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Jake Atz

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John Jacob Atz
possibly born Jacob Henry Atz

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9½", Weight 150 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

One of the most successful minor league managers in history, Jake Atz's early life is unknown. Atz claimed to have been born as John Jacob Zimmerman and that he changed his name when players on his club were paid alphabetically - and the money ran out before it reached the Zs. He is listed in most places as John Jacob Atz but his wife listed him as Jacob Henry Atz and his son as Jacob Henry Atz Jr.

Atz began his professional baseball career with the 1901 Raleigh Senators and then was bought by the New Orleans Pelicans. He initially refused to report but New Orleans manager Abner Powell convinced him when he told him that the salary would be $125 a month, far more than Atz expected. He played three games for the 1902 Washington Senators, getting one hit. He then moved on to the Albany Senators, Troy Trojans, Memphis Egyptians, Portland, OR and the Pelicans. In 1907, Atz led the Southern Association with 158 hits for the Pelicans. That same year he married Doris Kalman, with whom he had two children. The Chicago White Sox bought him that year along with Moxie Manuel from the Pelicans. He was a backup infielder for the '08 Sox and was the starting second baseman of the 1909 White Sox, hitting .236/.309/.299, near league-average for a player in that extreme pitcher's era and pitcher's park. In one game, he tried to get hit by a pitch from Walter Johnson and badly injured his hip. In his major league career, he batted .218/.304/.263 and fielded .951.

Atz went to the Providence Grays in 1910 and hit .254, second on the last-place club. He slugged .282 and stole 19 bases. During the '11 season, Atz replaced Jimmy Collins as the Providence manager. He hit .284/~.351/.340 with 70 runs as he again was one of the better hitters on a last-place club. In 1912, Jake was no longer managing, Providence was still in last and he produced at a .261/~.351/.338 clip with 85 runs, 74 walks and 19 steals. He tied for third in the International League in walks.

Atz then returned to New Orleans. In 1914, he became the manager of the Fort Worth Panthers and he would guide them until 1929, and returning for one year in 1933, leading them to pennants every year from 1919-1925. Atz spent 22 years managing in the Texas League, a league record; his teams had the most first-place finishes in TL history and he was on the winning end of the Dixie Series the most times. Atz briefly lost Fort Worth in '16 when owner Frank Weaver felt he was leaving in an ineffective pitcher too long and removed the pitcher after Jake refused. Atz was hired by the Galveston Pirates for the remainder of the year before the minority owners bought out Weaver and rehired Atz.

Overall, he was a minor league manager for 27 years from 1911-1941, compiling a 1,972-1,619 record. As of 2005, he was 12th all-time in Minor League Wins by a Manager.

Atz also managed the Dallas Steers (1930), Shreveport Sports (1931), New Orleans Pelicans (1932), Tulsa Oilers (1934), Galveston Buccaneers (mid-1936), Harlingen Hubs (1938), Henderson Oilers (1938-1939, where his son Jake Atz Jr. was business manager) and he was an umpire in the TL. His last managerial role was with the Winston-Salem Twins in 1941. Four years later, he died of pancreatic cancer. In 1963, he was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

Main source: The Big Book of Jewish Baseball by Peter Horvitz and Joachim Horvitz

[edit] Year-by-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Playoffs Notes
1911 Providence Grays Eastern League 39-69 8th none replaced Jimmy Collins (15-29) on June 1
1914 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 29-34 5th none replaced William Nance (32-33) on July 7
1915 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 50-41 3rd none replaced William Nance (31-31) on June 15
1916 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 46-34 -- -- replaced by Otto McIvor on July 4
1917 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 90-71 2nd none
1918 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 47-39 2nd League suspended operations on July 7
1919 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 94-60 1st none League Champs
1920 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 108-40 1st none League Champs
1921 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 107-51 1st none League Champs
1922 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 109-46 1st none League Champs
1923 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 103-48 1st none League Champs
1924 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 109-41 1st none League Champs
1925 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 103-48 1st League Champs
1926 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 83-73 3rd none
1927 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 77-79 4th none
1928 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 83-73 3rd
1929 Fort Worth Panthers Texas League 41-39 -- -- replaced by Frank Snyder on July 1
1930 Dallas Steers Texas League 58-93 8th
1931 Shreveport Sports Texas League 66-94 6th
1932 New Orleans Pelicans Southern Association 66-84 6th none
1933 Fort Worth Cats Texas League 49-66 7th replaced Walter Holke (14-22) on May 18
1934 Tulsa Oilers Texas League 77-75 5th
1936 Galveston Buccaneers Texas League 42-69 8th replaced Jack Mealey (15-27) on May 29
1938 Harlingen Hubs Texas Valley League 84-53 2nd League Champs
1939 Henderson Oilers East Texas League 85-55 1st Lost League Finals
1940 Henderson Oilers East Texas League 79-55 2nd Lost in 1st round
1941 Winston-Salem Twins Piedmont League 54-82 8th

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