James Robert “Bob” Shawkey
Born: December 4, 1890 - Sigel, PA
Died: December 31, 1980 - Syracuse, NY
MLB Pitching Record: 195–150
Managerial Record: 86–68
Philadelphia Athletics AL (1913–1915)
New York Yankees AL (1915–1927; manager: 1930)
After the Philadelphia Athletics were upset by the “Miracle” Boston Braves in the 1914 World Series, A’s manager Connie Mack did a little housecleaning. Among those jettisoned was Bob Shawkey, sold to the Yankees for $3,500 midway through the 1915 season. Mack did not make many mistakes during his brilliant career, but Shawkey was definitely one of them. Over the next 13 seasons in New York, Shawkey would win 20 or more games four times. He went 24–14 in 1916 and was a terrific relief pitcher, leading the American League with 24 games finished and eight saves.
Shawkey missed most of the 1918 season to serve in the Navy during World War I. Upon his return in 1919, he repeated the feat of winning 20 games while leading the league in saves. That same year, Shawkey faced his old Philly mates and recorded 15 strikeouts, a Yankee record that stood until Ron Guidry fanned 18 in 1978. In essence, Shawkey’s right arm helped launch a dynasty. In the Yankees first three pennant-winning seasons (1921–1923), Shawkey won 54 games. In 1923, New York’s first World Championship season, he was a 16-game winner on a staff that included Joe Bush, Sam Jones, Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock. That year he got the win over Boston in the first-ever game at Yankee Stadium.
Shawkey would eventually manage the Yanks for one season in 1930, leading them to 86 wins and a third-place finish. He continued on in baseball, coaching, scouting and managing in the minors through the 1950 season, after which he coached at Dartmouth College until 1956. When Yankee Stadium was renovated in 1976, an 85-year-old Shawkey once again threw out the first pitch. It is no exaggeration to say that Bob Shawkey was one of the most significant pitchers in the history of baseball’s most storied franchise.
– 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