Cornelius Alexander “Connie” Mack
Born: Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy
Born: December 22, 1862 - East Brookfield, MA
Died: February 8, 1956 - Philadelphia, PA
Career BA: .244
Managerial Record: 3,731–3948
Washington Nationals NL (December 22, 1862 - February 8, 1956)
Buffalo Bisons PL (1890)
Pittsburgh Pirates NL (1891–1893; player-manager: 1894–1896)
Philadelphia Athletics AL (manager: 1901–1936, owner-manager: 1937–1950)
When it comes to the front office, Connie Mack is at the very front. Although his numbers are a bit deceiving, Cornelius McGillicuddy is considered the greatest manager of all time. His overall won-lost record is actually below .500, but keep in mind that Mack was forced to constantly tweak his teams and replenish his roster because of the organization’s financial turmoil. The fact remains that Connie Mack managed five World Series Champions, nine pennant winners, and more games than anyone in baseball history. Some of his Athletics teams were dynasties, and some were plain awful.
As a player, Mack was a good defensive catcher with an average bat. His managing career started in 1894 when he became player-manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He managed the Milwaukee Brewers in the Western League from 1897 to 1900, and then made the jump for good with the A’s in 1901 as manager and part-owner. Over the course of his managing career, Mack led some of the greatest players to ever don a uniform. Rube Waddell, Eddie Plank, the famous $100,000 infield of Home Run Baker, Jack Barry, Eddie Collins and Stuffy McInnis, as well as Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Lefty Grove and Al Simmons were some of the greats that played for Mack. Because of poor attendance, World War I, and the Great Depression, Mack had to dismantle several of his teams to maintain fiscal stability. Many of his teams wound up in the American League cellar, but Mack is still considered to be the best.
A gentleman as well as a players’ manager, he counseled, mentored, and respected his ballplayers. The “Tall Tactician” was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937 but continued on with the A’s until 1950, racking up an MLB record 3,731 wins as a manager. At the age of 88, he finally called it quits. New rule changes, player salaries and personalities made it difficult to continue. He could no longer wear his customary suit in the dugout as the new rules mandated that a manager had to wear a uniform, and he was just too old and frail to lead his players. Some say that Connie Mack stayed on too long and the game passed him by. Others say he was the greatest manager of all time. One thing is certain; Connie Mack changed the face of our National Pastime.
– 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