Arthur Ralph Thomas Hillebrand
(Art , Doc or A.R.T.)
- Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lbs.
- School Princeton University
- High School Phillips Andover Preparatory School
- Born March 3, 1877 in Freeport, IL USA
- Died December 14, 1941 in Waubay, SD USA (or possibly in 1940 or in Oregon)
"There are competent judges who say that the Princeton twirler is the best pitcher in the country today. He was signed by Washington at a war-time salary, larger than any pitcher on the team was then drawing, but never reported for duty. A contract has been sent him every year . . . The club's owners would no doubt pay him a very handsome stipend to carry out his agreement . . ." - Sporting Life, August 19, 1905
" 'Doc' Hillebrand, the ex-Princeton pitcher . . . would not join the Pittsburg team even if Manager Cantillon, of Washington, secured waivers on him from the other American League teams. That was the statement made by Secretary William H. Locke, of the Pittsburg club . . ." - Sporting Life, June 22, 1907
"For some unaccountable reason, the former Princeton star has refused to join the Yankee forces." - Sporting Life, January 25, 1908
"Arthur Hillebrand, after refusing all along to play with the American League, and not even replying to a dozen or more letters written to him by Frank Farrell, had the nerve to write to the latter this spring and ask for his release." - Sporting Life, May 8, 1909
Arthur (Doc) Hillebrand, brother of Homer Hillebrand, was a famous football and baseball player while in college at Princeton University. He was also successful in the minors. He made news by refusing to play in the majors, although he was sought after by various teams.
He is in the College Football Hall of Fame. His biography and photo appear here. He also coached the football team for several years, after serving as coach for the U.S. Naval Academy. Both the Princeton football team on which he played and the Princeton football teams he coached were highly successful. It was said he played on three champion baseball teams and three champion football teams, along with being captain of each at least once. He was considered possibly the best college pitcher in the country.
He was in the minors during 1902-03, going 20-5 in 1902 for the Flambeau Indians, tying for second in the Iowa-South Dakota League in wins. He hit .361 in 1903 as an outfielder for Los Angeles. He was third in the Pacific National League in average; three of the other top five wound up in the majors at some point (Frank Huelsman, Tom Parrott and Skel Roach) His brother, Homer Hillebrand, was a teammate and when the Washington Senators signed Homer, it was big news. However, neither played for Washington. The Pirates also wanted both players, and Homer eventually appeared for them.
After his playing days he ran a livestock company in South Dakota. He was still famous in 1924, when the magazine Boy's Life ran an article about famous athletes, showing him in a photo from 1898 with a couple other Princetonians.
Although the College Football Hall of Fame site shows him as dying in 1941 in Waubay, the Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel in 1940 carried a report that he had burned to death in Corvallis, OR.
His biography appears in the Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: 1992-1995 Supplement. According to the biography, he was a sports star at Phillips Andover Preparatory School, and then joined the legendary Princeton football team. He was named an All-Time All-American in 1912. The football teams he was on won or shared three national championships. In baseball he pitched and hit well, serving on three top teams. He received his college degree in geology and was sophomore class president. As a football coach at Princeton, his 1903 team won the national championship. The biography says he died in 1941 in a house fire in Oregon.
There was an R.E. Hillebrand who made a brief appearance in the majors in 1902. While Arthur was sometimes called "A.R.T. Hillebrand", this probably wasn't him, but it was said that the Hillebrand family had several boys. R.E. played outfield, and Arthur did play some outfield in the minors. Arthur and Homer had a brother named Clarence who also played at Princeton.
There is a Hillebrand Lake near Waubay (also called Hillebrand's Lake), presumably named after one or more of the Hillebrands mentioned on this page.
"The story is that their father objects to their playing ball professionally, and has offered them the management of a ranch in the far West, which they have decided to accept. . . at present the story lacks confirmation." - Sporting Life, December 12, 1903
"Doc Hillebrand is said to be as good a pitcher as ever. He has refused yards of offers from big league managers, who are loath to take him at his word -- that he would rather be a Dakota ranchman than ever so bright a professional baseball star." - The Day, August 22, 1904
"An interesting incident of the meeting was Washington's attempt, at Thursday's session, to secure waivers on pitcher Arthur Hillebrand. No doubt the local owners could secure some very valuable player in exchange for 'Doc's' release to some National League club; most likely Pittsburg. However, Clark Griffith prudently declined to waive . . ." - Sporting Life, December 22, 1906