Jake Daubert was thought of primarily as a glove man his first few years in the league – called the “Hal Chase of the National League.” Unlike the vile and crooked Chase, Daubert was a hard-working man of integrity.
As a boy, Daubert was pulled out of school and put to work in the Pennsylvania mines shortly after the death of his mother. He toiled in the grit and the black for more than a decade, first as a “breaker boy” picking shards of slate from jagged mounds of coal, and later as a miner, descending into the pitch with pick and bucket. The mines took his brother’s life, and rendered his father a near-cripple. Daubert never forgot this filthy, harrowing work.
He didn’t make his major league debut until the age of 26, but was immediately recognized as a deft touch around the bag. By his own admission, he wasn’t a natural hitter. “I used to dream about hitting .300 in the Majors, but I never expected to get there,” said the earnest Daubert in 1912. “Two seasons I hit for .307, but I couldn’t believe I deserved that average.”
Daubert exceeded his dreams by hitting .350 to lead the league in 1913. He defended his batting title in 1914 (hitting .329), and finished his 15-year career with a .303 lifetime average. His driving ambition was to succeed in the major leagues so his own son could avoid the mines. He didn’t deserve the MVP in 1913 (Philadelphia’s “Cactus Gavvy” Cravath was clearly the league’s best hitter, and he played for a much better team), but there was never a player who was easier to root for than Daubert. 
Sadly, Daubert took ill and died at the age of 40. He was an active major-leaguer at the time of his passing.
From Baseball's Most Baffling MVP Ballots, ©2016 Jeremy Lehrman. McFarland & Company, Inc., Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640. www.mcfarlandpub.com