Started playing in the City League in 1947 at age 16....Played in Europe from 1951-52….Played at C.P.S. in 1954 and was an All—Evergreen selection....Played for the Stanley Shoemen in 1955 and 1956....In '56 when Stanley's won the national championship, "Mac" was chosen to the All-Tournament team....Also played for Hygrades state softball team in '57, for Woodworth Contractors in '58 when they went to the nationals, and for the Cheney Studs when they were national runner-ups in 1959 and 1963 and won the national title in 1960....Inducted into the Pacific Northwest Old-timers Hall of Fame in 1984....Baseball umpire for 18 years....Scouted for the NY Yankees from 197 2-78 and currently scouting for the Minnesota Twins.
Frank "Bush" Tobin was born in San Jose and passed away in Tacoma in 1976. Tobin was a plumber and got to know Jerry "Cook" Murphy's father who was also a member of the Plumber's Union and worked as an inspector for the City of Tacoma with the Health Department. Their friendship was a good one and because of Bush's extensive career as a catcher in baseball he was more than happy to teach young Murphy the right way to play the position.
Frank Tobin had a long and successful professional baseball career from 1920 until his final pinch hit appearance – he collected a single - for Seattle in the Pacific Coast League in 1944. He was 50 years old at the time.
Tobin, nicknamed "Bush" because he never made it out of the minor leagues, was born in 1893 in California. He received his first professional experience in 1920, splitting a season between Vancouver of the Pacific International League and Seattle of the Pacific Coast League. A catcher, he played in the PCL with either Seattle or Portland from 1920-26.
Next came stops with several teams in the Texas League. His best season came in 1930 when he his .338 with eight homers for Dallas. He came back to the Pacific Coast League for stints with Hollywood and Seattle.
Tobin's connection to the Tacoma area came as a semi-pro player in the Northwest League in 1932 and again from 1935-39. In the book, "Playground to the Pros: An Illustrated History of Sports in Tacoma-Pierce County," it is noted, "When Tobin was catching, it is rumored that his voiced carried to Fife!" He later coached for the McKinley Hill in the City League in the 1950s.
As Jerry remembers, "I was about 14 years old and we went down to the Sound End Boys Club to practice. If I didn't catch the ball dead in front of my body, "Tob" was all over me. He made me shift my feet and move my entire body to get entirely in front of a ball to block it."
"He taught me the right way to play the game," recalled Murphy, "but he also taught me a few tricks of the trade. If there was a play at the plate I was taught to toss off your mask and throw it out into the third base path so the runner would have to deal with going around it. If you thought it might be a close play then you were supposed to toss it about three feet along the third base line but only about 3-4 feet in front of home plate so the runner had to think about sliding into the mask first."
"Frank was a tough old ballplayer. H was about 6'4" at least. On his ring finger at the knuckle it made a 45 degree angle to the right. They never set it when it broke," according to Cook.
"Bush", so named because he never made it out of the minor leagues, was always telling me stories. Dick Pease was umpiring one day and Frank, who was catching, was getting made because Pease wouldn't give them the low strike. Frank yelled, "c'mon, get that ball off the ground so they can hit it. Pease started shaking his finger at Tob and they went chin-to-chin on that one," said Murphy. Murphy added, "Then there was the time where a throw came in from the outfield and the ball hit his mask and stuck in between the bars."
According to Murphy, Tobin caught the famed Carl Hubbell and Dizzy Dean while they were on their way up to the "bigs". In the Texas League the games were at night due to the humidity. One morning Tobin came down in the hotel lobby only to find Dean in his full uniform. When asked what he was doing Dizzy replied, "I'm just giving these fine folks from Texas a chance to look at me because I won't be here next year." And he was right-he DID make the "bigs".
Bush told another story to Murphy about when his team was playing in the finals one weekend. Their pitcher was Al Libke Sr. whose best pitch was a great drop ball. Well, the night before the team dug up the mound and raised the pitching rubber another 12 inches to make Libke that much more effective. It was. It worked. They won.
"The first time I ever got to see the inside of a professional clubhouse was in 1975 when Bush took me and my Dad to watch the Seattle Rainiers play at Sick's Stadium. Bush was friends with a lot of the players and manager Fred Hutchinson and they after the game they let me walk around in the clubhouse. I can remember a couple of stories that I overhead-but I know that I would be in big trouble if I ever told those stories outside the clubhouse. I'll keep those memories of my friendship with "Tob" to myself, "said Murphy.