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James Thompson "Doc" Prothro Sr. (July 16, 1893 – October 14, 1971) was an infielder and manager in American Major League Baseball. Prothro was so nicknamed because he was a practicing dentist before signing his first professional baseball contract at age 26.[1] His son, Tommy Prothro, became a successful coach in U.S. college football (at Oregon State University and UCLA) and, during the 1970s, led the Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Chargers of the National Football League.[1]

Doc Prothro
Third baseman / Manager
Born: (1893-07-16)July 16, 1893
Memphis, Tennessee
Died: October 14, 1971(1971-10-14) (aged 78)
Memphis, Tennessee
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 26, 1920, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
September 24, 1926, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
Batting average.318
Home runs0
Runs batted in81
Managerial record138–320
Winning %.301
As player

As manager

University of Tennessee Junior Dental class, 1917. Prothro is listed, but not identified, as being in the photo.

A Memphis native, Doc Prothro attended the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He was a right-handed hitting third baseman and shortstop for the Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds (1920; 1923–26), batting .318 with no home runs and 81 RBI in 180 games.[2] He was discovered by baseball promoter Joe Engel, who managed the Chattanooga Lookouts at Engel Stadium.[1] In 1928, Prothro became a manager in the Southern Association, then one of the higher-level minor leagues, leading the Memphis Chicks and Little Rock Travelers to four SA pennants through 1938.

In 1939, Prothro replaced Jimmie Wilson as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. In his three full seasons (1939-41) at the helm of the Phils, the club remained locked in the National League cellar — losers of 106, 103 and 111 games. Prothro's career mark of 138–320, a .301 winning percentage, the worst record in major league history for managers with 400 games managed.

Prothro was fired after the 1941 season and replaced by Hans Lobert and thereafter returned to the Southern Association, where he piloted the Chicks from 1942 to 1947. After he retired as Memphis' manager, he remained active as a co-owner of the club.

Prothro died in Memphis in 1971 at the age of 78.


  1. ^ a b c "Nowlin, Bill, Doc Prothro, Society for American Baseball Research Biography Project".
  2. ^ Career statistics from Baseball Reference

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