Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball

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, covers his experiences as player, manager, and club owner through 1914.

Norman L. Macht chronicles Mack’s little-known beginnings, recounting 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 ...

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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, covers his experiences as player, manager, and club owner through 1914.

Norman L. Macht chronicles Mack’s little-known beginnings, recounting 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, as a key figure in the launching of the American League in 1901, Mack 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 and 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 Illustrated with previously unpublished family photographs, it affords unique insight into a colorful personality who helped shape baseball as we know it today.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
[Includes] many fascinating details of baseball from the 1880s to 1914.—Boston Globe

— Katherine A. Powers

The Roanoke Times
Richly enjoyable.—Roanoke Times

— Bob Willis

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.
Harvey Frommer on Sports

“A mother lode of data, stories, perceptions about one of the legendary figures in the history of the national pastime. . . . If you are into baseball, get into this tome.”—Harvey Frommer on Sports
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

“Masterful. . . . A must read for all historians of the national pastime, particularly those with an interest in Philadelphia sports.”—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
George Will

“No other baseball manager is going to win—or lose—as many games as Connie Mack did in his fifty years managing the Philadelphia Athletics. A biography of Mack cannot help but be a history of baseball in the first half of the twentieth century, and this biography is a feast of interesting facts and judgments.”

—George F. Will, syndicated columnist and author of Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball

Roland Hemond

“As a catcher and manager, Connie Mack deserves much of the credit for writing ‘The Book’ on baseball strategy and the managing of men. How he did it all is told here for the first time.”

—Roland Hemond, three-time winner of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year award

George Will

“No other baseball manager is going to win—or lose—as many games as Connie Mack did in his fifty years managing the Philadelphia Athletics. A biography of Mack cannot help but be a history of baseball in the first half of the twentieth century, and this biography is a feast of interesting facts and judgments.”—George F. Will, syndicated columnist and author of Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball
Roland Hemond

“As a catcher and manager, Connie Mack deserves much of the credit for writing ‘The Book’ on baseball strategy and the managing of men. How he did it all is told here for the first time.”—Roland Hemond, three-time winner of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year award
Boston Globe - Katherine A. Powers

“[Includes] many fascinating details of baseball from the 1880s to 1914.”—Boston Globe
The Roanoke Times - Bob Willis

“Richly enjoyable.”—Roanoke Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803240032
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 742
  • Sales rank: 937,831
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 2.00 (d)

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 Connie Mack: The Turbulent and Triumphant Years, 1915–1931 and Football’s Last Iron Men: 1934, Yale vs. Princeton, and One Stunning Upset, both available from the University of Nebraska Press.
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Table of Contents


Foreword     ix
Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xv
Introduction     1
Growing up in East Brookfield     7
The Young Catcher     18
A Rookie in Meriden     29
The Bones Battery     39
From Hartford to Washington     44
Life in the Big Leagues     52
Mr. and Mrs. Connie Mack     60
Jumping with the Brotherhood     67
The Players' League     73
Uncertainties of Life and Baseball     84
Connie Mack, Manager     95
The Terrible-Tempered Mr. Mack     108
Fired     120
Milwaukee     131
Working the System     146
Learning How to Handle Men     159
Marching behind Ban Johnson     166
Launching the New American League     184
The City of Brotherly Love and "Uncle Ben" Shibe     194
Columbia Park and the "Athaletics"     204
Raiding the National League     209
The Bullfrogs     220
The Uniqueness of Napoleon Lajoie     227
Winning the Battle of Philadelphia     232
A Staggering Blow     259
Schreckand the Rube and the White Elephant     270
Connie Mack's First Pennant     282
Signing a Treaty     302
The Profits of Peace     308
The Macks of Philadelphia     325
The First "Official" World Series     336
Rebuilding Begins     359
"We Wuz Robbed"     378
Connie Mack's Baseball School     406
Shibe Park     421
Connie's Kids Graduate     434
World Champions     462
Mr. and Mrs. Connie Mack-Part II     492
The {dollar}100,000 Infield     498
The Home Run Baker World Series     517
Coasting Down to Third Place     545
Speaking of Money     564
Captain Hook     573
The Second Beating of John McGraw     586
Another Baseball War     603
The Athletics Win Another Pennant - Ho Hum     614
Swept     630
The End of the Beginning     649
Epilogue     673
Sources     675
Index     677
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