Shean worked with Nathan Robbins & Co., and remained a familiar figure in Boston's market district.

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