- For the baseball player Jiggs Donahue who lived 1894–1949, see John Donahue
John Augustus "Jiggs" Donahue (July 13, 1879 – July 19, 1913) was a Major League Baseball player for 9 seasons from 1900 to 1909. Born in Springfield, Ohio, Donahue began his career as a catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1900–1901), Milwaukee Brewers (1901), and St. Louis Browns (1902).
Donahue had his greatest success from 1904 to 1908, after switching to first base for the Chicago White Sox. Donahue's defensive skills were a key to the White Sox' 1906 World Series championship team, and he led American League first basemen in fielding percentage, assists, and putouts for 3 consecutive seasons, from 1905 to 1907. In 1907, Donahue had 1,846 putouts, which is still the major league record for putouts by a first baseman. He also holds the major league single season record for most chances accepted per game with 12.65 in 1907.
Though known mostly for his fielding, Donahue was also a decent hitter from 1905 to 1907. In 1905, he was among the American League leaders in batting average (.287), on-base percentage (.346), RBIs (76), and stolen bases (32). In 1906, Donahue was among the league leaders in stolen bases (36) and sacrifice hits (36) and was one of only three White Sox starters to bat over .250 for the 1906 World Champion "Hitless Wonders." Donahue also paced all batters with a .333 mark in the 1906 World Series.
On October 10, 1906, Donahue broke up a World Series no-hit bid by Cubs' pitcher Ed Reulbach with a single in the 7th inning.
In 1907, Donahue led the league in games played (157) and at bats (609) and was among the leaders in hits (158) and RBIs (68).
In Detroit on May 31, 1908, Donahue recorded 21 putouts in a nine-inning game.
In 9 seasons, Donahue played in 813 games with 731 hits, 319 runs scored, 327 RBIs, 143 stolen bases, 90 doubles, 31 triples, and a .255 batting average.
Donahue contracted syphilis and died in 1913 at age 34. He was survived by a brother, Pat Donahue, a major league catcher in the years 1908-10.
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By Dean Hanley
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