John Robert Gilbert (Jackrabbit)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Debut September 11, 1898
- Final Game October 9, 1904
- Born September 4, 1875 in Rhinecliff, NY USA
- Died July 7, 1941 in Albany, NY USA
Through 2009 Jack "Jackrabbit" Gilbert is the only major league player to have the nickname "Jackrabbit". He played two seasons in the majors, getting 96 at-bats and stealing five bases.
Gilbert was born in Rhinecliff, NY, in eastern New York north of Poughkeepsie, NY. He played in the New York State League in 1894 at age 18 and for various New England and New York teams until his major league debut in September 1898.
In 1899 he played in New England and in Pennsylvania but in 1900 he made a change, moving west and playing for Youngstown. Then from 1901 to 1904 he went south and played for Little Rock. In 1904 he led the league in batting average.
Jackrabbit came up one more time to the majors in 1904, appearing in 25 games, all in left field. It was not likely to be a long-term job, because the Pittsburgh Pirates had future Hall of Famer Fred Clarke playing left, and Clarke was also the manager of the team. Not surprisingly, therefore, Jackrabbit did not return in 1905 with the Pirates. He played in a variety of places in the minors thereafter, including some more seasons with Little Rock, some more in the New York State League, and a year split between Kansas City and Toledo.
A reference to him in the New York Times in 1904 referred to him not as Jack or Jackrabbit but as John.