Manager: Pittsburgh Pirates, 1894-1896; Philadelphia Athletics, 1901-1950
Connie Mack had the longest career on a baseball field that any man has ever had -- 64 years as a player and manager, starting in the 19th century and lasting through the first half of the 20th.
When Connie Mack was featured on the cover of Baseball Magazine in February
1941, his A’s had just come off a season in which they lost 100 games.
Like many managers, Cornelius Alexander Mack (born McGillicuddy), 1862-1956, was a catcher in his playing days, a soft hitter who lasted 11 years starting in 1886. Mack became player-manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1894, taking over a talented but disappointing team.
The club remained in relatively the same position the next two years, and he was fired after the 1896 season. At that point one of Mack’s friends, Western League commissioner Ban Johnson, invited Connie to pilot the Milwaukee franchise, which he did for three years. In 1901, when Johnson elevated the status of the minor circuit to the major American League, he gave the Philadelphia franchise to Connie. Mack remained the A’s manager through 1950.
Mack first gained attention for his “White Elephants” in 1901 by buying star Napoleon Lajoie away from the crosstown NL Phillies. Lajoie was gone in 1902, but Mack built up the club around pitchers Eddie Plank, Rube Waddell, and Chief Bender, winning pennants in 1902 and 1905. Behind Bender and Jack Coombs and the “$100,000 Infield” (featuring second baseman Eddie Collins), the A’s won world titles in 1910, ’11, and ’13.
The upstart Federal League had begun to raid the two established leagues, and Mack could see his team unraveling as Boston swept them in the 1914 Series. “If the players were going to cash in and leave me to hold the bag, there was nothing for me to do but to cash in too,” Mack said. Selling off his best players, he doomed the club to a record seven straight last-place finishes.
Mack’s method was to buy hot prospects from flourishing minor-league teams, trusting his ability to discover stars. In the mid-1920s, Mack’s charges were usually in pennant races. By 1929, the A’s exploded. Young stars like Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, and Lefty Grove won three straight pennants and the World Series in 1929 and 1930.
The Depression forced Mack to sell many of his best players to better-heeled teams. He wallowed in the second division for the rest of his career. “The Tall Tactician,” who dressed in severe dark suits, was 87 when he managed his last team. Always the gentleman, Mack was beloved by his players and was among the first inductees to the Hall of Fame, in 1937.
Here are Connie Mack's major league managing totals:
W L T PCT G 3,731 3,948 75 .486 7,755
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