Iron Man McGinnity: A Baseball Biography

Iron Man McGinnity: A Baseball Biography

by Don Doxsie


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This biography traces the hard life and colorful career of “Iron Man” McGinnity from his childhood working the coalfields of Illinois to his death in 1929. McGinnity may have been the most durable hurler in the history of the sport, often pitching both games of a doubleheader. He averaged more wins per season in his 10-year major league career than any pitcher in history, and continued to pitch for two more decades in the minor leagues before retiring at 54.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786442034
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 04/27/2009
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Don Doxsie has lived and worked in Iowa for 36 years and is the sports editor of the Davenport, Iowa, Quad-City Times and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

Prologue 3


1. A Coal Miner’s Son 5

2. Decatur 9

3. Indian Territory 13

4. A New Profession 18

5. Kansas City 25

6. The Nickel Rocket 32

7. Robbie and Mac 42

8. Brooklyn 49

9. A Whole New League 57

10. Back to the NL 63

11. Arm of Iron 69

12. Total Domination 74

13. A World Series 82

14. Comeuppance 91

15. Signs of Decline 95

16. One Final, Wild Season 101

17. Newark 111

18. Tacoma 120

19. Montana. 133

20. Northwest Encore 147

21. Working for Staley 151

22. Back to the Minors 161

23. A New Challenge 166

24. The Final Years 176

25. A Faded Legend 185

Appendix A. Statistics 189

Appendix B. Records Held 190

Chapter Notes 191

Bibliography 203

Index 207

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Iron Man McGinnity: A Baseball Biography 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
abealy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Iron Man McGinnity walked out of the same historic American West that bred mythic heroes like Pecos Bill and Johnny Appleseed. His story was big but really not that unusual in 19th century America ¿ everything was oversized back then.His youth was spent working the deadly coalmines of McAlester, Indian Territory, where he was a muleskinner. After almost dying in the 1892 Krebs Number Eleven Mine disaster, he decided to look for a different line of work.John Doxsie¿s biography of McGinnity is a well-researched history of the wanderings of the Iron Man. His early career barnstorming thru the Midwest is well documented with anecdotes, scores and pitching lines. In 1899 McGinnity made it up to The Bigs with the Baltimore Orioles, a lawless bunch of crazy ballplayers led by John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson. They probably invented most of the tactics of ¿small ball¿ that still exist today ¿ sacrifice bunts, hit-and-run and the squeeze play. He spent 10 years compiling stats that still look impossible and will never be matched ¿ in 1900 he was 28-8 for the Brooklyn Superbas. In 1904 he went 35-8 with a 1.61 ERA for John McGraw¿s New York Giants! He gained national attention in 1903 by pitching both games of a doubleheader three times ¿ in one month ¿ and winning them all!And after his last major league game he continued to pitch for 13 more seasons leading teams in Newark, Tacoma and Butte, among others. He was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1946.There is a lot to learn in Doxsie¿s book about the early game that I never knew before, including this: ¿In that era, multiple ownership was fairly common in the NL. A syndicate of investors owned both the Cleveland and St. Louis franchises and in 1899, they loaded all their best players ¿ including the great Cy Young ¿ onto the St. Louis roster and stripped the Cleveland team bare. The Spiders went 20-134 that season and had six losing streaks of 11 games or more.¿Sportswriters were bombastic poet laureates in those days ¿ the daily scribble from the field was just as entertaining as the games they reported on. In 1908, when it seemed like McGinnity was no longer welcome on McGraw¿s Giants, W.W.Aulick wrote in the New York Times: ¿The talk of Mr. McGinnity's projected release by the boss of all the Giants reached the ears of the Iron Man only yesterday, being somewhat delayed in transmission. `Oh well,' quoth this wondering marvel. `If they feel like that about it, I'll give them something to release me for.' So he fanned seven scarlet socks because they seemed unduly heated, and shut out St. Louis neat and systematic. If we don't want pitchers who practice this sort of specialty, now's our chance to make an advantageous deal. Who wants McGinnity? A neat dresser on and off, and we pay fares. Let's hear the bids.¿There is plenty of crazy outlaw baseball throughout the book, much of it provided by McGraw¿s Giants. A favorite scene is the one game playoff between the Cubs and the Giants at the end of the 1908 season. Doxsie ably describes the insanity that led up to the game. The Cubs won and went on to win the World Series ¿ their last to this day! The bittersweet second half of the book takes McGinnity through his post-majors years, from Newark to Tacoma to Butte where he would invest in teams, find the talent and often build the stadium and grounds himself. There was still a lot of power in his arm, but his legs were getting old and his judgment was not always sound.After a short return to Brooklyn as the pitching coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers ¿ an unsuccessful stay by any measure ¿ McGinnity went back to Decatur to live with his daughter, eventually returning to Brooklyn in 1928 where he died on November 14, 1929. He is buried in Oak Hill Memorial Park in McAlester, Oklahoma.