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Connie Mack

Fifty Years Of Ups And Downs

Over the next fifty years, the Athletics played in forty-three World Series games, winning five series, in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, and 1930. They brought home nine American League pennants. The A's were dubbed a "white elephant" by McGraw after Mack bought top hitter Napoleon Lajoie and the team only came in fourth place in their first year. Mack showed both humor and resiliency by making the white elephant his team's emblem and leading it to an American League pennant the following year.

The Athletics' first great winning streak came in 1910-1914, when they won four pennants and three World Series, with Mack's "$100,000 infield" and pitcher Chief Bender. However, with the coming of World War I and in competition with the wealthy Federal League, Mack was forced to sell some of his best players, and the team fell to eighth and last places over the next seven seasons.

In 1925, at age sixty-two and basking in the Golden Age of sports, Mack rebuilt a powerful team. It included catcher Mickey Cochrane, pitchers Lefty Grove and Rube Walberg, hitter Al Simmons, and outfielder Mule Haas. The Athletics won two more World Series (1929 and 1930) and three more pennants. Mack stunned everyone by using Howard Ehmke as his starting pitcher in the 1929 World Series game against the Chicago Cubs. Ehmke, age thirty-five and a second-line pitcher, set a World Series record by striking out thirteen for a 3-1 win. Mack knew that Ehmke could pitch to the Cubs' right-handed hitters.

After his second winning streak, the Great Depression forced Mack to again sell off his best players, and the team dropped to the bottom of the league for the next twelve years. By 1940, Mack had acquired a majority interest in the A's from the Shibe family, and Mack's sons were team executives and coaches.


1862 Born December 22 in East Brookfield, Massachusetts
1884 Joins professional Meriden team of Connecticut State League as catcher
1885 Plays for Hartford in Eastern League; traded to Washington of National League
1887 Marries Margaret Hogan on November 2; they will have three sons
1890 Joins Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players in fighting for players' rights; revolt results in formation of Players' League
1890 Invests $500 savings in Buffalo team of Players' League; loses it all when league collapses
1892 Wife, Margaret, dies
1894 Becomes manager of Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League
1896 Is dismissed from Pittsburgh; accepts Ban Johnson's offer to manage the Milwaukee team in the Western League
1901 Buys minority interest in Milwaukee team and moves it to Philadelphia after Johnson renames league American League; team becomes the Philadelphia Athletics
1910 Athletics win first World Series and league pennant
1910 Marries Katherine Hallahan; they will have five children
1914 Facing financial difficulties, Mack sells or releases his star players, resulting in a seven-year losing streak for the Athletics
1926 Athletics play first Sunday game ever in Philadelphia, after Mack and Tom Shibe decide Sunday baseball is allowed and get court injunction to prevent police interference
1929 After Mack rebuilds the team, Athletics win league pennant and World Series; Mack is given the Edward W. Bok Prize
1930-31 Athletics win two more pennants and another World Series (1930)
1933 Great Depression forces Mack to again sell star players
1937 Becomes president and treasurer of Philadelphia Athletics, but team continues to lose
1937 Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame
1940 Acquires controlling interest in the Athletics from the Ben Shibe family for $42,000
1944 Voted favorite manager of sportswriters and players
1950 Mack retires from managing, at almost 88 years old; his sons take control of Athletics, although Mack remains president
1953 Shibe Park is renamed Connie Mack Stadium, in spite of Mack's objections
1954 Resigns as president of the Athletics, at age 92; sons persuade him to sign from his sickbed for the sale of the Athletics to Arnold M. Johnson of Chicago
1955 Johnson moves Athletics to Kansas City, Missouri
1956 Mack dies on February 8, at age 93, at daughter's home in Germantown, Pennsylvania

Awards and Accomplishments

1910-11, 1913, 1929-30 As manager of Philadelphia Athletics, wins World Series
1930 Edward W. Bok Prize for service to the city and its people after Athletics win World Series in 1929
1933 Chosen to manage first American League team in All-Star Game
1937 Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame as one of fifteen Builders of Baseball
1938-39 May 17 designated Connie Mack Day in Pennsylvania; George M. Cohan writes song "Connie Mack Is the Grand Old Name"
1941 Shibe Park renamed Connie Mack Stadium
1944 Voted favorite manager of players and sportswriters; tribute is held before Athletics home game, featuring Mack's "dream team" in their old uniforms
1950 Named Honorary Manager of the All-Star Game by Major League baseball

Known as the Grand Old Man of Baseball and the Tall Tactician, Mack always appeared in the dugout wearing a crisp blue suit and a high, starched white collar and tie. In his seventies, Mack was expected to retire, but he held on until 1950, nearing 88. However, by this time the Phillies had become Philadelphia's favored team. After the 1954 season, Mack's sons sold the Athletics to Chicago businessman Arnold M. Johnson. Mack signed the papers from his bed during an illness, supposedly unaware that Johnson planned to move the team to Kansas City, Missouri. Mack died fifteen months later, at age 93.

Connie Mack operated his baseball teams as a business, relying on their success for the support of his family. Thriving and surviving in an age when baseball lacked the facilities, transportation, financing, and media coverage of today, he is considered one of the great innovators of the game. Known for his kindness and his tact in dealing with players—he once paid off a pitcher's debts and got a shortstop paroled from prison—he endeared his team members into performing for him. Although sometimes viewed as a "pinchpenny" who broke apart championship teams, he operated one of the most highly paid teams in early baseball. Mack once wrote about entering baseball as a career: "Looking back at it, I can see every reason why I should not have taken the jump and only one reason why I did. Of course, I have made my living out of it, but more important than this, I love the game."

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Famous Sports StarsBaseballConnie Mack Biography - From Player To Manager, Fifty Years Of Ups And Downs, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments - SELECTED WRITINGS BY MACK: