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Ned Hanlon

Manager: Pittsburgh Alleghenys, 1889; Pittsburgh Burghers, 1890; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1891; Baltimore Orioles, 1892-1898; Brooklyn Superbas, 1899-1905; Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1906-1907

Ned Hanlon
Ned Hanlon was the first general
manager to build a team through
savvy trading.

It is a testimony to the wisdom of baseball's new historians that Ned Hanlon was finally elected to the Hall of Fame 59 years after his death and 89 years after he managed his last big-league game.

In some ways, he created the position of manager as we know it today. He was the first general manager to build a team through savvy trading. And he left behind a legacy that influenced great managers well into the 20th century.

Edward H. Hanlon was born in Montville, Connecticut, in 1857. By the time he was 19, he was playing professionally -- first as a pitcher, then as an infielder.

Never a great hitter, he used his speed to make himself a quality outfielder and his baserunning intelligence to get on and score runs. His highly developed sense of the game was obvious early on. By age 24, Hanlon was the captain of the Detroit Wolverines, and when his team took the NL flag in 1887, he was given much of the credit.

Dealt to Pittsburgh, he was soon the playing manager. After a year with the Players League, Hanlon was set to rejoin the Pirates, but an injury ended his playing career early in 1892, and he was hired by the Baltimore Orioles (brought into the NL after the American Association folded) as their manager. That year, his team finished more than 50 games out of first place. But Hanlon began to build, and he built one of the great teams of all time.

In 1893, he acquired John McGraw, Joe Kelley, and Wilbert Robinson. The next season, he landed Willie Keeler, Hugh Jennings, and Dan Brouthers. The six became the backbone of the “old Orioles.” All are in the Hall of Fame today. The team won three consecutive pennants and redefined baseball forever. Hanlon instituted or perfected ideas such as the hit-and-run, platooning, and scientific bunting. He also firmly established spring training as an annual practice.

Along with tactical innovations, Hanlon’s men bent the rules and often shattered them. They were rugged umpire baiters, and never gave an inch. Injuries were something to be ignored. Until very recently, “Be an Oriole” meant “Play through the pain.”

In 1899, the Baltimores merged with Brooklyn, and “Hanlon’s Superbas” reeled off NL flags the next two years, giving Hanlon five flags and two second-place finishes in seven seasons. Men who played for Hanlon and later became managers include Kelley, Jennings, Robinson, and the incomparable McGraw. Hanlon died in 1937 and was elected to the Hall in 1996.

Here are Ned Hanlon's major league managing totals:

1,313 1,164 50 .530 2,530

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