View Poll Results: My Candidate for the Greatest Team Ever

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  • 1926-29 New York Yankees

    9 15.52%
  • 1929-32 Philadelphia Athletics

    10 17.24%
  • 1936-43 New York Yankees

    12 20.69%
  • 1917-20 Chicago White Sox

    2 3.45%
  • 1910-14 Philadelphia Athletics

    0 0%
  • 1921-24 New York Giants

    0 0%
  • 1894-96 Baltimore Orioles

    1 1.72%
  • 1955-58 New York Yankees

    0 0%
  • 1949-56 Brooklyn Dodgers

    2 3.45%
  • 1949-53 New York Yankees

    9 15.52%
  • 1997-2002 New York Yankees

    3 5.17%
  • 1906-10 Chicago Cubs

    3 5.17%
  • 1970-76 Cincinnati Reds

    4 6.90%
  • 1988-92 Oakland A's

    0 0%
  • 1972-74 Oakland A's

    2 3.45%
  • 1976-81 New York Yankees

    0 0%
  • 1930's Pittsburgh Crawfords

    0 0%
  • 1930's Homestead Greys

    1 1.72%
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Thread: Philadelphia Athletics, 1928-1932

  1. #26
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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?"

  2. #27
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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.

  3. #28
    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.
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  4. #29
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    Another team I'd say might be in the mix would be those 1940's Cardinals teams. Certainly you've got to discount them because of the war, but they still had a very impressive run.

    1941 - 97 wins, 2nd place NL
    1942 - 106 wins, won World Series
    1943 - 105 wins, lost World Series
    1944 - 105 wins, won World Series
    1945 - 95 wins, 2nd place NL
    1946 - 98 wins, won World Series
    1947 - 89 wins, 2nd place NL
    1948 - 85 wins, 2nd place NL
    1949 - 96 wins, 2nd place NL (1 game out of first)

    And from 1939 to 1953 they never finished lower than 3rd place in the National League. And from 1941-1947 they never had an team ERA+ lower than 115, and led the NL in ERA+ every year but 1945 (when they finished a close 2nd).

  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by mwiggins View Post
    Another team I'd say might be in the mix would be those 1940's Cardinals teams. Certainly you've got to discount them because of the war, but they still had a very impressive run.

    1941 - 97 wins, 2nd place NL
    1942 - 106 wins, won World Series
    1943 - 105 wins, lost World Series
    1944 - 105 wins, won World Series
    1945 - 95 wins, 2nd place NL
    1946 - 98 wins, won World Series
    1947 - 89 wins, 2nd place NL
    1948 - 85 wins, 2nd place NL
    1949 - 96 wins, 2nd place NL (1 game out of first)

    And from 1939 to 1953 they never finished lower than 3rd place in the National League. And from 1941-1947 they never had an team ERA+ lower than 115, and led the NL in ERA+ every year but 1945 (when they finished a close 2nd).

    I would take the 1942 Cardinals as the greatest NL team of all time.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by SavoyBG View Post
    I would take the 1942 Cardinals as the greatest NL team of all time.
    I'd probably still have to go with the '06 Cubs, but that Cards pitching staff was just unbelievably loaded. Cooper and Beazley were 1-2 in ERA+ that season (by a long shot - Beazley was 30 pts better than 3rd place that year), and their team ERA+ was 135. And they had two superstars on offense in Musial and Slaughter; as well as a rock solid defense up the middle with Cooper, Marion, and Moore.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SavoyBG View Post
    I would take the 1942 Cardinals as the greatest NL team of all time.
    I don't even think any Cardinals team was the greatest NL team, and I don't think 1942 was the best Cards team
    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
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  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthMayBond View Post
    I don't even think any Cardinals team was the greatest NL team, and I don't think 1942 was the best Cards team
    Based on what?

    The 42 Cardinals had the best run differential ever for any non wartime Cardinal team, and they easily beat the mighty Yankees in the world series that year, and this was before the war depleted the ranks of MLB players.

    The 42 team was 106-48 led the league with 755 runs acored, and also led the league allowing the fewest number of runs with 480. They scored 275 more runs than they allowed. What Cardinal team do you think was better than them?

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by mwiggins View Post
    I'd probably still have to go with the '06 Cubs, but that Cards pitching staff was just unbelievably loaded. Cooper and Beazley were 1-2 in ERA+ that season (by a long shot - Beazley was 30 pts better than 3rd place that year), and their team ERA+ was 135. And they had two superstars on offense in Musial and Slaughter; as well as a rock solid defense up the middle with Cooper, Marion, and Moore.

    The league had to have been much stronger in 1942 than it was in 1906, plus there is the small matter of the world series. The Cubs lost to a bunch of no names and the Cardinals easily beat one of the greatest teams in history. Check the numbers on the '42 Yankees, they were a great team too.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by SavoyBG View Post
    Based on what?

    The 42 Cardinals had the best run differential ever for any non wartime Cardinal team, and they easily beat the mighty Yankees in the world series that year, and this was before the war depleted the ranks of MLB players.

    The 42 team was 106-48 led the league with 755 runs acored, and also led the league allowing the fewest number of runs with 480. They scored 275 more runs than they allowed. What Cardinal team do you think was better than them?
    I was thinking 1944.
    1) Their pitching was about equally as strong
    2) 42 Cards did not lead their league in adjusted batting runs (or OPS+), 44 Cards did
    3) 44 Cards had a better RATIO of Runs Scored/Runs Allowed than 1942

    so 44 Cards were best compared with their league, you can argue about the war stuff and I'm not sure how to allow for it
    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
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  11. #36
    Musial has said that the 42 Cards were the best team he played on and as good as any ballclub he's ever seen.

    44 team had lost a couple of their best players to WW2, Slaughter and Terry Moore. He was before my time, but I've heard the old timers who saw him say that Moore may have been the greatest defensive CFer ever.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by 64Cards View Post
    Musial has said that the 42 Cards were the best team he played on and as good as any ballclub he's ever seen.

    44 team had lost a couple of their best players to WW2, Slaughter and Terry Moore. He was before my time, but I've heard the old timers who saw him say that Moore may have been the greatest defensive CFer ever.
    I was talking best relative to their league. Otherwise you might consider the 98 Yanks
    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
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  13. #38
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    I'd like to offer this thread for your voting pleasure, for the recent visitors.

  14. #39
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    The following photos are from 1927-28 A's, mostly the 1928 A's. Connie Mack's strategy was to bring the savvy of experienced veteran players to impart their knowledge to his young players. It worked beautifully. He brought in Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, Zack Wheat, Jack Quinn and coach Kid Gleason.

    Connie's Board of Strategy: 1927
    L-R: Kid Gleason, Ty Cobb, Connie Mack, Eddie Collins.


    March 22, 1927, Spring Training, Clearwater, FL
    L-R: Zack Wheat, Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb, Connie Mack.


    March 22, 1927: L-R: Eddie Collins, Connie Mack, Ty Cobb.


    March 12, 1927: Philadelphia training camp in Ft. Myers Florida.
    L-R: Kid Gleason, Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb, Zack Wheat, Connie Mack.



    Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker; April 20 1928, Yankee Stadium.


    Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker; April 20, 1928, Yankee Stadium.-----------------------Opening Day, 1928, Shibe Park.


    Lou Gehrig, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth; Opening Day, 1928, Shibe Park. Yanks won 8-3.


    Lou Gehrig, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth: Opening Day, 1928, Shibe Park.-------Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Eddie Collins: 1927 Opening Day, Yankee Stadium.


    1927 Opening Day, Yankee Stadium. L-R: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Eddie Collins.


    1928: Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins.----------------------Al Simmons, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb.------------------Al Simmons, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb.


  15. #40
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    A homer pick, but I think the 1986 Mets were one of the twenty or so greatest teams ever.

    Greatest team ever? Probably the 1998 Yanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    "Read at your own risk. Baseball Fever shall not be responsible if you become clinically insane trying to make sense of this post. People under 18 must read in the presence of a parent, guardian, licensed professional, or Dr. Phil."

  16. #41
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    1928: Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins.



    1928: Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------1927: Ty Cobb, Zack Wheat, Eddie Collins.


    September 9, 1928: Ty Cobb/Tris Speaker



    1928: Walter French, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Bing Miller, Mule Haas.


    1928 Philadelphia A's---Bing Miller, Al Simmons & Tris Speaker.

    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-09-2014 at 12:08 PM.

  17. #42
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    Doc Edward Edgarton Ebling:

    Born: December 5, 1874, Tyrone, PA
    Died: February 11, 1938, Philadelphia, PA, age 63---d. after an illness of several months.

    Philadelphia Athletics' trainer, spring, 1915 - February 11, 1938, died.

    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.

    His entry in Who's Who in Major League Baseball, edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 437---------------------New York Times' obituary, February 12, 1938, pp. 15.

  18. #43
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    Earle Thaddeus Mack:

    Born: February 1, 1890, Spencer, MA
    Died: February 4, 1967, Upper Darby, PA, age 77

    ML player: 1910-14
    ML coach:
    Philadelphia A's, 1924-50

    son of Connie Mack & former part-owner of the Philadelphia Athletics at Upper Darby, PA. Appeared in 5 ML games with the Athletics in 1910-11-14; served as coach from 1924-50, and as assistant manager from 1943 to May 26, 1950, vice-president of the club from 1939 until August, 1950, when he and his older brother, Roy, bought ownership of the Athletics: then served as secretary until sale of the club to Arnold Johnson in November, 1954.


    His entry in Who's Who in Major League Baseball, edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 423.

  19. #44
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    William J. Gleason---AKA Kid Gleason

    Born: October 26, 1866, Camden, NJ
    Died: January 2, 1933, Philadelphia, PA, age 66---d. heart ailment

    Manager:
    Chicago White Sox, 1919 - 1923

    Coach:
    Philadelphia Phillies, 1908 - 1911
    Chicago White Sox, 1912 - 1914, 1916 - 1917
    Philadelphia Athletics, 1926 - 1932

    ML Pitcher:
    Philadelphia (1888-91), Cardinals (1892-94), Baltimore(1894-95).

    Went 1, 2 with the Black Sox in 1919-20. Then 7, 5, 7 with the carcass of the White Sox. He was real brains behind White Sox win in 1917. Official manager Clarence (Pants) Rowlings was just for show.

    March 25, 1922, San Antonio, TX---Managing Record---Baseball Biography Project, authored by Dan Lindner

    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-09-2014 at 12:09 PM.

  20. #45
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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

  21. #46
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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

  22. #47
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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.

  23. #48
    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.

  24. #49
    Join Date
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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

  25. #50
    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?

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