Joe McCarthy

Position: Manager
Teams: Chicago Cubs, 1926-1930; New York Yankees, 1931-1946; Boston Red Sox, 1948-1950

Joe McCarthy’s .615 managerial career winning percentage and his .698 World Series winning percentage are both the best of all time.

Joseph Vincent McCarthy (1887-1978) was born in Philadelphia and attended Niagara University for two years. He left in 1907 after signing with Wilmington of the Tri-State League. There he showed enough talent to move up to the high minor leagues for four years as a utility infielder.

Accusations that Joe McCarthy was only a
Accusations that Joe McCarthy was
only a "push-button" manager
amused the Yankee players.

In 1913, Wilkes-Barre of the New York State League made Joe a player-manager. He guided them into second place while hitting .325. That offense got him back to the high minors for five more seasons.

In 1919, Louisville of the American Association made Joe player-manager in mid-season. He guided the team into third place, and he stayed with Louisville for six more years, winning two pennants. Louisville won 102 games in 1925 while the Cubs won 68, and Chicago signed McCarthy.

McCarthy’s first action with the Cubs was cutting Grover Alexander, establishing a reputation as a disciplinarian. But “Marse Joe” was very much a man behind the scenes and was partly remarkable for his low profile, despite the great success of his teams.

Joe improved the Cubs each year, and the acquisition of Rogers Hornsby in 1929 gave Chicago the final ingredient needed to win the pennant. The Cubs were destined for second the next year, and McCarthy left the club with four games to play. He assumed control of the Yankees, who were skipperless after the death of Miller Huggins.

Babe Ruth wanted the Yankees manager job very badly, and it is a tribute to McCarthy’s ability that he was able to deflect the Babe’s resentment and make the team his own. The Yankees finished second in 1931, but in 1932 they beat McCarthy’s old Chicago team in the World Series.

In 1936, Joe DiMaggio joined the team, and the Yankees won four straight Series, winning 16 games while losing just three. In 1941, they won it all again.

McCarthy was one of the first to get significant pitching help from his bullpen, and the 1941 team had no 20-game winner. He brought them to the Series again in 1942 and 1943, winning his final championship in 1943.

McCarthy left the Yankees in 1946 for health reasons, and in 1948 he went to Boston. Ted Williams felt the two heartbreaking second-place finishes in 1948 and ’49 took the heart out of Joe. “He finally quit during the ’50 season, I think out of his own extreme disappointment,” Williams said. McCarthy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1957.

Here are Joe McCarthy's major league managing totals:


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