Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball

Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball

by Norman L Macht
     
 

Connie Mack (1862–1956) was the Grand Old Man of baseball and one of the game’s first true celebrities. This book, spanning the first fifty-two years of Mack’s life, through 1914, covers his experiences as player, manager, and club owner and will stand as the definitive biography of baseball’s most legendary and beloved figure. 

Overview


Connie Mack (1862–1956) was the Grand Old Man of baseball and one of the game’s first true celebrities. This book, spanning the first fifty-two years of Mack’s life, through 1914, covers his experiences as player, manager, and club owner and will stand as the definitive biography of baseball’s most legendary and beloved figure. 
 
Norman L. Macht chronicles Mack’s little-known beginnings. He tells how Mack, a school dropout at fourteen, created strategies for winning baseball and principles for managing men long before there were notions of defining such subjects. And he details how Mack, a key figure in the launching of the American League in 1901, won six of the league’s first fourteen pennants while serving as manager, treasurer, general manager, traveling secretary, and public relations and scouting director (all at the same time) for the Philadelphia Athletics.
 
This book brings to life the unruly origins of baseball as a sport and a business. It also provides the first complete and accurate picture of a character who was larger than life and yet little known: the tricky, rule-bending catcher; the peppery field leader and fan favorite; the hot-tempered young manager. Illustrated with family photographs never before published, it affords unique insight into a colorful personality who helped shape baseball as we know it today.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Seeking to produce an authoritative biography of the great Philadelphia Athletic owner-manager, Macht examines Mack's early life, playing career, and first years as a Major League skipper. While a mammoth undertaking, this book covers only the period through the first of Mack's great dynasties with the Philadelphia Athletics, which ended following the disastrous 1914 World Series. Barely mentioned are the long, tough years, when Philadelphia skidded to the bottom of the American League standings before rebounding as one of baseball's legendary teams by the end of the 1920s. Also left for another story is the breakup of Mack's second Athletic dynasty and the ensuing even lengthier drift into the baseball wilderness. Nevertheless, the tale Macht offers is often riveting, spanning the years of labor strife, the birth of the American circuit, and the evolution of the World Series. Linked with President Ban Johnson and Cleveland owner Charles Somers, Mack helped to ensure the American League's viability. Along the way, he coped, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, with idiosyncratic players like Rube Waddell and Joe Jackson and featured other stars, including Eddie Plank, Home Run Baker, and Eddie Collins. Mack also went head to head with New York Giants manager John McGraw in three memorable World Series. Recommended for general libraries.
—Robert Cottrell

Kirkus Reviews
Comprehensive and interesting portrait of one of baseball's most successful managers. Born Cornelius McGillicuddy in East Brookfield, Mass., Connie Mack (1862-1956) devoted his life to the fledgling sport of professional baseball. Despite a slender frame, Mack excelled as a catcher, his defensive skills more than compensating for his less-than-stellar abilities with the bat. He was capable enough to move from a local amateur team to a salaried spot with the Meriden team in the Connecticut State League. He played for the Washington Nationals of the National League and experimented with a Player's League before taking his first executive post as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fired by the Pirates, he moved to the Milwaukee Brewers and assumed a leadership role in every level of club management, from scouting to scheduling to in-game decisions, experience that would aid him later in his career. Hailed as an innovator, Mack employed such revolutionary tactics as the use of multiple pitchers during a game. His skills eventually took him to the Philadelphia Athletics, a team he led to five World Series victories. (In all of baseball history, only the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals have ever surpassed this total.) Veteran baseball historian Macht (Roberto Clemente, 2001, etc.) paints an interesting portrait of the sport at the turn of the 20th century, dispelling the myth that players endured the season's marathon length and frequent, potentially crippling injuries only because they so loved the game. Then as now, he points out, money motivated them as much as anything else. Macht capably traces the evolution of baseball's rules and customs over the years, while also revealing that theplayers' behavior (for better or worse) closely approximated that of the athletes today. Some 700 pages take us only to 1914, but the book is so detailed that it makes fascinating reading despite its length. A compelling look at a legend and an era.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803209909
Publisher:
University of Nebraska Press
Publication date:
09/01/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
386,923
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author


Norman L. Macht is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the author of more than thirty books, including biographies of Rowdy Richard (with Dick Bartell) and Rex Barney's Thank Youuuu (with Rex Barney).

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