The winningest baseball manager of all time with 3,731 wins (and the losingest, with 3,948 losses). He managed his clubs to nine first-place finishes during his 53 years in the majors. He assumed control of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901 and continued for 50 years until retirement at the age of 88; he built two dynasties in Philadelphia, winning four pennants in five years from 1910 to 1914, and then three pennants in a row from 1929 to 1931.
Mack began as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 1894 to 1896. When Ben Shibe was granted a franchise in Philadelphia named the Athletics in the new American League, he named Mack to be manager (Mack was also an owner of 25% of the club). In 1902, Mack led the A's to their first pennant with help from the pitching talents of Rube Waddell and Eddie Plank. In 1905, Mack and the A's won another pennant but fell short in the World Series to the New York Giants. Over the next few years, Mack rebuilt his team into a dynasty, with stars such as his "Million Dollar Infield" - Eddie Collins, Home Run Baker, Stuffy McInnis and Jack Barry - plus pitchers such as Rube Waddell, Chief Bender and Eddie Plank. They went on to win pennants in 1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914. The A's also won World Series Championships in 1910, 1911 and 1913 before being upset by the lightly regarded Boston Braves in 1914.
The Federal League began offering National and American League players very lucrative offers and luring them away from many teams they had once been loyal to. By 1915, after losing such standout players as Eddie Plank and Chief Bender, the A's went into a slump and stayed in last place for seven seasons.
Bit by bit, Mack built another dynasty in the late 1920s by recruiting future Hall-of-Famers. In 1924, Al Simmons arrived. In 1925, 17-year-old slugger Jimmie Foxx and 22-year-old Mickey Cochrane joined the team; so did a left-handed fireballer named Lefty Grove. They complemented a stable of solid players, including Max Bishop, Bing Miller and Rube Walberg. When George Earnshaw and Mule Haas joined the team in 1928, it was enough to make them into a championship squad.
The A's finished second in the league in 1927 and 1928 and won the league pennant in 1929. Mack's team won back-to-back World Series Championships in 1929 and 1930. In 1931, they also won the league pennant before being upset in the World Series by the St. Louis Cardinals.
But in the midst of the Great Depression, Mack was forced to sell off many of his big stars that had high paying contracts. Simmons went to the White Sox; Foxx, and then Grove, went to the Red Sox; and Cochrane went to the Tigers. By 1935, the A's were back to square one. In the following 12 years they finished in last place 9 of those years. Mack still managed to find and develop a few good young players but often had to sell them off before they became big stars.
Mack managed his last first-division team in 1948 when he was 85 years old. They finished in fourth place. Mack retired following the 1950 season when the A's again finished last. He was named to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1937. Mack died on February 8, 1956 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is buried there at Holy Sepulchre.
"The truth was, I would have played for nothing. Of course I never told Connie that."
"An outfield composed of Cobb, Speaker and Ruth, even with Ruth, lacks the
combined power of DiMaggio, Musial and (Ted) Williams."
"Any minute, any day, some players may break a long standing record.
That's one of the fascinations about the game, the unexpected surprises."
"I guess more players lick themselves that are ever licked by an opposing team.
The first thing any man has to know is how to handle himself."
"The game has kept faith with the public, maintaining its old admission price for nearly thirty years while other forms of entertainment have doubled and tripled in price. And it will probably never change."
"There has been only one manager, and his name is John McGraw."
"You can't win them all."
"You're born with two strikes against you, so don't take a third one on your own."
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