Hubert Benjamin "Dutch" Leonard, (April 16, 1892- July 11, 1952) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who had an 11-year career from 1913-1921, 1924-1925. He played for the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers, and holds the major league record for the lowest single-season ERA of all time — 0.96 in 1914. Another pitcher, also called Dutch Leonard, pitched for the National League around a decade later.
A full feud broke when Cobb took over as the Tigers' manager in 1921. Cobb took pleasure in fining Leonard, who enjoyed late nights, for violating curfew. At one point in the 1921 season, Leonard was 11-13, despite a respectable ERA; Cobb left his office door open so that Leonard could hear him on the phone, faking a call: "I'm putting that damned Dutchman on waivers." (Al Stump, Cobb, p. 140) In 1922, Leonard and Cobb fought over how to pitch to George Sisler and Tris Speaker. Leonard cursed Cobb to his face during the dispute, and Leonard ended up quitting the team in 1921, calling Cobb a "horse's ass." (Al Stump, Cobb, p. 340)
When Leonard returned to the Tigers in 1924 after two seasons in the San Joaquin Valley League, the feud with Cobb resumed. By the middle of the 1925 season, Leonard was 11-3, but that didn't stop Cobb from accusing Leonard of being a shirker. In front of the team, Cobb berated Leonard: "Don't you dare turn bolshevik on me. I'm the boss here." (Richard Bak, Peach, p. 147) Leonard accused Cobb of over-working him, and Cobb responded in July 1925 by leaving Leonard on the mound for an entire game despite Leonard's giving up 20 hits and taking a 12-4 beating. After that, Leonard refused to pitch for Cobb. As a result, the Tigers put Leonard on waivers, and when no team picked him up, his baseball career came to an end. (Al Stump, Cobb, p. 364)
Rumors began to spread that Leonard was claiming he "had something" on Cobb. Leonard was quoted as saying, "I am going to expose that bastard Cobb, I'll ruin him." (Al Stump, Cobb, p. 371) And in 1926 Leonard sought his revenge, contacting Kenesaw Mountain Landis and accusing Cobb of being involved in gambling and/or fixing games with Tris Speaker. Leonard claimed that Speaker and Cobb had conspired before a 1919 Tigers-Indians game to allow the Tigers to win, enabling the team to reach 3rd place and qualify for World Series money. To corroborate his story, Leonard produced letters written at the time (one by Cobb and one by Smoky Joe Wood) that obliquely referred to gambling or game-fixing. When Landis made Leonard's lettera public in December 1926, it touched off a scandal.
Cobb was called to testify at a hearing before Commissioner Landis, and denied Leonard's allegations. Cobb noted that Leonard "had the reputation in the past of being a bolshevik on the club." (Al Stump, Cobb, p. 382) Leonard declined to appear and testify at the hearing, saying he feared a physical attack from "that wild man." In the absence of Leonard's testimony, Landis found Cobb and Speaker not guilty.