Robert Frank Roth
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7½", Weight 170 lb.
- Debut September 1, 1914
- Final Game October 1, 1921
- Born August 28, 1892 in Chicago, IL USA
- Died September 11, 1936 in Chicago, IL USA
"Roth was batting .339 for Kansas City in 1923 when his stay with the Blues came to an abrupt end. As reported by . . . The Sporting News, 'The indefinite suspension of Robert Roth for indifferent play was the main item in the week's news. . . To say that the members of the club are glad of his departure is to put it mildly.' - from the MILB.com article about the 1923 Kansas City Blues, a team which went 112-54
Bobby "Braggo" Roth played eight seasons in the majors, posting a respectable OPS+ of 123. Although a good hitter, many teams traded him or released him, and were glad to be rid of him.
Braggo was the much-younger brother of Frank Roth, who played in the majors between 1903-10. While older sources have Braggo listed as being born in Burlington, WI (where his brother died), more recent information places his birth in Chicago, IL, same as Frank.
Braggo began his minor league career with Green Bay in Wisconsin at age 17 in 1910, in the year when his older brother played his last major league season. Braggo was a minor league third baseman for his first four years before converting to the outfield.
In 1913 and 1914 he played for Kansas City. He made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox on September 1, 1914. He impressed enough that he played 34 games for them in the rest of the season, putting up very strong numbers of .294/.355/.444 in that dead-ball season.
During the 1915 season he continued to hit strongly while playing both outfield and third, and was traded in August to the Cleveland Indians in the trade that brought Joe Jackson to the White Sox. Braggo led the league in home runs that year with 7 (all apparently hit on the road).
Braggo stayed with Cleveland from 1916 to 1918 and continued to hit, with at least a .280 batting average each year (the American League overall average was .248 in 1916 and 1917, and .254 in 1918). The Indians improved from a .500 team in 1916 to a team in 1918 that came close to winning the pennant, finishing only 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
Although he was traded twice within the American League in 1919, he continued to hit over .280 for the season, and although traded twice more in 1920 and 1921, he hit .291 in 1920 and .283 in 1921, his last major league season. With the New York Yankees in 1921, he joined his brother Frank, who was the team's pitching coach.
Braggo struck out a lot, leading the 1917 American League and finishing among the leaders four other times. However, he also drew decent numbers of walks for the times, with a lifetime .367 OBP. He was several times among the stolen base leaders, finishing as high as second in the league in 1918. He led the league in hit-by-pitch in 1918 and was two other times among the leaders.
The SABR biography of him says that he was a self-promoter with a talent for making enemies. He split his childhood between Chicago and Burlington, where his uncle lived. After his major league days he played semi-pro ball in 1922 and then joined Kansas City again in 1923. Although he hit well, he wasn't popular and was released in August. He joined St. Paul and hit well, but wasn't invited back. Thereafter he played semi-pro ball and briefly returned to the pros with Hollywood in 1928. He was killed in a car accident while a passenger in 1936.
- AL Home Runs Leader (1915)