Monday, March 21, 2022

1999 Topps All-Star Rookie First Baseman Brian Daubach

The path to the big leagues can be a long one - it was certainly the case for Brian Daubach, who was a rookie at the ripe old age of 27. It wasn't for lack of effort - in fact the slugger from Belleville, IL would become affectionately known as the charter member of the "Dirt Dogs," the role players that helped the early 2000s Red Sox finally overcome the Curse of the Bambino.


Daubach hit 21 homers in his first full season in the big leagues, while hitting a robust .294/.360/.562 slash line. He had a torrid month of August which included 7 homers and a .327 average. His slugging pct for the season would have ranked in the top 10 in the AL if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Pair that with his long road to the big leagues, and it's a great story - worthy of a spot on Topps' All-Star Rookie Team. 

Drafted in the 17th Round by the Mets in 1990 out of high school. He would spend several seasons in the minors in the Mets' org with less than impressive totals - his highest slugging percentage in his first 6 seasons was .401, and his career season high in homers to that point was just 10. Then, his reputation took a hit during the player's strike in Spring Training of 1995. Daubach was placed on the Mets' replacement players' roster with other minor league Mets, playing in Spring Training games while the MLBPA was still on the picket line. As a result of crossing the line, Daubach was barred from ever joining the Players' Association. Heading into 1996, he'd even been told by a manager that he'd never be a major leaguer, and perhaps that was enough to motivate him to prove the critics wrong. He was just starting to see some progress (22 Homers in 1996) when he became a minor league free agent. He contemplated playing in Japan, but ultimately took an offer with the Florida Marlins. He slugged over .500 for the first time in his professional career, and the following season had his breakout with the Charlotte Knights, the Marlins' AAA affiliate. He led the International league in Extra base hits, and earned a call-up to play for the big league squad in September of 1998. 

The Red Sox were intrigued by his power potential that had blossomed at the right time. Daubach would hit 20 or more homers for the Red Sox in his first four seasons - a feat accomplished just 4 other times in team history. Ted Williams, Tony Conigliaro, Jim Rice, and Nomar Garciaparra being the others. He was rewarded with a $2.325 Million Dollar deal for 2002, where he would once again hit better than league average (111 OPS+) with another 20 homers for Boston. The Team would have the choice between bringing back Daubach to play first, or they could take a flier on a young player just cut loose by the Twins. The Sox chose Ortiz, so Daubach was on the move again.

Daubach spent a season in Chicago, where he'd play first base, DH, and both corner outfield positions. He hit just .230/.352/.388 in his lone South Side season, and was left looking for another gig that offseason. 2004 would bring him back to Boston, ostensibly as an insurance/injury replacement. He'd find his way into the lineup just 30 times that summer, but Red Sox fans were happy to have him all the same. He would return to the organization that drafted him in 2005, splitting time between the AAA Norfolk Tides and the Mets. He hit pretty well in Norfolk, with 16 homers and a .325 average. He would spend one more season in the minors, moving over to the Cardinals' AAA team in Memphis before retiring and getting into coaching. He is currently the hitting coach for the AAA Rochester Red Wings, and was the manager in Harrisburg when the Nationals drafted Bryce Harper. 


  1. Man, I liked watching him play. I PC him, in fact I just picked up some of these cards not too long ago. I want to be on the record as saying the Just 2K design is one of the worst EVER. Great to see some Dirt Dog appreciation.

  2. Definitely a fan favorite among us Red Sox followers!