A 1915 Coca-Cola ad featuring Albert “Cozy” Dolan of the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Like chooses like–no wonder the ‘spark plug of (Manager Miller) Huggins‘ machine’ likes this live wire beverage.”
Dolan, a 32-year-old utility infielder and outfielder who had never appeared in more than 100 games in a season before 1914, was an unlikely spokesman, given that most Coca-Cola ads of the period featured the game’s biggest stars.
He stole 42 bases for the Cardinals in 1914, but he hit just .240. In 1915, he hit .280 and stole 17 bases in 111 games.
While hardly great numbers, Dolan’s time in St. Louis was a huge success when compared with his disastrous 35-game tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Dolan was traded to the Pirates by the Philadelphia Phillies for third baseman Bobby Byrne and pitcher Howie Camnitz in August of 1913 and became the team’s starting third baseman but hit .203, had a fielding percentage of .937 and became the target of angry fans.
Richard Guy of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described his time with the Pirates:
“He looked bad and he was object of revile by those who criticize, and he failed.”
Joe Kelly of The Pittsburgh Chronicle said:
“No player ever was ridden harder by players and fans than was the former International League speed boy when he performed at Forbes Field. Perhaps few who held down a berth regularly ever deserved more criticism, for his performances were on the awful order. But it’s a hard job to make good when hoots and howls follow every poor play, and the few successful ones are greeted with ironical applause. Dolan got off wrong at Forbes Field and he seemed to be sensitive, too sensitive, to the crowd’s attitude. There comes to mind a scene last summer when the Pirates were leaving their club house. They came out in twos and threes, laughing and joking, but among the first was Dolan, all alone. His face was strained and drawn and worried. He had failed that day, and he knew it…The fans poured their criticism on his head, and he sat tight and took it without a whimper. There is something in a guy like that, or the major league managers wouldn’t keep him sticking around.”
Dolan stopped “sticking around” after 1915. Huggins released his “spark plug” at the end of the season. He returned to the minor leagues, playing three seasons in the American Association, then became a coach for the New York Giants in 1922.