Max Carey

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Max George Carey

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1961

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Never run the bases with your head down - keep your head up and see what is going on. Base running judgment comes from the eyes. Use them! And don't be sloppy. Keep your uniform looking nice. Be a gentleman on and off the field." - Max Carey


Hall of Fame outfielder Max Carey was one of the most prolific base stealers of his era and perhaps the greatest baserunner in the history of the National League.

Born Maximilian George Carnarius, Carey was born and raised in Indiana. He studied to become a minister before embarking on a baseball career. He began his pro career with the South Bend Greens of the Central League in 1909. He hit just .158 in 48 games in his first season but improved to .294 for South Bend in 1910 before being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went 3-for-6 in his first taste of big league ball with the Pirates and never returned to the minors.

Carey became the Pittsburgh's regular center fielder in 1911, hitting .258 while stealing 27 bases that summer. The next season, his bat perked up, hitting .302 while scoring 114 runs and stealing 45 bases. In 1913, he stole 61 bases to lead the National League for the first of ten times in his career, while also pacing the circuit with 99 runs scored. In 1914, he led the NL with 17 triples, and he recorded a career-best 63 steals in 1916. Max was adept at working his way on base as well, pacing the senior circuit with 62 walks in 1918 and again with 80 in 1922. After an abbreviated 1919 season, with the Deadball Era having come to a close, Carey hit over .300 several times in the early 1920s. He reached double digits in home runs for the only time in 1922, leading the league with 19 triples in 1923 while crafting a .308/.388/.452 line. He put together his finest year in 1925, hitting .343/.418/.491 as a 35 year-old while leading the NL in steals for the final time with 46. The Pirates won the pennant that season and he hit .458 in the World Series against the Washington Senators. Facing Walter Johnson in Game 7, he had three doubles, a single, and a stolen base, while scoring three times, and Pittsburgh won the crown. Carey struggled in 1926, hitting just .222 in 86 games for the Pirates before being sold to the Brooklyn Robins. He bounced back in 1927, hitting .266 while stealing 32 bases, but retired in 1929 after playing just 19 games.

Bill McKechnie and Dodgers manager Max Carey in 1932 (Brooklyn politician in the middle)

After his playing days, Carey was a Pirates coach in 1930 and skipper of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932 and 1933. He later was a manager in the AAGPBL, guiding the Milwaukee Chicks to the 1944 title and later piloting the Fort Wayne Daisies in 1950-51. He also served as president of that league from 1944 to 1949.

Carey was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1961 and inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.

Career Analysis[edit]

Carey's line of .285/.361/.386 is not overly impressive for a Hall of Famer, but three other things need to be considered:

1) Carey won an NL record 10 stolen base titles (only Rickey Henderson led his league more often). He once scored 5 runs in a game without picking up a hit. He is the all-time NL leader in steals of home with 33 (only Ty Cobb had more in a career). We lack caught stealing data for much of Carey's career, but he still made the Guinness Book of World Records for his 1922 season: 51 steals in 53 tries, a record still unmatched despite much higher steal success rates in later decades. He also once reached base 9 times in a game.

2) Carey was a great defensive center fielder. He ranks among the top 10 all-time in chances per game in the outfield, 7th in outfield assists and 3rd in double plays by an outfielder (behind only Tris Speaker and Cobb). In 2000, Total Baseball ranked him 16th all-time in fielding wins, regardless of position; among outfielders only Speaker and Richie Ashburn were higher.

3) The bulk of his career was in the deadball era, making his stats appear lesser in relation to players from higher-offense eras.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL At Bats Leader (1913 & 1914)
  • NL Runs Scored Leader (1913)
  • 2-time NL Triples Leader (1914 & 1923)
  • 2-time NL Bases on Balls Leader (1918 & 1922)
  • 10-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (1913, 1915-1920 & 1922-1925)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 5 (1912 & 1922-1925)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1922)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 6 (1913, 1916, 1918, 1920, 1922 & 1923)
  • Won a World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1925
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1961

Preceded by
Wilbert Robinson
Brooklyn Dodgers Manager
Succeeded by
Casey Stengel

Records Held[edit]

  • Runs, switch hitter, season, 140, 1922
  • Times reached base, extra inning game, 9, July 7, 1922
  • Most times two hits in an inning in a game, twice, June 22, 1925 (tied)

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1932 Brooklyn Dodgers National League 81-73 3rd Brooklyn Dodgers
1933 Brooklyn Dodgers National League 65-88 6th Brooklyn Dodgers
1940 Miami Wahoos Florida East Coast League 42-71 6th none
1944 Milwaukee Chicks All-American Girls Professional Baseball League 31-27, 40-19 3rd, 1st N/A League Champs
1950 Fort Wayne Daisies All-American Girls Professional Baseball League 62-43 3rd N/A Lost Championship Series
1951 Fort Wayne Daisies All-American Girls Professional Baseball League 34-17, 33-19 3rd, 3rd N/A Lost in 1st round
1955 Cordele Orioles Georgia-Florida League 6th Baltimore Orioles replaced Lloyd Brown
1956 Louisville Colonels American Association 15-27 8th Washington Senators replaced Red Marion (45-56) on July 25

Related Sites[edit]