Related Biography: Manager John Mcgraw
Hall of Famer John McGraw is considered by many baseball experts to be the best manager in major league history. As a player with the Baltimore Orioles in the 1890s, McGraw was instrumental in perfecting an allout style of play now known as "small ball" that focused on stealing bases, bunting, and hustling. He mixed these skills with an intimidating approach to opposing players and umpires. McGraw was constantly baiting and brawling and was frequently ejected from games.
As the manager of the New York Giants from 1902 through 1932, McGraw drove his players to 2,784 wins, second only to Connie Mack on the all-time list. His teams won nine pennants and three World Series and dominated the National League throughout most of his tenure. He was known as "The Little Napoleon" for his autocratic managing methods.
McGraw was constantly trying to get star players from other teams to help his club. From the very start of Rogers Hornsby's career, McGraw coveted him. He frequently urged Giants owners to propose trades to the St. Louis Cardinals. McGraw finally got his wish when Hornsby was traded to the Giants after the 1926 season. During the 1927 season, the only one they spent together, McGraw and Hornsby became close friends. They shared a love of betting on horse races and they shared a single-minded, ruthless approach to baseball. When McGraw battled illnesses during the season, Hornsby took over as manager and did so well that McGraw did not return at the season's end even though he had recovered.
After the 1927 season, Hornsby was traded to the Boston Braves after several run-ins with Giants owner Horace Stoneham. The deal was done while McGraw was spending the off-season in Havana, Cuba, and it was executed without McGraw's knowledge. He surely would not have consented to losing the player he had always wanted to get.