The 5-ft 7½ inches 155 pound James Pepper Austin was born in Swansea, Wales and came to America at age 8. His family settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where young Jimmy Austin watched the diamond exploits of local boys, Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, plus star players Tommy Leach and Bill Bradley.
Jimmy Austin started playing semipro ball at age 24 in Warren, Ohio, in 1903. He went on to Dayton of the Central League and was brought up to the New York Highlanders (later nicknamed the Yankees) in 1909. He always recalled he was treated well by his club’s veterans, among them Wee Willie Keeler, Kid Elberfeld, and Jack Chesbro. 'I got a thrill just being on the same team with them,' said Austin. 'You know, you hear all that stuff about the old-timers being so rough on rookies in those days, well, you can’t prove it by me.'
Playing in baseball's dead ball era, with a heavier ball and on a hard infield surface which was laden with stones, pebbles, and even glass and when the opposing players slid into fielders with spikes flying high, Jimmy Austin was a well-regarded fielder and team leader. He played 18 years in the majors, the first 2 in New York and the last 18 in St. Louis with the Browns. Jimmy Austin played 1,433 games at third base, 100 at shortstop, 9 at 2B and one as a catcher.
Jimmy Austin told sports writer Lawrence Ritter, 'Golly. If I had it to do all over the only thing I’d do different would be to start sooner and stop later. It was great.'
A likeable person, Jimmy Austin went on to play for 18 years in the American League (including four years in which he played in only one game while coaching). He coached for the St. Louis Browns from 1923 through 1932 and for the White Sox from 1933 through 1940.
For complete stats of all baseball players, please see Players section on our home page.