Unsung Legend: Red Dooin

July 22nd, 2020

Sixth in a series of 13 Unsung Phillies Legends, fellas who played a long, long time ago. None are enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame or the team’s Toyota Wall of Fame, but each played a small role in franchise history.

Charles (Red) Dooin was a 5-foot-9 catcher who barely tipped the scales at 150 pounds during a 15-year career in the Majors. The first 13 were with the Phillies (1902-14). He caught 1,124 games, a club record that stood until broken by Mike Lieberthal on Aug. 18, 2006, at Citizens Bank Park.

Dooin still owns the club single-season record for most assists, 199, in 1919. That record may never be broken. Closest I could find was 90 by Clay Dalrymple in 1963, and 88 by Bob Boone in 1980. J.T. Realmuto was poison to basestealers a year ago. He had 67 assists.

Dooin wasn’t much of a hitter, compiling a .241 average in 1,219 games. He hit 10 home runs, six coming in 1904. Five of those six were inside-the-park, the most by any Phillies player in a season. On Oct. 1, 1904, in the second game of a doubleheader vs. Pittsburgh, he became the first Phillies player to hit an inside-the-park grand slam.

Feisty and temperamental, the redheaded Dooin was known for blocking home plate regardless of the size of an on-coming baserunner. He sustained a broken ankle and broken leg in back-to-back seasons in home-plate collisions, curtailing his playing days. While there are different stories as to which catcher wore shin guards for the first time, some reports claim it was Dooin, wearing a pair of rattan guards under his stockings during the 1906 season.

Dooin became player-manager of the Phillies in 1910. The 1913 club finished second, but he was fired following a sixth-place finish in 1914. Dooin’s managerial record was 392-370. At age 40, Dooin’s pro career came to an end in 1919 as player-manager in Reading, Pa., in the International League. The team was known as the Coal Barons.

His final seasons as a Major Leaguer were 1915 (Cincinnati/New York Giants) and 1916 (Giants). He wound up playing 1,220 games, 1,195 of them behind the plate. He caught 111 shutouts.

A singer-actor, Dooin spent some winters on the vaudeville circuit following his playing career. He died in Rochester, N.Y., on May 14, 1952, from a heart attack. He was 72 years old.