Clark Calvin Griffith
Born: November 20, 1869 - Clear Creek, MO
Died: October 27, 1955 - Washington, D.C.
MLB Pitching Record: 237–146
Managerial Record: 1,491–1,367
St. Louis Browns AA (1891)
Boston Reds AA (1891)
Chicago Colts/Orphans NL (1893–1900)
Chicago White Sox AL (player-manager: 1901–1902)
New York Highlanders AL (player-manager: 1903–1907; manager: 1908)
Cincinnati Reds NL (player-manager: 1909; manager: 1910–1911)
Washington Senators AL (player-manager: 1912–1914; manager: 1915–1920; owner: 1920–1955)
Baseball has never seen a more diversely accomplished man than Clark Griffith, a Hall of Famer renowned for his amazing feats as a player, manager, and owner. Griffith won 237 games over a 20-year pitching career for the American Association’s St. Louis Browns and Boston Reds, as well as the Chicago Colts/Orphans, White Sox, New York Highlanders, Cincinnati Reds, and Senators. He won more than 20 games for six consecutive seasons with the Colts/Orphans (1894–1899), enjoying his best year as a player in 1898 when he went 24–10 and led the National League with a 1.88 ERA.
In 1900, Griffith spearheaded the Ball Players Protective Association, which essentially led to the establishment of the American League in 1901. That year, as player-manager of the White Sox, he posted a 24-win season and led Chicago to the inaugural AL pennant, his only title as a manager. After stints as player-manager with the Highlanders and Reds, Griffith mortgaged his Montana family ranch in 1911 to purchase a stake in the Senators and become the team’s player-manager. Dubbed the “Old Fox” for his shrewd intellect, Griffith would be as influential in Washington as any U.S. President. Of course, Walter Johnson had a little something to do with that, leading the AL in wins five seasons during Griffith’s stint as manager.
In 1920, Griffith became the majority owner of the Senators and, in 1924, brought D.C. its only World Championship, beating the Giants in seven games. Washington returned to the Series in 1925, but lost to the Pirates, also in seven games. Griffith played no favorites. He traded his niece’s husband, future Hall of Famer Joe Cronin, to the Red Sox in 1934. He also sold his nephew, Sherry Robertson, to the Athletics in 1952. More importantly, Griffith was recognized as a pioneer in bringing dozens of Cuban players to the majors. As health issues mounted, Griffith ceded control of the franchise to his nephew, Calvin Griffith, who would eventually move the team to Minnesota as the Twins in 1961. Clark Griffith died in 1955, but his influence on the game remains very much alive to this day.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html