Here’s One for the Dauber

One of the players I remember fondly from the late 90s and early 2000s is Brian Daubach.

He played seven years in the minor leagues before bursting onto the scene with the Florida Marlins for a cup of coffee in 1998, then signed with the Red Hose before the ’99 Season. In that year he hit .294, and slugged 21 homers with 73 rbis in only 420 plate appearances while also finishing 4th in the American Rookie of the Year vote.

From 1999-2002, playing first base DH and outfield, Daubs would average 21 homeruns and 29 doubles, while getting many memorable game winning hits in front of the Fenway Faithful. He was also hit by pitches twice in the infamous Pedro Martinez game in 2000 where Martinez had a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the bottom of the 9th against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after inciting a brawl by hitting outfielder Gerald Williams.

Daubach was appreciated for his no-nonsense workmanlike approach to the game, and was definitely a dirt dog in much the same vein as Trot Nixon was, who was also on those turn of the century Sox Squads. I remember him being my grandmother’s favorite player back in the day, which tells you a lot. She had no patience for players she perceived as prima donnas such as Manny Ramirez, with his off-field antics and sore hamstrings that kept him out of games, or hot-blooded Carl Everett, who was quoted as not believing in dinosaurs, let the press push his buttons, and feuded with the “knights of the keyboard” constantly. Both of these players were excellent, but there was something more relatable in Brian Daubach’s way of going about things, as if he was just happy to be playing in the majors, living out his dream.

He was granted free agency in December 2002, and the new GM at the time Theo Epstein did not want to go through arbitration to pay him fair market value, so he signed with the Chicago White Sox. Then 31 years old, he did not have a very good time in the Windy City, hitting .230 with 6 homeruns in limited playing time. He would come back to the Sox for the ’04 season, but only played in 30 games before being sent down to the minor league Pawtucket Red Sox. After Boston picked up first basemen Doug Mientkiewicz in the Nomar Garciaparra trade, there was no room for Daubach. He would watch from home as the Red Stockings would come back after being down 3-0 against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, then finally win their first World Series in 86 years.

He didn’t re-sign with the Red Sox for 2005, instead opting to go to the New York Mets. He would only get into 15 games, hit .120, and would retire as a player after the season. Post playing career, Daubach would go on to coach the independent league Nashua Defenders, do some radio work for local sports station WEEI, and snag a spot as a sportscaster during the 2006 World Series. Although his Red Sox career was short lived, he cherishes the time he spent playing in front of the rabid fans of Boston, and has a special place in Dirt Dawg lover’s hearts who watched the Sox during the Nomar-Pedro era.

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