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Connie Mack Newsbeat

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-17-2015

Washington Times, February 17, 1915:

Fans [in Philadelphia] stand amazed at the official announcement from Connie Mack that J. Franklin Baker, the famous home run slugger, hero of every world’s series he has played in except the last, has quit baseball.
...
[Connie Mack says] “There has been no disagreement over salary terms with Baker. He has just simply decided to quit, that’s all.”
...
Baker’s real reason for quitting baseball is that he prefers to remain on his big farm at Trappe, Md. Mrs. Baker, particularly since the death of their children, has been urging him to stay home with her, instead of traveling around the country with the Athletics.

Most sources, including SABR, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and contemporary newspapers, suggest that Mack is stretching the truth here. According to those reports, Baker wanted to renegotiate his contract as a result of Mack selling off most of the team, Mack declined to do so, and neither was willing to budge.

After the 1915 season, under pressure from Ban Johnson to get one of the American League’s star players back on the field, Mack sold Baker to the Yankees.


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-7-2015

Grand Forks Daily Herald, January 7, 1915:

It is an open secret that Connie Mack felt compelled to rid the Athletics of Eddie Collins to restore some measure of harmony to the team. And it is generally understood that the discord which Connie seeks to alleviate was caused by Eddie Collins’ ill-advised newspaper articles, in which he disclosed team secrets, and thus, in the opinion of his fellow-players, put them under a handicap.
...
The authorities of the American league recognized the evil and sought to suppress it, but evidently Mr. Collins held himself above authority and proceeded with his labors as an author.

Looks like the team-instigated hatchet job is at least 100 years old today.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-3-2014

Connie Mack responds to Eddie Plank signing with the Federal League, Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 3, 1914:

“I wish him the best of luck,” said Connie Mack [last night], when told that Eddie Plank had signed a Federal League contract.

“Are you sorry to see him go?” Mack was asked.

“Oh, no,” he replied. “I was through with him. He was after the money, and he was willing to go to the Federals…He was a wonderful pitcher and he is a good one yet.”
...
Mack startled the baseball world shortly after the world’s series by announcing he had asked waivers on Plank, [Chief] Bender, and [Jack] Coombs.

Plank, as you might expect, dominated the inferior talent in the Federal League in 1915, winning 21 games while leading the league in ERA+, FIP, WHIP, HR/9, BB/9, and K/BB ratio.

Gettysburg Eddie still had it when the Federals imploded and he came back to the American League as a 40-year-old, putting up a 125 ERA+ in 366.2 innings in two seasons before retiring.


Monday, December 01, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-1-2014

Washington Herald, December 1, 1914:

A baseball trade between the New York and Philadelphia American League clubs, involving Ray Caldwell, of the Yankees, and Rube Oldring and Jack Lapp, of the Athletics, is under consideration, according to reports published [in New York yesterday].

President Ban Johnson, of the American League, is said to have urged Connie Mack while on a recent visit East to arrange the deal with the double purpose of saving Caldwell from the Federal League, with which he is reported to have signed for next season, and of strengthening the New York club for the good of the circuit.

The trade never happened, but Connie did spend the winter of 1914-1915 strengthening other ballclubs. The Athletics, winners of four pennants and three World Series between 1910-1914, suddenly dumped virtually their entire roster and lost 109 games in 1915.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-25-2014

Milwaukee Journal, November 25, 1914:

Connie Mack opines the reason he did not congratulate George Stallings after the world’s series was fear that Stallings would hit him on the nose. His fears were useless. Stallings hit a more vital spot—the pocketbook.

Stallings did threaten to punch Mack in the nose before the series.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-30-2014

The [Missoula, MT] Daily Missoulian, October 30, 1914:

There is keen debate in eastern baseball circles over the actions of the former star of the Athletic team who, according to every bit of evidence in sight, coached and trained the Boston pitchers till they knew every point and every weakness of the Philadelphia batsmen.
...
[Sentimental people] point out how Connie Mack took this man when another club had dismissed him; how Mack made him rich through fat wages and world’s series coin; how Connie carried him in recent years…

Any idea who this is referencing? Danny Murphy, maybe?

Murphy seems to tick all the boxes: He started his career fairly unsuccessfully with the Giants, was one of the best second baseman in the game during his 12-year run in Philadelphia, spent the last two seasons of his Athletics career as a benchwarmer, and jumped to the Feds after Mack sold him to Baltimore (IL) before the 1914 season.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-22-2014

Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, October 22, 1914:

When the Athletics take the field next year, it is reported, Connie Mack will not be on the bench directing the attack of the former world’s champions. The veteran, it is said, has obtained control of the Athletic club’s stock, and will soon be elected president instead of Benjamin F. Shibe.
...
The tall manager is 51 years old and is beginning to show the wear and tear of his long career as a team leader. He has made a fortune out of the national game and can well afford to take a rest.
...
Harry Davis, it is reported, will be the actual manager on the bench, with Ira Thomas as his right hand adviser.

Mr. Mack wasn’t quite done managing in 1914. He ran the show for another 36 seasons.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-16-2014

Pittsburgh Press, October 16, 1914:

MACKMEN DUE FOR SHAKEUP

Plank, Bender, Oldring and Coombs Are Likely to Be Dropped from Athletics’ Roster

...And now it can be set down indisputably that changes in Connie Mack’s team are coming. The lineup of 1915 will most likely miss the burly form of big Rube Oldring, of the veteran Eddie Plank and some few of their teammates.
...
Early in the present season it is alleged that Mack stated that he wished neither Plank, Coombs nor Bender was connected with his twirling string. In the case of at least two of this trio Mack’s wishes will probably be fulfilled.
...
[The presence of Plank and Bender] on the team serves as a sort of a handicap to Mack as it retards the youngsters development.

Hindsight is 20/20, but that seems like a really good problem to have: “My two Hall of Fame ace starting pitchers are making it harder for me to develop young pitching.”

Anyway, Mack did completely blow up his roster over the coming offseason, and the Athletics went 43-109 in 1915. 96% of the innings thrown by the Athletics in 1915 came from pitchers who were 25 years old or younger.


 

 

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