Joe McCarthy (manager)

Joe McCarthy (manager)
Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy as Red Sox manager
Born: April 21, 1887(1887-04-21)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: January 13, 1978(1978-01-13) (aged 90)
Buffalo, New York
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
April 13, 1926 for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
June 18, 1950 for the Boston Red Sox
Career statistics
Games     3487
Win-Loss Record     2125-1333
Winning %     .615
Career highlights and awards
  • 7x World Series champion (1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943)
  • 1 other AL Championship (1942)
  • 1 NL Championship (1929)
  • Yankees all-time leader in managerial wins with 1460
  • Highest winning percentage of all time by a manager with .615
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1957
Vote     Veterans Committee

Joseph Vincent McCarthy (April 21, 1887 – January 13, 1978) was a US manager in Major League Baseball, most renowned for his leadership of the "Bronx Bombers" teams of the New York Yankees from 1931 to 1946. The first manager to win pennants with both National and American League teams, he won nine league titles overall and seven World Series championships – a record tied only by Casey Stengel. McCarthy was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957.

McCarthy's career winning percentages in both the regular season (.615) and postseason (.698, all in the World Series) are the highest in major league history. His 2,125 career victories rank eighth all-time in major league history for managerial wins, and he ranks first all-time for the Yankees with 1,460 wins.


Playing years

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he grew up idolizing Athletics manager Connie Mack, McCarthy was among a handful of successful major league managers who had never played in the majors. After attending Niagara University, he had a 15-year minor league career from 1907 to 1921, primarily as a second baseman with Toledo, Buffalo and Louisville; but his best chance at playing in the majors dissolved in 1916 with the demise of the Federal League.

Team success

After a brief managing stint in 1913 while playing in Wilkes-Barre, he resumed his managing career with Louisville in 1919, leading the team to American Association pennants in 1921 and 1925 before being hired to manage the Chicago Cubs for the 1926 season. He turned the club around, guiding them to the 1929 NL title, but was fired near the end of the 1930 season. He was then rehired to manage the 1931 season for the New York Yankees.

With the Yankees, his strict but fair managing style helped to solidify the team's place as the dominant franchise in baseball, with a World Series title in 1932, and four consecutively from 1936 to 1939; the Yankees became only the third team – and the first in the AL – to win four straight pennants, and the first to win more than two World Series in a row. McCarthy struggled to control his emotions at the moving testimonial held for Lou Gehrig at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. After describing Gehrig as "the finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen that baseball has ever known", McCarthy could stand it no longer. Turning tearfully to Gehrig, he said, "Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you [...] told me you were quitting as a ballplayer because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that."[citation needed]

Despite the loss of Gehrig, the Yankees went on to win three more AL crowns from 1941 to 1943 before McCarthy resigned in May 1946, partially due to conflict with new club operator Larry MacPhail. McCarthy returned as manager of the Boston Red Sox from 1948 to June 1950, but was unable to capture a pennant despite reaching a one-game playoff with the Cleveland Indians in 1948.

Coaching style

Despite his teams' great performance, McCarthy was not without his detractors, who believed he was simply fortunate enough to be provided with great talent and was not a strong game tactician. During his peak period from 1936 to 1943, when the Yankees won seven pennants in eight seasons, White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes described McCarthy as a "push-button" manager. Yet McCarthy was an outstanding teacher and developer of talent, and was particularly adept at handling temperamental players such as Babe Ruth, who had hoped to become New York's manager and resented a team "outsider" being hired.

While managing, McCarthy utilized a low-key approach, never going to the mound to remove a pitcher or arguing with an umpire except on a point of the rules, preferring to stay at his seat in the center of the dugout. He also declined to wear a numbered uniform with the Yankees and Red Sox.

In order to draw attention to his presumed masterful leadership of the Yankees, McCarthy was given the nickname of "Marse Joe" by sportswriters. "Marse" is a Southern English rendition of the word "master".[1] McCarthy's success throughout his career was such that in 32 years of managing, his 1922 Louisville club was the only team which finished either with a losing record or below fourth place.

McCarthy was named Major League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News in 1936 – the first year the award was given – and again in 1938 and 1943.


Joe McCarthy's Plaque in Monument Park.

In a 1969 poll by the Baseball Writers Association of America to commemorate the sport's professional centennial, McCarthy finished third in voting for the greatest manager in history, behind John McGraw and Casey Stengel. In a similar BBWAA poll in 1997 to select an All-Century team, he finished second behind Stengel. On April 29, 1976, the Yankees dedicated a plaque for their Monument Park to McCarthy. The plaque calls him "One of baseball's most beloved and respected leaders."

McCarthy died of pneumonia at age 90 in Buffalo, New York, and is buried in Mount Olivet (Roman Catholic) Cemetery in Kenmore, New York.

Ten Commandments

McCarthy's "10 Commandments for Success in the Majors":

  • Nobody ever became a ballplayer by walking after a ball.
  • You will never become a .300 hitter unless you take the bat off your shoulder.
  • An outfielder who throws in back of a runner is locking the barn after the horse is stolen.
  • Keep your head up and you may not have to keep it down.
  • When you start to slide, SLIDE. He who changes his mind may have to change a good leg for a bad one.
  • Do not alibi on bad hops. Anyone can field the good ones.
  • Always run them out. You never can tell.
  • Do not quit.
  • Try not to find too much fault with the umpires. You cannot expect them to be as perfect as you are.
  • A pitcher who hasn't control hasn't anything.

Source: Baseball's Greatest Managers (1961).


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
George Gibson
Chicago Cubs Manager
Succeeded by
Rogers Hornsby
Preceded by
Bob Shawkey
New York Yankees Manager
Succeeded by
Bill Dickey
Preceded by
Joe Cronin
Boston Red Sox Manager
Succeeded by
Steve O'Neill

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