James Joseph “Nixey” Callahan
Born: March 18, 1874 - Fitchburg, MA
Died: October 4, 1934 - Boston, MA
MLB Pitching Record: 99–73
Managerial Record: 309–329
Philadelphia Phillies NL (1894)
Chicago Colts/Orphans NL (1897–1900)
Chicago White Sox AL (1901–1913; player-manager: 1903–1904, 1912–1913; manager: 1914)
Pittsburgh Pirates NL (manager: 1916–1917)
A veritable baseball Jack-of-all-trades, Nixey Callahan was a pitcher, hitter, runner, fielder, and a manager. He did everything except sell Cracker Jack. In 1894 Callahan signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, but was not quite ready for the big leagues. As a result, he was released after posting a 1–2 pitching record and batting only .238. Going down to the minors, he excelled as a pitcher, leading the Eastern League with 30 wins. When Callahan signed on with the Chicago Colts in 1897, he batted .292 and won 12 games on the mound, but he really came into his own in 1898 and 1899, winning at least 20 games both years and hitting a very respectable .262 and .260 respectively.
Callahan fashioned his pitching style after Clark Griffith, going for control over speed. In 1901, Callahan jumped ship to the crosstown White Sox in the new American League going 15–8 as a pitcher and batting .331 in 118 at-bats. He made history when, on September 20, 1902, he pitched the first no-hitter in AL history. Callahan transitioned to the outfield in 1903 and played very well while also managing the Sox, but in 1905 he decided to quit Major League baseball to run his own semi-pro team. He felt that with his promotional skills as well as his managerial abilities, his team would be a winner. He was right, and as a result the White Sox wanted him back as president. Believe it or not, Callahan chose to play and manage instead.
Ever the promoter, Callahan was one of the organizers of the Sox and Giants exhibition tour of the world after the 1913 season. After managing for two seasons, Callahan went to the front office in 1915 before signing on as manager of the Pirates. He wrapped up his MLB career in 1917 and went on to develop a very successful commercial contracting business in Chicago. Nixey Callahan was certainly a man of many talents.
– 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