Connie Mack (baseball)

Connie Mack (baseball)

Infobox MLB retired
name=Connie Mack

birthdate=December 22, 1862
deathdate=death date and age|1956|2|8|1862|12|22
debutdate= September 11
debutyear= by|1886
debutteam= Washington Nationals
finaldate=August 29
finalteam=Pittsburgh Pirates
stat1label=Batting average
stat3label=Runs batted in
teams=As Player
* Washington Nationals (1886-1889)
* Buffalo Bisons (1890)
* Pittsburgh Pirates (1891-1896)As Manager
* Pittsburgh Pirates (1894-1896)
* Philadelphia Athletics (1901-1950)
*5x World Series champion: 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930
*American League pennant: 1902, 1905, 1914, 1931
*Managerial record: 3,731-3,948 (.486)
*Most managerial wins, losses and games managed in major league history
*Part/Full owner of Philadelphia Athletics 1901-1950
hofmethod=Veterans Committee

Cornelius Alexander Mack (December 22, 1862February 8, 1956), born Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy, was an American professional baseball player, manager, and team owner. Considered one of the greatest managers in Major League Baseball history, he holds records for wins (3,731), losses (3,948), and games managed (7,755), with his victory total being almost 1,000 more than any other manager. He managed the Philadelphia Athletics for the club's first 50 seasons of play before retiring at age 87 following the 1950 season. He was the first manager to win the World Series three times, and is the only manager to win consecutive Series on separate occasions (1910-11, 1929-30); his five Series titles remain the third most by any manager, and his nine American League pennants rank second in league history. However, constant financial struggles forced repeated rebuilding of the roster, and Mack's teams also finished in last place 17 times.

Born in East Brookfield, Massachusetts to Irish immigrants; Mack was a journeyman catcher who played 10 seasons in the National League beginning in 1886, and one in the Players League for a total of 11 seasons in the Major Leagues. His last three seasons in the National league were as a player-manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1894 to 1896, with a 149-134 (.527) record. In by|1901, he became manager, general manager and part owner of the fledgling American League's Philadelphia Athletics. When New York Giants manager John McGraw called the Athletics "a white elephant nobody wanted," Mack adopted a white elephant as the team's logo, which the Athletics have used for all but a few years since. He also cut a distinctive figure himself with his personal rejection of wearing a team uniform in favour of a business suit, tie and fedora.

He later became a full partner with Athletics owner Ben Shibe. Under an agreement with Shibe, Mack had full control over baseball matters while Shibe handled the business side. When Shibe died in by|1922, his sons took over management of the business side. When the last of Shibe's sons died in by|1936, Mack became the full owner.

Quote box
quote=I shall never forget Connie Mack's gentleness and gentility.
source=Ty Cobb, New York Times cite news |first=S. J. |last=Woolf |title=Tyrus Cobb -- Then and Now; Once the scrappiest, wiliest figure in baseball, 'The Georgia Peach' views the game as played today with mellow disdain |publisher= New York Times|page=SM17 (Magazine section) |date=September 19, 1948 ] |
On the field, Mack was quiet, even-tempered and gentlemanly, serving as a father figure to his players as much as a coach, and was universally addressed as "Mr. Mack." He always called his players by their given names. Chief Bender, for instance, was "Albert" to Mack.

Veteran players welcomed the opportunity to play for Mack. The by|1927 Athletics, though nowhere near as famous as the New York Yankees team of the same year, was probably one of the best second-place teams in history, featuring several future Hall of Fame players including veterans Ty Cobb, Zack Wheat and Eddie Collins as well as players such as Lefty Grove, Al Simmons and Mickey Cochrane in their prime and rookie Jimmie Foxx. Once, when he visited the mound to remove the notoriously hot-tempered Grove from a game, Grove said, "Go take a shit," when Mack held out his hand for the ball. Mack looked Grove straight in the eye and calmly said, "You go take a shit, Robert." It was one of the few times he was ever known to use a profanity; usually the strongest thing he ever said was "My gracious!"

Mack was also tight-fisted. Seeing baseball as a business, he once confided that it was more profitable to have a team get off to a hot start, then ultimately finish fourth. "A team like that will draw well enough during the first part of the season to show a profit for the year, and you don't have to give the players raises when they don't win," he said. The most famous example of Mack's stinginess came on July 10, by|1932, when the Athletics played a one-game series with the Cleveland Indians (the trip necessitated by Pennsylvania's blue laws against Sunday baseball). To save train fare, Mack only brought two pitchers. The starting pitcher was knocked out of the game in the first inning, leaving only knuckleballing relief pitcher Eddie Rommel. Rommel pitched 17 innings as the Indians pounded out an American League record 33 hits for the game, but won the game, 18-17. It should be noted, though, that the Athletics had, in the three days previous, played three doubleheaders at home--and faced another home doubleheader the following day.

Mack also had his generous side for players in need. For instance, he kept Bender on the team payroll as a scout, minor league manager or coach from by|1926 until Mack himself retired as owner-manager in by|1950. Simmons was a coach for many years after his retirement as a player.

Mack managed the Athletics through the 1950 season (3,582-3,814, .484), when he retired at age 87. His 50-year tenure as Athletics manager is the most ever for a coach or manager in North American professional sports with just one team and will likely never be threatened. He remained owner and president (though his sons took an increasing role during this time) until the Athletics moved to Kansas City, Missouri after the 1954 season.

Through his unequaled 53 seasons as a manager, he won nine pennants, appeared in eight World Series and won five of them. He built two dynasties: from 1910-1914 (which featured Mack's famous "$100,000 infield" of Collins, Home Run Baker, Jack Barry and Stuffy McInnis); and again from 1929-1931 (which featured Hall of Famers Grove, Cochrane, Foxx and Simmons). His 1911 and 1929 teams are considered by many to be among the greatest baseball teams of all time, and his 3,731 lifetime wins are a major league record—as are his 3,948 losses and 7,755 games managed.

Mack twice dismantled his dynasties. He broke up his first great team out of outrage when some of his star players started signing lucrative contracts with upstart Federal League teams. They reportedly "laid down" during the 1914 World Series, in which the heavily favored A's were swept by the Boston Braves, a team that had surged from last place on the Fourth of July to the National League pennant. Mack sold, traded or released most of the stars who didn't jump (Collins being one of the notable exceptions). The collapse was swift and total; the team crashed from 99 wins in 1914 to 43 wins in 1915 and last place. His 1916 team, with a 36-117 record, is often considered the worst team in American League history, and its .235 winning percentage is still the lowest ever for a modern (post-1900) big-league team. All told, the A's finished last seven years in a row from 1915 to 1921, and did not contend again until 1925.

He broke up his second great team due to financial difficulties due to the Great Depression. He had every intention of building another winner. However, unlike most of his fellow owners, he had no other income outside the A's, so dwindling attendance left him without the extra money he needed to sign stars. He also never invested any money in a farm system. While the Athletics finished second in 1932 and third in 1933, they fell into the cellar in 1935 and finished either last or next-to-last all but once through 1946. Aside from 1948 and 1949, Mack's teams were never again a factor past June.

Mack was also known by the nickname "The Tall Tactician" and, in his later years, the "Grand Old Man of Baseball."

The Philadelphia stadium previously called Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium in 1953 (starting in 1909, it was home to the Athletics, and starting 1938, it was also home to the Phillies, then from 1955 to 1970 was home to the Phillies alone after the Athletics moved to Kansas City).

Mack's son Earle Mack played several games for the A's between 1910 and 1914, and also managed the team for parts of the 1937 and 1939 seasons when his father was too ill to do so. In more recent years, his descendants have taken to politics: Mack's grandson Connie Mack III was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida from 1983 to 1989 and the United States Senate from 1989 to 2001, and great-grandson Connie Mack IV was elected to the House from Florida's 14th Congressional District.

Mack was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937. On August 26, 2008, Connie Mack was the first person inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (18 W. 33rd St. in New York City). He is mentioned in the poem "Lineup for Yesterday" by Ogden Nash:

Quote box2 |width= 18em |border= 4px |align= center |bgcolor= #FAF0E6 |halign= center | title="Lineup for Yesterday"|quote="Q is for Don Quixote" "Cornelius Mack;" "Neither Yankees nor years" "Can halt his attack."
source= — "Ogden Nash", "Sport" magazine (January 1949) [cite web|title=Baseball Almanac|url=|accessdate=2008-01-23 ]


External links

* [] - career managing record and playing statistics

NAME = Mack, Connie
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Mack, Cornelius Alexander
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Baseball manager and owner
DATE OF BIRTH = December 22, 1862
PLACE OF BIRTH = East Brookfield, Massachusetts
DATE OF DEATH = February 8, 1956
PLACE OF DEATH = Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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