Hans Lobert

John Bernard "Hans" Lobert (October 18, 1881 – September 14, 1968) was an American infielder, coach, manager and scout in Major League Baseball.

Lobert was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Like shortstop Honus Wagner, a teammate of Lobert's when he first came to the major leagues, the German-American Lobert earned the nickname "Hans" as a familiar form of Johannes, the German version of his given name, and was dubbed "Hans Number 2" by Honus Wagner. Lobert batted .274 for his career and played 14 seasons (1903, 1905–17) with five National League clubs, including regular stints as a third baseman for the Cincinnati Reds (1906–10) and Philadelphia Phillies (1911–14). He also played with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1903), Chicago Cubs (1905) and New York Giants (1915–17).

During his career, Lobert was known as one of the fastest players in the game. He once raced a racehorse around the bases before a game, an event that he recounted in The Glory of Their Times. On September 27, 1908, Lobert became the first Reds player to steal 2nd base, 3rd base, and home plate in the same inning.

After managing in the minor leagues during the 1920s and early 1930s, Lobert became a coach for the Phillies from 1934 through 1941. At 60, he became one of the oldest rookie managers in baseball history when he was appointed skipper of the 1942 Phils, in the midst of the longest streak of futility in their history. Under Lobert, the club lost 109 games (they had lost 111 under Doc Prothro in 1941). Counting two losses as an interim manager in 1938, Lobert's career managerial record was 42–111 (.275).

After his one season at the Phillies' helm, Lobert's career in uniform ended as a Cincinnati coach (1943–44). He then became a scout for the Dodgers and Giants, serving until his death in Philadelphia at age 86. He was an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University.

A 1953 film, Big Leaguer, set at a Giants training camp in Florida, was a fictional story, but starred Edward G. Robinson in the role of Lobert.

By Dean Hanley

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