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Connie Mack

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1933tattoomack.jpg

Cornelius Alexander Mack
(The Tall Tactician)
born Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 150 lb.

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1937

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[edit] Biographical Information

1887 Old Judge baseball card for Connie Mack as a catcher with the Washington Nationals

Connie Mack was the longtime owner and manager of the Philadelphia Athletics. As manager, he always wore a suit in the dugout, instead of a uniform.

Mack had previously played eleven seasons in the major leagues, primarily as a catcher. He led the Players League in hit-by-pitch with 20 in 1890. Although he later managed for decades in Philadelphia, he never played in the major leagues for Philadelphia, serving instead as a player for the Washington Nationals, the Buffalo Bisons and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He got his start managing with the Pirates, and also managed four seasons in the minors with Milwaukee before beginning his Philadelphia managerial career in 1901, the first year that the new American League was a major league. He was also the team's part owner, in combination with his partner Benjamin Shibe. In 1937, he became team President, after the deaths of Ben Shibe in 1922, his son Tom in 1936, and Tom's brother John's illness. The Shibe-MacFarland family retained minority ownership in the team, while Connie Mack allocated some of his shares to his three sons and to his second wife Katherine (his first wife had passed away in 1892).

Mr. Mack - he was always Mr. Mack to his players - was the oldest manager in major league history (age 87). He also holds managerial records for seasons (53), games (7,755), wins (3,731), losses (3,948), and tenure with one club (50 seasons, 1901-1950). Until 2011, when Tony La Russa did so, no one else had even managed 5,000 major league games, less than 2/3 of Mack's total.

Bucky Harris, Washington Nationals baseball club manager, shaking hands with Connie Mack, Philadelphia Athletics manager.

His Athletics teams would win the World Series five times. His teams won the American League pennant in 1905, 1910-1911, 1913-1914 and 1929-1931. Between 1910-1914 he had the services of the famous $100,000 infield, including Eddie Collins, while in 1929-1931 he had players such as Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, Mickey Cochrane and Max Bishop. However. he was hurt financially by the Great Depression and was forced to sell his star players to meet operating expenses.

It is clear however that Connie Mack remained a manager for far too long. His teams beginning in the 1940s were always awful (finishing in the first division once in his last 17 years as maanger) and he was becoming increasingly senile while nominally the manager as coaches ran the team for him. His declining ability also affected his judgment in the front office. He feuded with his sons, leading to a costly deal to keep majority control of its Board of Directors by mortgaging Shibe Park. Lack of control over the board had already cost him, when Jimmy Dykes was named to succeed him as manager, when he had for years been grooming his son Earle to take over the job. The ballpark deal quickly became crippling for the team's finances and the remaining Macks were forced to sell to outsider Arnold Johnson after the 1954 season. Johnson moved the team to Kansas City. Connie Mack was named as the team's Honorary President and was even present at the team's inaugural game in Kansas City, but never had a say in the team from that point and died a year later.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on December 7, 1937 by the Centennial Commission. Even so, he would go on to manage for 13 more years.

His son, Earle Mack, was a major league player, coach, and manager. His second son, Roy Mack, was a senior executive with the Athletics. His third son by a second marriage, Connie Mack Jr., led the charge to have him ousted as the Athletics' President before being bought out in 1950 and moving to Florida; Mack's grandson and great grandson have both served as members of Congress, representing Florida.

"To me, the name of Connie Mack always has been synonymous with baseball, standing for everything that is best for the game he loved." - Will Harridge

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Year-by-Year Minor League Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish
1897 Milwaukee Brewers Western League 85-51 3rd
1898 Milwaukee Brewers Western League 82-57 3rd
1899 Milwaukee Brewers Western League 55-68 6th
1900 Milwaukee Brewers Western League 79-59 2nd
Preceded by
Al Buckenberger
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
1894-1896
Succeeded by
Patsy Donovan
Preceded by
N/A
Philadelphia Athletics Manager
1901-1950
Succeeded by
Jimmie Dykes

[edit] Further Reading

  • Richard Adler: Mack, McGraw and the 1913 Baseball Season, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2008.
  • Bill Kashatus: Connie Mack's '29 Triumph, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 1999.
  • Bill Kashatus: The Philadelphia Athletics, Arcadia Books, Charleston, SC, 2002.
  • Frederick G. Lieb: Connie Mack: Grand Old Man of Baseball, Kent State University Press, Kent, OGH, 2012 (originally published in 1945). ISBN 160635129X
  • Norman L. Macht: Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2007. ISBN 0803240031
  • Norman L. Macht: Connie Mack: The Turbulent and Triumphant Years, 1915-1931, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2012. ISBN 0803220391
  • Connie Mack: My 66 Years in the Big Leagues, Dover Press, Mineola, NY, 2009 (originally published in 1950). ISBN 0486471845
  • Brian A. Podoll: The Minor League Milwaukee Brewers 1859-1952, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2003.
  • John G. Robertson and Andy Saunders: A’s Bad as It Gets: Connie Mack’s Pathetic Athletics of 1916, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2014. ISBN 978-0-7864-7818-7
  • Robert D. Warrington: "Departure Without Dignity: The Athletics Leave Philadelphia", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 39, Number 2 (Fall 2010), pp. 95-115.

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