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John McGraw
#35 | Manager | San Francisco Giants/New York Giants

John McGraw: "Mugsy," "Little Napoleon"

     Although he was the fiery, hard-hitting third baseman of the Baltimore Orioles in the 1890s, he achieved much more recognition as an innovative, autocratic field manager.  


     "Little Napoleon" joined the Baltimore Orioles in 1892, and there he and Wee Willie Keeler were among those credited with developing the hit-and run.  His teammates in Baltimore - Hall of Famers Keeler, Wilbert Robinson, Hughie Jennings and others - won three straight National League titles, from 1894 to 1896.  Robinson and Jennings both went on to successful careers as managers.

     He hit .300 or better in nine seasons, an no 19th century player had a better OBA than his .460.


     But his forte was as a manager, especially as an assessor of baseball talent and a manipulator of players.  He developed Christy Mathewson, for one; and his 1921-24 pennant winning squads included Dave Bancroft, George Kelly, Frankie Frisch and Art Nehf, all players chosen and cultivated by McGraw.


     While he was hard on his players, he also stood by them - in 1908, when the Giants narrowly lost a pennant because of the Merkle Boner," he stoutly defended the young first baseman.  A master psychologist, he is said to have played on superstition and used a Kansas lunatic as a team mascot in 1911 to drive his team to the pennant.  And he was one of the first managers to develop the concept of relief pitching, using Claude Elliott, Doc Crandall and George Ferguson in that capacity to great effect.


     In his 30 years as manager of the New York Giants, McGraw's teams won 10 pennants and missed the first division on only four occasions.  No manager won more games than McGraw's 2,784 except for Connie Mack, who helmed the A's for 50 years with a sub-.500 record.  From 1921 to 1924, he captured a record four straight pennants - the record would stand until Casey Stengel and the New York Yankees broke it in 1953.


"One percent of ballplayers are leaders of men. The other ninety-nine percent are followers of women." 

John McGraw


"Cobb would have to play center field on my all time team.  But where would that put Speaker?

In left.  If I had them both, I would certainly play them that way."

John McGraw


"Learn to know every man under you, get under his skin, know his faults.  Then cater to him -

with kindness or roughness as his case may demand."

John McGraw


"Why shouldn't we pitch to Babe Ruth? We pitch to better hitters in the National League."

John McGraw


"With my team I am an absolute czar. My men know it. I order plays and they obey. If the don't, I fine them."

John McGraw


"There is but one game and that game is baseball."

John McGraw


"There has been only one manager, and his name is John McGraw." 

Connie Mack



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