He was a Hall of Famer. He was one of the most accomplished defensive shortstops of all time. And, most important, a part of the miracle Braves of 1914.
The Braves performed one of the most memorable reversals in major league history, going from last place to first place in two months, becoming the first team to win a pennant after being in last place on the Fourth of July. After finishing in fifth place in 1913 with a record of 69 wins and 82 losses, the Braves were not expected to be contenders. They spent the first part of the season in last place, posting a record of 26 wins and 40 losses in early July. Led by three pitchers, Dick Rudolph, Seattle Bill James, and Lefty Tyler, the team began to win games, taking over first place for good on September 8. Their record over their final 89 games was 70-19 for a winning percentage of .787. Infielders Johnny Evers and Rabbit Maranville led the league in double plays. The Braves went on to sweep Connie Mack‘s heavily favored Athletics in four games in the 1914 World Series. The team became known as the “Miracle” Braves and remain one of the most storied comeback teams in baseball history.
Rabbit Maranville played with the Braves from 1912-20, 1929-33 and in 1935. He was mainly a shortstop but also played second and third. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on November 11, 1891 and died on January 5, 1954. Batted right and threw right.
He was very animated and energetic. Just like the energizer bunny. His Christian name was Walter but he went by “Rabbit”. He picked up that name in the minors and it stuck with him. A little girl saw him warming up. He was prancing and dancing around. She said he “jumped around just like a rabbit”.
It was true and it stuck. No more Walter. Only Rabbit. And a key to the miracle of 1914.