Walter James Vincent Maranville (November 11, 1891 – January 6, 1954), better known as Rabbit Maranville due to his speed and small stature (5'5", 155 pounds), was a Major League Baseballshortstop. At the time of his retirement in 1935, he had played in a record 23 seasons in the National League, a mark which wasn't broken until 1986 by Pete Rose.
Maranville finished third in the MVP voting in his first full season, playing for the Boston Braves as a 21-year-old in 1913 even though his batting average was just .247 in 143 games with two homers. The following year, Maranville was the runner-up in the MVP voting to teammate Johnny Evers as the Braves won the National League pennant and then went on to sweep the powerful Philadelphia A's in the World Series. That year, Maranville was the Braves' cleanup hitter, despite batting just .246 and hitting four home runs. Even at age 41, when Maranville batted .218 in 143 games and hit no homers, he finished in a tie for 12th in the MVP voting.
Goudey baseball card of Walter "Rabbit" Maranville, 1933
Maranville was known as one of "baseball's most famous clowns" due to his practical jokes and lack of inhibitions. When he was appointed manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1925—one of their worst seasons ever—he did not change his behavior. One night he went through a Pullman car dumping water on sleeping players' heads, saying, "No sleeping under Maranville management, especially at night." Not long after that, he was out on the street outside Ebbets Field in Brooklyn mimicking a newsboy hawking papers. He cried out, "Read all about it! Maranville fired!" And so he was—the next day.
Rabbit Maranville (center) as manager of the Montreal Royals between two players, 1938
Rabbit Maranville was stricken by a heart attack shortly after midnight on January 6, 1954 at his home in Woodside, New York. Death was nearly instantaneous. He was 62 years old at the time of his death.