Miller Huggins

Manager: St. Louis Cardinals, 1913-1917; New York Yankees, 1918-1929

Like Pete Rose, Miller Huggins was a native of Cincinnati who broke in as a switch-hitting second baseman with his hometown Reds. Unlike Rose, Huggins was barely 5'6", earned his keep chiefly with his glove, and entered the Hall of Fame as a manager.

Miller James Huggins (1879-1929) gained his first pro experience with Mansfield, Ohio, of the Inter-State League in 1899. “Hug” needed five years of minor-league apprenticeship before he was judged ready for the majors.

Miller Huggins was a master at getting on base any way he could.
Miller Huggins was a master at getting
on base any way he could.

When he reported to the Reds in the spring of 1904, most observers were skeptical at first of Miller’s small size, but he soon proved that he had enough ability. One of the best of his time at working pitchers for walks, he played 13 years for Cincinnati and St. Louis.

In 1913, he was named manager of the Cards after Roger Bresnahan was fired. Under Hug’s leadership the Cardinals rose to third place in 1914, the highest ever by a St. Louis team in the NL to that point.

Following the 1917 season, Hug was fired when he was still unable to lift the Cardinals to a pennant. Within days, however, he was hired by Jake Ruppert to manage the Yankees. In Miller’s first two seasons at the New York helm, the club finished fourth, then third.

After the 1919 campaign, the Yankees purchased Babe Ruth from the Red Sox at Huggins’s behest. The move made the team an instant contender. In the hunt all the way in 1920, only to fall short at the end, the Yankees then reeled off three straight pennants.

When the club lost a close race in 1924 to Washington and followed by plummeting to seventh place in 1925, however, Hug locked horns with his superstar, Babe Ruth, whose undisciplined approach to life Huggins felt was costing the team. Ruth was fined $5,000 and suspended indefinitely, an action that solidified Hug’s position as team leader when the decision was upheld by Ruppert. Beginning in 1926, Hug’s crew put together a second string of three consecutive pennants.

The 1927 “Murderer’s Row” Yankees were one of the greatest teams ever, and the 1928 club was only a cut below them. Heavily favored to win a fourth straight pennant in 1929, the Yankees staggered instead and were out of the race by mid-September.

Huggins, a natural worrywart, appeared even more overwrought than usual. His weight began dropping. In late September, he entered a New York hospital suffering from erysipelas. He died on September 25, 1929. In 1964, Huggins was elected to the Hall of Fame.

Here are Miller Huggins' major league managing totals:


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