December 27, 1912|
|Died: May 19, 1969
|April 30, 1937, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 23, 1945, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Earned run average||3.44|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Anthony Tobin (December 27, 1912 – May 19, 1969), known as Abba Dabba, was a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Bees/Braves and Detroit Tigers from 1937 to 1945. In 1944 with the Boston Braves he pitched two no-hitters (one a five-inning game).
Professional baseball career
Tobin was born in Oakland, California, where the hometown Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League picked him up. They sent him to their Bisbee-Douglas farm team in the Arizona–Texas League. The New York Yankees signed him shortly thereafter. He played for them in Binghamton and Wheeling in 1933 and 1934. The Yankees sent him back to Oakland in 1935, where he compiled an 11-8 record before tearing the cartilage in his left knee. Appendicitis kept him off the Yankee roster the following year, and he went 16-8 for the Oaks.
Rather than return to the Oaks in 1937, he arranged a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he made his major league debut on April 30, 1937.
In 1940, Tobin joined the Boston Braves, where manager Casey Stengel made him a relief pitcher. On May 13, 1942, by then a starter, Tobin became the only pitcher in modern major-league history to hit three home runs in one game (Guy Hecker hit three homers in a game in the 19th century).
Still with the Braves in 1944, Tobin began throwing a knuckleball, and that season he threw his two no-hitters. The first was April 27, 1944, when he beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0. The second was a five-inning game on June 22, 1944, in which the Philadelphia Phillies fell 7-0 (officially, this game is no longer considered a true no-hitter, as it lasted fewer than nine innings).
In another interesting event in 1944, Tobin drew a walk against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Clyde Shoun in the third inning of what would otherwise have been a perfect game for Shoun (who settled instead for a no-hitter).
Tobin was with the Tigers in 1945, when they won the American League pennant and the World Series. He pitched in Game 1 of the series, on October 3, which was his final major league game.
He was back in the Pacific Coast League the following year, pitching for the Seattle Rainiers and the San Francisco Seals. He was released in 1947, but the Oaks re-signed him in August 1948. That year he pitched the last out against the Sacramento Solons in a game that clinched the pennant for the Oaks.
While Tobin played only one major league game at a position other than pitcher, he pinch-hit over 100 times in his major league career. The fine-hitting hurler batted .230/.303/.345 in the majors. He totaled 35 doubles, 17 homers and 102 RBI in 796 at-bats.
Tobin went 105-112 in the majors with a 3.44 ERA. He completed 156 of 227 career starts.
In the minors, Tobin won 81 games and lost 51.
- List of Major League Baseball all-time leaders in home runs by pitchers
- List of Major League Baseball no-hitters
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball-Reference Bullpen
April 27, 1944