Cornelius Alexander Mack
(The Tall Tactician)
born Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 150 lb.
- Debut September 11, 1886
- Final Game August 29, 1896
- Born December 22, 1862 in East Brookfield, MA USA
- Died February 8, 1956 in Philadelphia, PA USA
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 two-thirds of Mack's total.
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 manager) 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. In a historical footnote, he was the first baseball personality to be interviewed on television. On February 11, 1937, the Philco Company of Philadelphia wanted to display its new television technology, with a horizontal resolution of 441 lines. It invited selected guests to the Philadelphia Cricket Club to witness the broadcast of an interview conducted a few miles away in the company's studios, between two of the city's most famous citizens, Mack and journalist Boake Carter, displaying the huge leap in image quality over previous models. No record was kept of what was said between the two men, as journalists who attended the event were focused on the technological marvel.
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
- AL Pennants: 9 (1902, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914 & 1929-1931)
- Managed five World Series Champions with the Philadelphia Athletics (1910, 1911, 1913, 1929 & 1930)
- 100 Wins Seasons as Manager: 5 (1910, 1911 & 1929-1931)
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1937
|Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
|Philadelphia Athletics Manager
|Philadelphia Athletics Manager
|Philadelphia Athletics Manager
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
- 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
- Norman L. Macht: "Connie Mack and Wartime Baseball — 1943", in Morris Levin, ed.: From Swampoodle to South Philly: Baseball in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, The National Pastime, SABR, 2013, pp. 199-205.
- Norman L. Macht: The Grand Old Man of Baseball: Connie Mack in His Final Years, 1932-1956, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2015. ISBN 978-0-8032-3765-0
- Norman L. Macht: "Connie Mack's Income", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 44, Number 2 (Fall 2015), pp. 115-117.
- 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
- Doug Skipper: "Connie Mack", in Morris Levin, ed.: From Swampoodle to South Philly: Baseball in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, The National Pastime, SABR, 2013, pp. 127-135.
- Bryan Soderholm-Difatte: "Connie Mack's Second Great Athletics Team: Eclipsed by the Ruth-Gehrig Yankees, But Even Better", in Morris Levin, ed.: From Swampoodle to South Philly: Baseball in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, The National Pastime, SABR, 2013, pp. 178-184.
- Robert D. Warrington: "Departure Without Dignity: The Athletics Leave Philadelphia", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 39, Number 2 (Fall 2010), pp. 95-115.
- Robert D. Warrington: "The First Televised Baseball Interview", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 44, Number 2 (Fall 2015), pp. 37-42.