Jack Coombs

From BR Bullpen


John Wesley Coombs
(Colby Jack)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Colby Jack Coombs played 14 seasons in the big leagues, twice leading the American League in wins. He played in three World Series, posting a 5-0 record. Following his playing days, he was a longtime college baseball coach.


The most successful player to come out of Colby College, Coombs signed with Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics and made his big league debut in 1906. He posted a 10-10 record in his rookie year but threw a 24-inning complete game against the Boston Americans on September 24th. He went 25-25 over the next three years before putting up his most impressive numbers in 1910. That year he went 31-9 with a 1.30 ERA while leading the AL in wins and shutouts with 13. The Athletics reached the World Series, and he won all 3 games in which he appeared, hitting .385 as well, as his team defeated the Chicago Cubs in five games.

Coombs went 28-12 for Philadelphia in 1911, once again pacing the circuit in wins, and hit .319 with 23 RBIs for the club. He earned another victory in that fall's World Series as the Athletics repeated as world champions. However, during spring training in 1913, he was stricken with typhoid fever and nearly died. He missed most of the next two seasons before making a comeback with the Brooklyn Robins in 1915. He appeared in one World Series game with Brooklyn in 1916, earning another win. He ended his career with a win/loss record of 158-110.

After retiring from the majors, Coombs was a college coach at Rice University (1918). He managed the Philadelphia Phillies in 1919 for part of the season and was a member of the Detroit Tigers coaching staff in 1920. He was then a coach at Williams College from 1921 to 1924 and Duke University from 1929 to 1952. 47 of his Duke players made the majors. Perhaps the most prominent were Billy Werber and Dick Groat; his nephew Bobby Coombs was another one of the Duke players to follow him to the big leagues.

Additionally, Coombs wrote a widely read instructional book, Baseball: Individual Play and Team Strategy. During the 1911 off-season, he went on tour with teammates Chief Bender and Cy Morgan performing in a vaudeville show called "Learning the Game".

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time AL Wins Leader (1910 & 1911)
  • AL Games Pitched Leader (1910)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (1910)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 4 (1910-1912 & 1915)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 3 (1910-1912)
  • 25 Wins Seasons: 2 (1910 & 1911)
  • 30 Wins Seasons: 1 (1910)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (1909-1912)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1910 & 1911)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1910)
  • Won three World Series with the Philadelphia Athletics (1910, 1911 & 1913; he did not play in the 1913 World Series)

Preceded by
Pat Moran
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
Succeeded by
Gavvy Cravath

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1919 Philadelphia Phillies National League 18-44 -- Philadelphia Phillies replaced by Gavvy Cravath on July 9

Further Reading[edit]

  • John P. Tierney: Jack Coombs, A Life in Baseball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2008.

Related Sites[edit]