View Poll Results: My Candidate for the Greatest Team Ever

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  • 1926-29 New York Yankees

    9 15.79%
  • 1929-32 Philadelphia Athletics

    9 15.79%
  • 1936-43 New York Yankees

    12 21.05%
  • 1917-20 Chicago White Sox

    2 3.51%
  • 1910-14 Philadelphia Athletics

    0 0%
  • 1921-24 New York Giants

    0 0%
  • 1894-96 Baltimore Orioles

    1 1.75%
  • 1955-58 New York Yankees

    0 0%
  • 1949-56 Brooklyn Dodgers

    2 3.51%
  • 1949-53 New York Yankees

    9 15.79%
  • 1997-2002 New York Yankees

    3 5.26%
  • 1906-10 Chicago Cubs

    3 5.26%
  • 1970-76 Cincinnati Reds

    4 7.02%
  • 1988-92 Oakland A's

    0 0%
  • 1972-74 Oakland A's

    2 3.51%
  • 1976-81 New York Yankees

    0 0%
  • 1930's Pittsburgh Crawfords

    0 0%
  • 1930's Homestead Greys

    1 1.75%
Results 1 to 25 of 63

Thread: Philadelphia Athletics, 1928-1932

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  1. #1
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    Philadelphia Athletics, 1928-1932

    I would like to throw some love to the team that I have long-considered the Greatest Team of them all. The 1929-32 Philadelphia Athletics. I think it is time to give them some much over-due props and respect.

    I am aware that I am probably the only Fever member who feels this way.

    1928 A's---98-55, .641, 2nd Pl, 2.5 g behind
    1929 A's---104-46, .693, 18 g ahead, (WS: W 4-1 over Cubs)
    1930 A's---102-52, .662, 8 g ahead, (WS: W 4-2 over Cardinals)
    1931 A's---107-45, .704, 13.5 g ahead, (WS: L 4-3 to Cardinals)
    1932 A's---94-60, .610, 2nd Pl, 13 g behind


    The Second Dynasty (1927–1933)
    After that, Mack began to build another winner. In 1927 and 1928, the Athletics finished second to the New York Yankees, then won pennants in 1929, 1930 and 1931, winning the World Series in 1929 and 1930. In each of the three years, the A's won over 100 games.

    As it turned out, this would be the Athletics' last hurrah in Philadelphia. Mack again sold or traded his best players in order to reduce expenses. The Great Depression was well under way, and declining attendance had drastically reduced the team’s revenues. The construction of a spite fence at Shibe Park, blocking the view from nearby buildings, only served to irritate potential paying fans. However, the consequences did not become apparent for a few more years, as the team finished second in 1932 and third in 1933.

  2. #2
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    Mack/McGraw:

    I rate Connie Mack as the Greatest Manager Ever. I rate McGraw as having the greatest record ever compiled. Contradiction? Not in BurgessLand.

    1. Connie Mack - Pirates (1894-96), Phil. A's ('01-50) BB's closest thing to a saintly person.

    2. John J. McGraw - Balt. (1899-1902), NY Giants (1902-32); From '03-31, 28 yrs., came in lower than 3rd only 5 times.

    Explanation. From '03-31, 28 yrs., McGraw came in lower than 3rd only 5 times. That is a record I doubt can be broken. His strength came from having been a very good player. He was able to routinize his teaching of the different skills, such as fielding, sliding, throwing the ball in on one bounce, etc.

    Since he played in a big market (NY), he seldom had financial problems. He was acknowledged as a master of the trading market. Not a winter would pass by, without him trying to strengthen his squads. He tried in vain since 1920 to buy Rogers Hornsby from Branch Rickey, who wouldn't sell him, even when offered $300K. McGraw also tried to get Cobb in Dec., 1926. But Landis told him, "Lay off, Cobb." Landis intended to restore TC to Detroit, to shove it up Ban Johnson's butt, who had sworn TC would never play in the AL again.

    So the question might be, why would I put Mack over McGraw, if I think McGraw had the better record? Simple. They didn't have a level playing field. McGraw had advantages Mack didn't. And Mack couldn't level the conditions out.

    McGraw, in NYC, had no "blue laws", prohibiting activities on Sundays, after 1919. Mack did not receive his liberation from blue laws until Nov., 1933, and it caused, indirectly, Mack having to break up his teams in 1914, and 1933-35.

    McGraw had fans who supported the Giants no matter what. Mack had fans who refused to come out to the games, and support their local team. And since Mack was legally prevented from playing games on Sundays until 1934, his attendance stunk. Even when he won pennants, he had attendance problems. I put in red, where he won the pennant.
    Code:
    -Yr.---Attend.
    1925-----1st
    1926-----2nd
    1927-----4th 
    1928-----2nd 
    1929-----3rd
    1930-----2nd
    1931-----2nd
    1932-----3rd
    1933-----6th
    1934-----6th
    So one can see from the above chart that Mr. Mack had a real problem getting his fan base to turn out and support their team. And in the days before TV money, fan attendance forms the foundation of a teams income.
    It was bad enough to not be able to play on Sundays until 1934, but poor fan interest really killed the A's. Connie had good teams in all of the above yrs. except perhaps 1934. And he failed to come in the top 3 in attendance 7 times out of 20. This is the reason why he couldn't afford to pay his players well.

    In 1914, the A's finished 1st, but placed only 5th in attendance. When his players wanted increases to match what the Federal L. was dangling in front of them, he couldn't match the Fed's offers. So Plank and Bender jumped to the Federals. And to keep the rest from doing the same, Connie sold his players off, before they could jump, and leave him with nothing.

    I believe that if Mack had no blue laws to cramp his attendance before 1934, he would not have felt compelled to break up his 2 great teams, and hence would have surpassed John McGraws great record. So that is how I justify placing Mack on top, while still feeling that McGraw had the most impressive record, on paper. Different conditions. At least that's how it looks to me.

    Since it bears so heavily on how teams create wealth, I give the following.

    The following cities received their liberation from no-Sunday baseball games "blue laws" in the following years.
    Detroit - 1910,
    Cleveland - 1911,
    New York - 1919,
    Boston - 1929,
    Philadelphia/Pittsburgh - Nov. 8, 1933.
    Wash. DC before 1919.

  3. #3
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    A's/Yankees:

    The late 20's A's vs. Yankees rivalry is one of the fun subjects for me. The Yanks hit their high water mark in 1927, the A's in 1929. Both teams merit all time status. They were very fierce rivals.

    1927 Yankees - 110-44 - .714 - 19 games ahead of Phil.
    1929 A's----- - 104-46 - .693 - 18 games ahead of Yanks.

    1927 Yankees' Hall of Famers - Ruth, Gehrig, Pennock, Lazzeri, Combs, Hoyt, Huggins,
    1929 A's Hall of Famers----- - Foxx, Cochrane, Grove, Simmons, Collins, Mack,

    Mack/Ruppert were exceedingly determined men. Ruppert had the edge financially. I'd like to insert a few sentences from my Ty as Manager article, which I warehouse in Ty Cobb Thread. It's only a couple of paragraphs.
    --------------------
    Another critical issue that one must look at is how much a team invests to keep improving. Certain other teams were going all out to bolster their clubs. For example, in NY, Jake Ruppert was conducting operations like a mad scientist. He brought almost the entire Red Sox team to NY. Ruppert was serious about his club. In pitchers alone, he raided these from Boston: Carl Mays, Herb Pennock, Sam Jones, Waite Hoyt, Joe Bush, Ernie Shore. He also raided shortstop Everett Scott, catcher Wally Schang, left fielder Duffy Lewis. These alone will win you a pennant.

    When the '25 Yankees collapsed to 7th place, Huggins and Barrow got rid of some players and started their '26 spring training with others. While Ty was making do with the scraps from other teams leftovers, Jake Ruppert was just barely beginning to flex his wallet. During Ty's days managing the Tigers, Jake Ruppert armed his Yankee dugout with Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Bob Meusel, Earl Combs, Marty Koenig, Joe Dugan, as well as the championship Red Sox team from '15-18. Jake was intent on making his team the envy of Balldom.

    Meanwhile, over in Philadelphia, hardly less earnest activity was in progress to meet the Yankees challenge on even terms. Mack suddenly was spending like Ruppert in an exclusive men's clothing shop. Mack & Ruppert turned the '20's into dueling checkbooks, & neither were bouncing any checks. Over in Philly, Mack was rebuilding & Connie wasn't kidding. In '21 he got Eddie Rommel, in '22, Bing Miller & Joe Hauser, '23 Rube Walberg, in '24, he got Al Simmons & Max Bishop.

    For 1925, he picked up Grove, Cochrane, Foxx, veteran pitcher Jack Quinn. For '26, he got shortstop Billy Wambsganss and vet pitcher Howard Ehmke, whom Ty had discarded after '22. These players proved that Connie wasn't fooling about bringing pennants home. He paid $100K for Grove in 10 installments, $50K for Cochrane( plus $150K invested in Portland team, just to sign Cochrane). These were major moves.

    Both these teams, the 20's Yankees and Phil. A's were only 2 of the teams that Ty's men had to face on the open battlefield. Coping with 2 of the greatest baseball teams of history, is utterly germane to whether Ty was a good manager. To this day, most of the most respected, authoritative baseball minds consider the '29-31 Phil. A's & the '26-28 Yankees as 2 of the very finest baseball teams in all-around balance, that ever played the game.
    --------------------------------------
    Back to basics.

    Here I'd like to show the results of the Yanks/A's rivalry for the era.

    -------------A's-Yanks---------------Shibe---Yankee S.
    1926----------13-9--------------------5-6----------8-3
    1927-----------8-14-------------------5-6----------3-8
    1928----------6-16-------------------2-9----------4-7
    1929----------14-8--------------------7-4----------7-4
    1930----------12-10------------------12-10---------5-6
    1931----------11-11-------------------7-4----------4-7
    1932-----------8-14-------------------6-5----------2-9
    totals-------82-72-1----------------39-38-------33-44
    (numbers taken from baseball-reference)

  4. #4
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    Re: Connie Mack, on his decsion to play Cobb/Speaker in 1927/1928
    Quote Originally Posted by Originally Posted by BaseballHistoryNut
    Well, I don't think I'd put Connie Mack's opinion at the top of the list. By almost ALL historians' opinions, it was his love for the ancient Cobb and Speaker which cost the 1928 A's the pennant to the fantastic-hitting, but very mediocre-pitching 1928 Yankees. So his opinion's value is a bit compromised, wouldn't you concede?

    BHN Jim
    Well, we all have those who's judgment we feel was the best. When I provided the link, you don't have to single out Connie. Look who it includes. Speaker himself. Babe too. When taken collectively, it is over-whelming. Hardly leaves anyone out. Owners, players, umps. When we consider that not a single person had a single reason to lie for Cobb, it leaves us without an ulterior motive for saying Ty was their #1.

    We must also note that those 250 Prominent BB figures were some of the most competitive guys we had. Speaker, Sisler, Collins, Hornsby, Mack. It just goes on and on.

    So, I cannot in all honesty, even begin to think that Mack's judgment in playing Cobb in 1928 was flawed. Connie had choices. He could play Ty, Mule Haas, Simmons, Bing Miller, Tris Speaker, Walter French. In any combination of 3 he chose.

    Who Connie put in there was based largely on how they did in 1927. And by any stretch, only Simmons did better.

    Here's how Connie's OFers stacked up in 1927.

    Simmons - .392 - 106 games
    Cobb - .357 -134 games
    Haas - didn't play
    Miller - .325 - 143 games
    Speaker - .327 - 141 games (for Washington)
    French - .304 - 108 games
    ------------------------------------------------
    So, how did Connie's OFers do in 1928?

    Simmons - .351 - 119 games
    Miller - .329 - 139 games
    Cobb - .323 - 95 games
    Haas - .280 - 91 games
    Speaker - .267 - 64 games
    French - .257 - 48 games
    --------------------------------------------
    Now, to be really fair to the opinion that you've read, that Connie erred in playing Ty/Tris in 1928, (and I've also read that opinion often), I must bring some objective info to the table.

    Cobb was known as a slow starter, and was one of a relatively small % of hitters who was well-known to come on towards the end of the season. And when he was taken out of the lineup in mid-season in 1928, he was deprived of his usual phase were he would have his normal late season drive.

    Cobb played as a regular up until July 27, 1928. It was his 86th game of the year. He was hitting .332. He hit better when he was playing regularly.

    I have also read that Tris/Ty had slowed down so much in the OF, that Connie had to sit them on the bench in 1927/28. So, to that end, I will provide a piece of fan mail that addresses Ty's fielding in 1927.

    Baseball Magazine, December, 1927, pp. 334.
    Mr. Lane,
    Dear Sir:--
    As I am one of those who pulled for the Philadelphia Athletics to win a pennant this year I want to take the present opportunity to say that I think Ty Cobb was a tower of strength for them. He deserves all the credit in the world. He has played a brilliant game, and has worked wonders with the batting of the others on the team. He brought ten of the Athletics up over the .300 mark this year, more .300 batsmen than any other Major League club this season. Philadelphia club batting at the close of last season was .269--this season it is .303, an improvement of 34 points. But for this improvement in the batting this year which Cobb brought about there is no doubt in my mind but that the A's would have been much lower in the race than they were. Cobb's own playing has been marvelous.

    When Simmons was injured July 24, Ty was put in center field, and he fielded so brilliantly that the Athletic pitchers were able to pitch seven shut-outs, their only shut-outs of the season, and during the rest of the season with Cobb in centerfield the Athletics looked like a new team and won almost all their games; to be exact, they won 35 games and lost only 15 during the time Cobb played center until he left on his hunting trip. This was a tribute to Ty's defensive ability in the outfield, while he was shining as an offensive star also, getting 3, 4 and even as many as 5 hits a game.

    Yes, Ty Cobb has played a wonderful game for the Athletics this year, has helped the other players to bat much better, and in every way has been a very present inspiration. And I hope he remains with the Athletics. A Fan.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    At the end of the day, I must support Connie decision to use Ty in 1928. Tris was showing his age a lot more than Ty.

    Thanks, SO VERY MUCH, BHN for giving me a chance to go back into my old backyard and dig cool stuff out of my Bill Burgess' Cabinet of Wondrous Forgotten BB Lore! It sure felt good. Like going home after a long vacation away.

    What a pleasure to chat about the old stuff.

  5. #5
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    1929 Philadelphia Athletics; 104-46, .693, 18 g ahead, (WS W 4-1 over Cubs)--- BB-Reference

    Top Row: L-R: Edmund 'Bing' Miller (RF), Bill Breckinridge (P), George 'Mule' Haas (CF), Eddie Collins (coach), Bill 'Kid' Gleason (coach), Jimmy Foxx (1B), Robert 'Lefty' Grove (P), Howard Ehmke (P), Al Simmons (LF).

    Middle Row: L-R: Homer Summa (OF), George 'Rube' Walberg (P), Carroll Yerkes (P), Connie Mack (Mgr.), George Burns (1B), George Earnshaw (P), James 'Jimmy' Cronin (2B).

    Bottom Row: L-R: Sammy Hale (3B), Gordon 'Mickey' Cochrane (C), Walter French (OF), Jimmy Dykes (SS/3B), John 'Joe' Boley (SS), Ralph 'Cy' Perkins (C), Earl Mack (coach).



    1929 Philadelphia Athletics; 104-46, .693, 18 g ahead, (WS W 4-1 over the Cubs)---BB Reference---Player identifications provided courtesy of Gary Livacari (GaryL).

    L-R: Eddie Collins (coach), Kid Gleason (coach), Walter E. French (OF), Jimmie Dykes (3B), Jim Cronin (IF), Homer Suma (RF), Max Bishop (2B), Sammy Hale (3B), Bevo LeBourveau (OF) , Mickey Cochrane (C), Cy Perkins (C), Bill Breckinridge (P), Jimmy Foxx (1B), Connnie Mack (Mgr.), Bing Miller (RF), Al Simmons (LF), Eddie Rommell (P), Rube Walberg (P), Lefty Grove (P), Howard Ehmke (P), George Earnshaw (P), Jack Quinn (P), Mule Haas (CF), Bill Shores (P), George Burns (1B), Joe Boley (SS), Earle Mack (coach).
    Front: Lawrence Moard? (mascot)


    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-18-2011 at 09:17 AM.

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    1930 Philadelphia Athletics; 102-52, .662, 8 g ahead, (WS W 4-2 over Cardinals)---BB Reference

    Top Row, L-R: Eric McNair (IN), Lefty Grove (P), Max Bishop (2B), Mule Haas (CF), Joe Boley (SS), Rube Walberg (P), Wally Schang (C), Charlie Perkins (P), Jim Moore (LF), Homer Suma (RF), Dib Williams (IF), George Earnshaw (P), Lee Roy Mahaffey (P), Jack Quinn (P), Eddie Rommell (P).

    Bottom Row, L-R: Frank 'Pinky' Higgins (IF), Cy Perkins (C), Mickey Cochrane (C), Jimmy Dykes (3B), Connie Mack (Mgr.), Al Simmons (LF), Bing Miller (RF), Jimmy Foxx (1B), Eddie Collins (coach), Kid Gleason (coach).



    1930 Philadelphia Athletics; 102-52, .662, 8 g ahead, (WS W 4-2 over Cardinals)---BB Reference---Player identifications provided courtesy of Gary Livacari (GaryL).

    Top Row, L-R: *Doc Edward E. Ebling (trainer), Lee Roy Mahaffey (P), George Earnshaw (P), Mule Haas (CF), Bill Shores (P), Wally Schang (C), Earl Mack (coach), Jack Quinn (P).

    Middle Row, L-R: Charlie Perkins (P), Pinky Higgins (IF), Homer Suma (RF), Jimmie Foxx (1B), Dibrell Williams (IF), Bing Miller (RF), Lefty Grove (P), Jimmy Moore (OF), Cy Perkins (C).

    Bottom Row, L-R: Joe Boley (SS), Max Bishop (2B), Jimmie Dykes (3B), Eddie Collins (coach), Connie Mack (Mgr.), Bill 'Kid' Gleason (coach), Eddie Rommel (P), Al Simmons (LF), Mickey Cochrane (C).

    Rube Walberg/Eric McNair are not pictured.

    *Doc Edward E. Ebling joined the Philadelphia A's in 1915. He died February 11, 1938 at the age of 63. He was their trainer/chief masseur.

  7. #7
    27 Yankees
    Lazzerri,Meusel were set ups for prime Ruth and Gherig
    Kinda scary

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshfan View Post
    27 Yankees
    Lazzerri,Meusel were set ups for prime Ruth and Gherig
    Kinda scary
    As is OBP machine Max Bishop setting up prime Cochrane/Simmons/Foxx. And he best defense and pitching in baseball didn't hurt either. And don't forget who dethroned that great Yankees' team in dominating fashion - even with prime Gehrig and Ruth and Combs, Lazzerri having his best year ever, and young Bill Dickey behind the plate.

  9. #9
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    Nobody can say for sure which team is the greatest. That's why it's such a fun debate.

    I'd like to see some more love for Frank Selee's Boston Beaneaters of the 1890s. They were a better team than the Orioles of the same era, IMO, and yet the Baltimores get all the love.

    I can't say as where the Boston club is the greatest of all time, but I'd certainly rank them above the Old Orioles -- even if McGraw, Keeler, etc. were more colorful.

    And although there's simply no way to quantify it, those Pittsburgh Crawfords clubs of the 1930s had some pretty impressive ballplayers on the roster, most of whom were in their prime. I'd throw them on my "all-time" list, just because of the eye-popping talent assembled, even though we'll never really know how good they could have been. But, man, you talk about ballplayers! They rival the Big Red Machine for sheer star power: Paige, Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Judy Johnson, Double-Duty Ratcliffe. That's a hellova team right there!!!
    "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victory Faust View Post
    And although there's simply no way to quantify it, those Pittsburgh Crawfords clubs of the 1930s had some pretty impressive ballplayers on the roster, most of whom were in their prime. I'd throw them on my "all-time" list, just because of the eye-popping talent assembled, even though we'll never really know how good they could have been. But, man, you talk about ballplayers! They rival the Big Red Machine for sheer star power: Paige, Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Judy Johnson, Double-Duty Ratcliffe. That's a hellova team right there!!!
    Don't forget the '31 Homestead Grays. Gibson, Charleston, Smokey Joe Williams, Bill Foster, Ratcliffe, Jud Wilson.

  11. #11
    No mention of a team that won 5 consecutive pennants, averaging 101 wins per season. 2 WS wins, of the 3 WS they lost, once they out-scored their opponent 55-27, were beat by a HR in the 9th. Another 7 game loss, they outscored the opposition 33-32, beaten by 2 runs in 7th game. They were swept in 4 games in one WS, but 2 of the games they lost by 1 run.

    The 1960-1965 NY Yankees.
    It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!

  12. #12
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    I am a little surprised I was the only one to vote for Dem Bums.
    Your Second Base Coach
    If Rfield was a better stat, and actually measured fielding ability, we would not need Rpos.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Second Base Coach View Post
    I am a little surprised I was the only one to vote for Dem Bums.
    Really?

    Sharp minds may quail before some intellectual stumbling block about the 1947-1956 or 1952-1953 or choose your own endpoints Brooklyn Dodgers. But intrepid souls carry on. What's the problem?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burgess View Post
    I would like to throw some love to the team that I have long-considered the Greatest Team of them all. The 1929-32 Philadelphia Athletics. I think it is time to give them some much over-due props and respect.

    I am aware that I am probably the only Fever member who feels this way.

    1929 A's
    1930 A's
    1931 A's
    1932 A's
    Even as a die hard Yankee fan I gotta agree with you. That era of the A's had it all. Pitching, hitting, and defense.

    Yankees Fan Since 1957

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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------The Shibe Family

    Benjamin Franklin Shibe:

    Co-Owner: Philadelphia Athletics, 1901 - 1922

    Born: January 28, 1838, Philadelphia, PA
    Died: January 14, 1922, Philadelphia, PA, age 83

    Sporting News' Obituary, by James C. Isaminger, January 19, 1922, pp. 2.
    Attachment 29149

    Benjamin F. Shibe (January 23, 1838 - January 14, 1922) was an American executive in Major League Baseball who was half-owner of the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901 until his death. Frank Leonardo Hough was a 25% owner until he died September 15, 1913. He then sold his shares to Connie Mack.

    He is credited with the invention of the machinery to make standard baseballs. Shibe Park was named in his honor from 1909 to 1954, at which time it was re-named Connie Mack Stadium.

    Partner of Al Reach in sporting goods, bought into the Philadelphia baseball franchise, when AL first formed in 1901.

    Ben Shibe/Hugh Duffy: December 16, 1910


    All the shots below are from October 9, 1916, Fenway Park, Boston: World Series: Game 2

    Edward J. McKeever, (Co-Owner of Brooklyn Dodgers); Ben Shibe; Garry Herrmann (Cincinnati owner), Joseph Flanner (Secretary on Herrmann's Commission)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thomas Stevenson Shibe: (son of Ben)

    Owner: Philadelphia Athletics, January 14, 1922 - February 16, 1936

    Born: January 13, 1866, New Jersey
    Died: February 16, 1936, Philadelphia, PA, age 70
    Buried: West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, PA[/B]

    Tom inherited both the club/Reach company upon the death of his father, Ben in 1922.

    Tom came into the AL in 1901 when he bought stock in the Athletics their first year in the AL.

    However, the Shibes controlled the Reach company, makers of sporting goods and athletic equipment, and Tom turned over to his brother John the general management of the ball club.

    He played amateur ball until 1891, and until 1918, put on a uniform and worked out with the Athletics on their training trips.

    Since his concern made the baseballs used in the AL, he contended that the over-abundance of home runs was due to a decline in pitching, shorter fences and freer swingers.

    Tom was a member of the Penn Athletic club, the Merchants' and Manufacturers' and other clubs in Philadelphia.

    2 shots of Tom Shibe.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Ida Virginia Shibe: (wife of Thomas)

    Owner: Philadelphia Athletics, July 11, 1937 - August 30, 1950

    Born: June 17, 1871, Pennsylvania
    Died: May 13, 1952, Philadelphia, PA (Germantown), age 71

    Ida inherited the club upon the death of her brother-in-law, John, in 1937. She sold the Athletics club to the Mack brothers, Roy/Earle, August 30, 1950, thus finally ending the Shibe family's interests in the Athletics. She had bequeathed some of her stock to her children, and those interests were also included in the Mack buyout of the Shibes.

    Roy/Earle Mack paid a total of $1,750,000. to acquire full ownership rights to the Athletics. Included in the buyout were Mrs. Connie Mack, Sr., Connie Jr., the heirs of the Shibes; Ida Shibe, Mrs. Mary Reach, Mrs. Elfrida Macfarland, and her 2 sons; Benjamin S., and Frank S. Macfarland.

    -------------------Tom Shibe------------------------------Tom Shibe------------------------Ida Shibe---------------------Ida Shibe

    ------------------------------------------------------
    John D. Shibe: (son of Ben)


    Owner: Philadelphia Athletics, February 16, 1936 - July 11, 1937

    Born: November 20, 1873, Philadelphia, PA
    Died: July 11, 1937, Philadelphia, PA, age 71---d. pneumonia[/B]

    John inherited the club upon the death of his brother Tom in 1936.

    The younger son of Ben, who died in 1922, John was vice-president and secretary of the Athletics. He was in charge as GM of the business end of the club.

    He spent a small fortune on speed boat racing. For years he tried to win the American cup, but never succeeded. His friends called him the Thomas Lipton of speed boating.

    He devoted his time to the business management and left the league affairs to his brother, Tom and Connie Mack. At the close of seasons, he turned his attention to hunting. He was associated with the Athletics since 1901.

    --------------------------John Shibe--------------------------------------John Shibe

  16. #16
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    John Shibe – A Biographic Sketch
    By Bob Warrington


    When the American League (AL) was created in 1900, Charles W. Somers, a Cleveland industrialist, fronted the money to support the formation of franchises in several cities. Under AL President Ban Johnson’s scheme developed in concert with Somers, as told by Bruce Kuklick in his book, “To Every Thing A Season: Shibe Park and Urban Philadelphia, 1909-1976,” as clubs in the new league became established in their respective cities, local interests would buy out Somers to avoid the stigma of syndicate ball (i.e., an individual owning or having a financial interest in more than one franchise).

    This arrangement was used to establish the Philadelphia Athletics. As Kuklick writes, Somers initially paid more than $30,000 for a three-quarters interest in the club. Connie Mack received the remaining one-quarter of stock in return for an investment valued between $5,000 and $10,000, and his commitment to manage the team. To transfer the Athletics’ ownership to local interests, Mack approached Benjamin F. Shibe in December 1900 about investing in the club. Shibe, a partner in the A. J. Reach & Company—a manufacturer of baseball equipment and other sporting goods—had a long association with sports and readily understood the marketing potential a second major league would offer in selling the Reach Company’s products. The deal was made all the sweeter for Shibe by Mack’s offer to make the A. J. Reach baseball the official ball of the American League.

    Shibe took his time in agreeing to the proposition, but in 1901 purchased 50 percent of Athletics’ stock from Somers. The remaining one-quarter of Somers’ interest in the club was sold in an even split to Philadelphia sportswriters Sam Jones and Frank Hough. For his investment, Ben Shibe was named president of the Philadelphia Athletics.

    Thomas and John Shibe

    Ben Shibe’s two sons—Thomas (Tom) and John—were working with their father at the A. J. Reach & Company when he bought a majority interest in the Athletics. (Tom and John purchased stock in the Athletics along with their father, bringing the Shibe family’s investment in the club to 50 percent of its stock.) Both sons—especially Tom, the oldest—had an interest in baseball, and both were anxious to get involved in the business management of the franchise. Tom was named Vice President of the Athletics, and John was appointed the club’s Secretary/Business Manager. Connie Mack, in addition to managing the A’s team, filled the position of treasurer.

    Running the club on the field was left entirely to Mack, while Tom and John Shibe oversaw the business side of the franchise. Although Ben was club president, he was consumed primarily by his responsibilities at the Reach plant, so Tom performed many of the duties associated with his father’s office. According to Kuklick, Jack (John) became the Athletics’ business manager or "secretary" in 1902. He oversaw the finances and the club’s physical plant (Columbia Park and then Shibe Park)—its maintenance and the nuts-and-bolts of running a business out of a ball park.

    In his role, John Shibe oversaw the remodeling of Shibe Park. The major renovations of 1925—adding upper decks from third base to left field, from first base to right field, and on the left field bleachers; rebuilding the original grandstand; and relocating home plate so that more seats (those most expensive to sit in to watch a game) could be emplaced behind it—took place under John Shibe’s direction.

    John Shibe also earned the everlasting ire of residents on the 2700 block of North 20th Street, which ran parallel to Shibe Park’s right field wall, when he ordered 22 feet added to the top of the original 12-foot wall that ran from the right field line to the flagpole in centerfield. Rich Westcott, in his book, "Philadelphia’s Old Ballparks," explains why the “spite fence” (or "spite wall") was constructed:

    "Mack had long been disenchanted with the way fans sat on the rooftops along 20th Street and got a free view of his team’s games. From a rooftop, fans could peer over the 12-foot right field wall and see the entire game and also get a suntan in the process. It was a practice they’d been following since the park was opened in 1909."

    The "rooftop stands" produced substantial income for the block as residents sold tickets to people who would sit on the homes’ flat second-story roofs to watch games. The A’s, on the other hand, viewed the practice as reducing ballpark admissions. Raising the right field wall by 22 feet—using corrugated metal which was then painted green—effectively blocked the views of the rooftop squatters. Neighborhood residents took the A’s to court in an effort to have the addition removed, but the club won the case. According to Kuklick, "The residents never forgot."

    John Shibe also confronted a firestorm of protests in the early 1930s when an A’s official raised the prospect of moving the Athletics to Camden, New Jersey so the team could play home games on Sunday. Pennsylvania’s “blue laws” prevented professional sports from being played in the state on the Christian Sabbath. John Shibe compounded the problem when he made a well-publicized visit to the Garden State ostensibly to look at prospective sites for the new ballpark. Shibe’s gambit was intended to create pressure on Pennsylvania politicians to remove restrictions on the A’s playing home games on Sunday, but it backfired. The outcry in Philadelphia that greeted the prospect of the Athletics moving across the Delaware River to play their games in New Jersey was so great that John Shibe was compelled to announce that the idea was visionary and not even in its embryonic stages.

    Despite occasional controversies and public relations gaffes, the division of responsibility between Mack and the Shibe family worked out splendidly. A story about John Shibe in the “New York Times” noted, “Even while he was secretary and vice president, John Shibe was the “park” man of the partnership. The playing end was in charge of Mack and the Shibe brothers never interfered.” The influence of the Shibes in managing the Athletics franchise, nevertheless, was considerable. As Kuklick points out in his book, “The Shibes worked quietly but powerfully on the A’s.”

    More About John Shibe

    Although John Shibe spent most of his life working for the Philadelphia Athletics, his passion for sports was not confined to baseball. Frederick Lieb, in his book, “Connie Mack: Grand Old Man of Baseball,” writes, “While John was an ardent Athletic fan, his big hobby was speedboat racing, and he spent a fortune trying to win the American Cup. Connie and his associates often called him Thomas Lipton.”

    Shibe’s love of speedboat racing also was mentioned in a newspaper story about him, which included a remarkable revelation about combining that devotion with his need to be at Shibe Park to carry out his duties:

    During the last decade or so Mr. Shibe took up power-boat racing as a hobby and at his death he had a fleet of speedy craft. He built a large plant under the left-field stands at Shibe Park where he could make repairs and even build boats.”

    Bruce Kuklick offers a view of John Shibe that also shows his interest in sporting endeavors went well beyond baseball:

    Younger brother Jack (John), however, typified the twentieth-century American “sportsman”: he was a wealthy entrepreneur who associated with athletes and who promoted the political and social aspects of professional competition. Jack liked horse racing, football, boxing, and speedboat racing as well as baseball. He looked after the family’s money in the franchise (Athletics). For a time he owned the publication “Sporting Life” and also had interests in contracting and in amusement parks.”

    A newspaper story describing John Shibe’s life notes that in his youth he played baseball with amateur teams, won honors as an oarsman, and under the ring name of “Young Devine” was an outstanding amateur lightweight boxer. Shibe’s connection to the ring led him to organize some professional fights at Shibe Park soon after it opened. Both the Shibes and Connie Mack were amenable to staging events at the ballpark beyond baseball games to generate funds from the facility’s use.

    John Shibe also was a prominent member of the Democratic Party in Philadelphia. His ties to the powerful patriarchs of the city’s political hierarchy helped the Athletics on more than one occasion when it came to obtaining favorable treatment involving building variances, municipal regulations, city services, and taxes.

    The A’s Ownership Hierarchy Evolves

    The Shibe-Mack partnership worked extremely well—the Shibes handling the cash and Mack being granted complete freedom to run the team—and the franchise prospered both financially and on the field. The original power-sharing arrangement lasted from 1901 until January 14, 1922, when Ben Shibe died. Tom Shibe was elevated to the position of club president, and John Shibe added the title of vice president to his portfolio—retaining the position of club secretary.

    Thomas Shibe died on February 16, 1936 of a heart ailment, raising again a leadership succession question for the Philadelphia Athletics. Lieb says in his book that there was some talk about Connie Mack taking over as club president, but Mack threw his support behind John Shibe, who on February 24, 1936 was elected president of the Philadelphia Athletics. At that same meeting of the club’s Board of Directors, Connie’s son, Roy F. Mack, 48, was elected club vice president, replacing John Shibe in that position. Roy Mack had been the business manager of the Portland club of the Pacific Coast League. Connie Mack retained his title as club treasurer throughout this period.

    A Brief Tenure

    John Shibe served as the Philadelphia Athletics president from February until August 1936. In August, he resigned the position claiming an unspecified illness and expressing the hope that he would be able to resume an active role in the franchise after a year of convalescence. But, John Shibe would never do so.

    John Shibe’s continued poor health led to Connie Mack becoming president of the Philadelphia Athletics. At the A’s annual business meeting on January 11, 1937, John Shibe’s retirement was officially announced and Connie Mack was elected as club president. In addition, Benjamin MacFarland was named traveling secretary, and Frank MacFarland was appointed assistant treasurer. (It was also at this meeting, according to a newspaper report of the proceedings, that a Ladies Day at Shibe Park was approved for the first time. Discounted admissions for ladies once a week on their special day became a regular occurrence at the ballpark on Thursday afternoons.)

    On July 11th of that same year, John Shibe passed away—the last member of the Shibe family to have an influential management role in the Athletics’ organization. He was 65 years old.

    Most newspapers that reported John Shibe’s death restricted their treatment of the story to the fact that he died of pneumonia at Beeches Sanitarium in Philadelphia. The “New York Times,” however, in its obituary of John Shibe that appeared in the newspaper on July 12, 1937, reported that he had suffered a “nervous breakdown” during the latter part of the 1936 baseball season, which forced him to give up the club’s presidency. His condition did not improve, and he entered the sanitarium in early 1937.

    Upon being notified of John Shibe’s death, Connie Mack said, “We were partners for thirty-five years and not one bitter word ever passed between us. His friends and baseball men in general mourn his loss.” John Shibe was buried on July 14, 1937. Connie Mack, American League President William Harridge, and other baseball notables attended the funeral.

    John Shibe’s obituary in the “New York Times” commented that he was survived by his widow, Ethyl Shibe. His first wife, the former Miss. Jessie Brown of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was living in Paris, France at the time of John Shibe’s death. They had divorced some years before.

    A Momentous Turning Point

    John Shibe’s death brought a profound change to the ownership structure of the Philadelphia Athletics and represented a turning point in the history of the franchise. As David Jordan in his book, “The Athletics of Philadelphia: Connie Mack’s White Elephants, 1901-1954,” writes, “Connie Mack in December 1940 was able to purchase the stock of the late John Shibe for $42,000 to attain majority control of the Athletics franchise.” For the first time, the Mack family controlled the Athletics and Shibe Park. (Connie Mack had acquired the one-quarter interest held by sportswriters Hough and Jones following the 1912 season for $113,000 using a loan provided by Ben Shibe. By purchasing their shares, Mack then held a 50 percent interest in both the franchise and Shibe Park.)

    The Shibe family, nonetheless, continued to have considerable holdings in the franchise. Although both of Ben Shibe’s sons were gone, his daughters still lived—Mrs. George Reach and Mrs. Elfreda MacFarland—and retained blocks of stock.

    But, John Shibe’s death shifted the locus of power over the franchise and its ballpark from the Shibe family to the Mack family. Connie Mack now faced the dilemma of dividing his shares amongst his heirs. Friction provoked both by disagreements over the distribution of shares and by sorting out who would do what in overseeing the franchise created bitter fissures within the Mack family, and it would eventually contribute to the departure of the Athletics from Philadelphia.

  17. #17
    You do a fantastic job with your research Bill. This is the kind of stuff I enjoy getting into on this site. I have always considered the A's of this era one of the top five teams of all time. I don't believe the had the pitching depth to match the Yankees of a few years earlier, but you can counter that by saying they had the more dominant pitcher (Grove) and possibly set of pitchers (Grove and Earnshaw over Hoyt and Pennock). To have seen those two clubs go head to head during that period would have been fun.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lollar View Post
    You do a fantastic job with your research Bill. This is the kind of stuff I enjoy getting into on this site. I have always considered the A's of this era one of the top five teams of all time. I don't believe the had the pitching depth to match the Yankees of a few years earlier, but you can counter that by saying they had the more dominant pitcher (Grove) and possibly set of pitchers (Grove and Earnshaw over Hoyt and Pennock). To have seen those two clubs go head to head during that period would have been fun.
    Ah shucks now, lollar. I am supremely tempted to accept your warm praise but alas, I would be dishonest if I did.

    I am but a poor finder and documenter of other people's research. I do love to search and then to assemble the documents for us to browse. We should all be thankful to people like Bob Warrington, Bruce Kuklick and Norman Macht for their many years of hard research. They are the heroes. Not I.

    But if you really want to be nice to me, well, OK!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burgess View Post
    I would like to throw some love to the team that I have long-considered the Greatest Team of them all. The 1929-32 Philadelphia Athletics.
    Why four seasons?
    They must be a stronger candidate over five or six seasons beginning 1928 or 1927, right? If four, maybe 1928-31.

    How would the "1927 Yankees" be remembered today if the Athletics had won the 1928 pennant race, with or without the world series championship?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wendt View Post
    Why four seasons?
    They must be a stronger candidate over five or six seasons beginning 1928 or 1927, right? If four, maybe 1928-31.

    How would the "1927 Yankees" be remembered today if the Athletics had won the 1928 pennant race, with or without the world series championship?
    When I choose my 'greatest team', I like to choose it based on a 3-year period. Here is how I got this way. It is based on something Connie Mack once said.

    Connie said, "Anyone can win a pennant, but only the really good ones can repeat. And only the really great ones can win 3 in a row." I never forgot that opinion of his.

    So, that is how I do it and why. In case anyone was wondering why Bill was so eccentric or weird.

    But you are actually quite right, Paul. In 1928, the A's did better than they did in 1932.

    The 1928 / 1932 A's were:

    1928 A's---98-55, .641, 2.5 g behind
    1932 A's---94-60, .610, 13 g behind

    So, I went back and added the 1928 A's to the thread title. Thanks for the sharp perception, Paul, as ever.

  21. #21
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    Edwin Americus Rommel

    Born: September 13, 1897, Baltimore, MD
    Died: August 26, 1970, Baltimore, MD

    ML pitcher: 1920 - 1932; all as Philadelphia A's pitcher

    Coaching History:
    Philadelphia A's, 1933 - 1934

  22. #22
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    Russell Aubrey Blackburne---AKA Lena Blackburne

    Born: October 23, 1886, Clifton Heights, PA
    Died: February 29, 1968, Riverside, NJ

    ML player: 1910, 1912, 1914-15, 1918-19; divided his infielding between AL and NL.

    Managing History:
    Chicago White Sox, 1928-29

    Coaching History:
    Chicago White Sox, 1927-28
    St. Louis Browns, 1930
    Philadelphia A's, 1933-40, 1942-43

  23. #23
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    There is a long, interesting feature article by William Nack about that A's team in the August 19, 1996 issue of Sports Illustrated entitled Lost in History. It's 11 pages, including a full page photo of Cochrane and several quarter pages of some of the others. Here's the cover shot of Al Simmons.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    3 6 10 21 29 31 35 41 42 44 47

    “I’m honored to go into the Baseball Hall of Fame with such a great group of men.” - Tom Glavine.

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