Benny Kauff Essentials
Bats: L Throws: L
68 Weight: 157
Born: 1 5, 1890 in Pomeroy, OH USA
Died: 11 17 1961 in Columbus, OH USA
Last Game: 7/2/1920
Full Name: Benjamin Michael Kauff
Bennie Kauff. Kauff was known as “Ty Cobb of the Feds”. After playing 5 games for the MLB NY Highlanders in 1912 and 2 seasons in the minors, Kauff jumped to the rogue and ill-fated Federal League in 1914. In the two seasons of the league’s existence, he was the batting champion in both. In 1914 he batted .370, regarded as the highest average to date by a rookie (he was 24). He played for the Indianapolis Hoosiers and the Brooklyn Tip-Tops.
After the league folded, he was purchased by the NY Giants for $35,000 ($806,000 today). He served in WWI, returned to the Giants and led the NL in extra base hits in 1919.
But in late 1919, he and his brother were implicated in a car theft. As a result, newly appointed Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, to whom the owners had given absolute authority and was charged with cleaning up the league after the Black Sox Scandal, suspended Kauff pending his trial. After presenting evidence at trial that he was deceived and was at dinner with his wife at the time of the heist, he was acquitted. However, Landis refused reinstatement, claiming that his acquittal “smelled to high heaven” and was “one of the worst miscarriages of justice that ever came under my observation”. Kauff was unsuccessful in his appeal in court for reinstatement and lost his appeal of the court’s decision, although the appellate judge found that an apparent injustice had been committed.
Kauff never played again, but served as a scout for 22 years. He died in 1961 at the age of 71.