Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball

Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball

Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball

Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball

Synopsis

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.nbsp; nbsp; 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. nbsp; 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.

Excerpt

Connie Mack III

I am most often asked with regard to my grandfather: did you know him? I respond that I was fifteen when he died in February 1956. When he visited us in Fort Myers, Florida, after he had retired, it was my job to go into his room at six o’clock each morning and sit there until he would awake. Then I would help him as he showered and shaved and got ready for the day. So, yes, I knew him. But now, having read this book, I can truly say I knew him.

He was born in 1862, just thirty-six years after the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1826. It made me realize what an incredibly young nation we are. He was born during the Civil War. His life spanned the Civil War, Lincoln’s assassination, the assassination of President McKinley, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean War. Dwight D. Eisenhower was president when he died. My grandfather was quoted as saying, “I was here before the telephone, before electric lights, the talking machine, the typewriter, the automobile, motion pictures, the airplane, and long before the radio. I came when railroads and the telegraph were new.”

In his career as a catcher, he was among the earliest to move up right behind the plate for every pitch, when most catchers were still catching the ball on the bounce. While most pitchers in the early years pitched entire games, he was a pioneer in the use of relief pitchers. On one occasion, he used three pitchers in one game. Eventually, all three were elected to the Hall of Fame. He learned early on the value of spring training and the early conditioning of his players. He put together teams with players who thought for themselves. He valued educated players and ones who had baseball smarts. However, when he really needed to fill a position, he was willing to forgo those requirements. There is no better example of this than his signing of Rube Waddell. the stories about Rube Waddell and his catcher, Osee Schrecongost, are hilarious. Waddell, while being one of the funniest and most entertaining characters ever to play the game, was one of the greatest left-handed pitchers in the history of major league baseball.

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