David James Bancroft (April 20, 1891 – October 9, 1972) was an American baseball shortstop and manager. Nicknamed "Beauty" for his penchant for calling good pitches "beauties", he played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1915 to 1930, for the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Giants, Boston Braves, and Brooklyn Robins.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Bancroft played in minor league baseball from 1909 through 1914, at which point he was bought by the Phillies. The Giants traded for Bancroft during the 1920 season. After playing for the Giants through the 1923 season, he became player-manager of the Braves, serving in that role for four years. After he was fired by the Braves, Bancroft played two seasons for the Robins and ended his playing career with the Giants the next season. He coached with the Giants, then managed in the minor leagues and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Bancroft was part of the Giants' World Series championship teams in 1921 and 1922. He was also a part of the National League pennant-winning teams of 1915 and 1923. Considered an excellent defensive shortstop and a smart ball player, Bancroft was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1971. However, his election was not without controversy, as the Veterans Committee included former teammates of Bancroft, resulting in charges of cronyism against the Veterans Committee.
By Dean Hanley
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