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Connie Mack General Thread

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  • EdTarbusz
    replied
    Originally posted by westsidegrounds View Post
    Phil Marchildon's autobiography (with Brian Kendall), titled Ace, is out of print but available second hand (try bookfinder.com). Very interesting as an account of what pro ball was like for a journeyman player back then, in addition to his war experiences.
    Marchildon was probably the most prominent athlete suffering from PTSD to come out of WWII.

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  • westsidegrounds
    replied
    Phil Marchildon's autobiography (with Brian Kendall), titled Ace, is out of print but available second hand (try bookfinder.com). Very interesting as an account of what pro ball was like for a journeyman player back then, in addition to his war experiences.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bigfoot 88
    replied
    Not going to insert any political opinions here. But here is some interesting trivia. Connie Mack's grandson, Connie Mack III, served as a U.S. Representative and Senator from Florida. His great grandson, Connie Mack IV, is currently a U.S. Representative from Florida and has jumped into the Senate race there.

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  • EdTarbusz
    replied
    As Veterans Day approaches I'm reminded of Connie Mack and Phil Marchildon. Marchildon served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII and his plane was shot down in August of 1944 over the Baltic Sea. He spent the rest of the war as a POW being liberating a few days before Germany surrendered. After nine months as a POW Marchildon was in an extremely bad physical condition.

    After being discharged Marchildon returned to Canada to recuperate and was soon contacted by the Athletics to come back and pitch for them. Al Simmons (by then an Athletics coach) visited him and was so shocked by Marchildon's appearance that he told Mack that the team should send send to a spa in California for what could be a long recuperation. Mack vetoed this and insisted that Marchildon re-join the team and that the team would have a benfit night for him and that Marchildon would be the starting pitcher for the game. Marchildon had two short outings on the mound before the benefit. Before the benefit he had little opportunity to work himself into shape and Marchildon tore a groin muscle fielding a ball hit toward him. Before the game mack presented him with a $1000 war bond that Marchildon said was actually worth around $750. He was embittered by the whole experience and felt that Mack had exploited him to make a few dollars.

    As a veteran I found this whole episode to be distasteful.

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  • Beady
    replied
    Am I right in remembering that the Yankees went many years without declaring a dividend? Jacob Ruppert was a wealthy man who didn't need an income from his ball club. People like Mack and Griffith and probably Comiskey may perhaps have been comfortably off, perhaps very much so, but baseball was their livelihood and they couldn't afford to plow all their profits back into the club.

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  • Ubiquitous
    replied
    Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
    Did Mack do well financially on a personal basis?

    His contemporary Clark Griffith owned a big house on diplomat's row, supported two families and did well with rentals of his park to the Negro leagues and the Redskins. In fact, Griffith's partner never even directly paid his loan to purchase the club - he just used the yearly dividend checks from the club to pay off the loan.

    Griffith owned about 20% of the Senators as of the mid 1910s and 60% as of December 1919.
    I used to live by Connie MAck's home in Philadelphia. It is in the Germantown area which I would say at the time was definitely an upper middle to upper class neighborhood. The homes to this day are still very beautiful unfortunately the neighborhood is a bit of a hit or miss.

    Google street view



    The house he died in.


    street view

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Burgess
    Did they all have only 1-year contracts? Hardly. I know of many, many exceptions.

    Cobb had a 6-year contract at $20K, 1915-20.
    Walter Johnson had a 6-year contract, at $16K, 1915-20.
    Eddie Collins had a 6-year contract, at $15K, 1915-1920.
    Babe Ruth had a 5-year contract, at $52K, 1922-26.

    In fact, most of the top stars had multi-year contracts. Look at Historical salaries and this will be born out.
    That's what I thought. SO a team can't just unilaterally cut a player's salary if the player has a multi-year contract.

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Burgess
    I guess I do. Fred Lieb was not known to exaggerate or blow smoke. If he claimed that Mack had told him that, Lieb had a better source in Mack than I have in Macht.

    If Fred said it, I'd be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. If certain other writers had said it, I'd be less inclined to give it credibility.

    We do know that by 1932, the Great Depression was hitting MLB hard. We do know that the New York Yankees, after the 1932 season, saw the need to cut every member of the team, including manager McCarthy and GM Barrow's salary. Lou Gehrig got cut from $25K to $23K. The Babe was cut all the way down from $75K to $52K. Of course in Ruth's case, it was also a case of declining value based on declining productivity. But the Yankees restored Gehrig to $31K after his great 1934 season.
    Bill, I'm curious, did all players have one year contracts in this era of baseball? It seems strange that a team could just cut every player's salary if they had multi-year contracts.

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  • Brian McKenna
    replied
    Originally posted by Jorge View Post
    A big reason for the Athletics having such a rough time during their last 20 or so years in Philadelphia was said to be Connie Mack's increasing age. "To Everything A Season" by Bruce Kuklick makes notes of senility possibly slipping in by the 1940s with Connie becoming short tempered, getting forgetful, and at times making very strange strategic decisions that players and coaches either convinced him to retract or just ignored and worked around. Connie Mack was 87 during the 1950 season. My grandpa lived to 90 and remained pretty sharp and fit for his age until the end, but I can't even imagine the idea of him piloting a major league ballclub at the age Mack was in the late 1940s and 1950. Perhaps the issue is not whether the A's were a bad team due to financial constraints or an unwillingness to compete, but rather due to Mack having aged too much and slipped too far to do the job properly.
    During this time, was Mack working as his own general manager as well. If so this is a stronger point that he was getting in the way of the club. He surely didn'y have the time and energy - and focus as you've noted - to perform at the top level as both field and general manager.

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  • Jorge
    replied
    A big reason for the Athletics having such a rough time during their last 20 or so years in Philadelphia was said to be Connie Mack's increasing age. "To Everything A Season" by Bruce Kuklick makes notes of senility possibly slipping in by the 1940s with Connie becoming short tempered, getting forgetful, and at times making very strange strategic decisions that players and coaches either convinced him to retract or just ignored and worked around. Connie Mack was 87 during the 1950 season. My grandpa lived to 90 and remained pretty sharp and fit for his age until the end, but I can't even imagine the idea of him piloting a major league ballclub at the age Mack was in the late 1940s and 1950. Perhaps the issue is not whether the A's were a bad team due to financial constraints or an unwillingness to compete, but rather due to Mack having aged too much and slipped too far to do the job properly.
    Last edited by Jorge; 08-13-2009, 03:20 PM.

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  • mwiggins
    replied
    Originally posted by Beady View Post
    Do I remember correctly that he bought the Portland club in the mid twenties, primarily for the sake of gaining control of Mickey Cochrane?
    The Shibe brothers bought the Portland team after the 1924 season, and owned it until 1931.

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  • Beady
    replied
    Do I remember correctly that he bought the Portland club in the mid twenties, primarily for the sake of gaining control of Mickey Cochrane?

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  • Bill Burgess
    replied
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Bill, what's your take on Connie not investing in a minor league system? Was it just lack of money? I find it odd that with his two dynasties he developed or bought a lot of great talent. But after 1933 he never developed a superstar, Hall of Fame type player. I find that somewhat odd.
    I really have no idea. He was probably broke. Norman Macht tells us that he was never more than 1/2 owner and that was not until the late 1930's. Maybe he should have hired Branch Rickey.

    But Connie was a staunch supporter of Judge Ken Landis and Landis was very hostile to a ML team having a farm system. Landis considered that a serious infringement on the freedom of minor league players.

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Burgess
    It's too bad that Connie couldn't hold on just a little bit longer. In November, 1933, he received the important event that he had lobbied for for so long.

    The Pennsyvania legislature finally enacted the abolition of its 'blue laws', forbidding the playing of professional baseball on Sundays.

    Beginning in 1934, his A's, (and the Pittsburgh Pirates) could finally schedule double-hitters on Sundays, thereby fattening up on its attendance revenues. Before the coming of TV in 1950, attendance was the bread and butter of ML revenue streams.

    But just at that particular moment, he runs out of money and starts to sell his players. What luck for Connie. If only the 'blue laws' had been abolished in 1926, he would have been able to fatten up and maybe afford his players.
    Bill, what's your take on Connie not investing in a minor league system? Was it just lack of money? I find it odd that with his two dynasties he developed or bought a lot of great talent. But after 1933 he never developed a superstar, Hall of Fame type player. I find that somewhat odd.

    Leave a comment:


  • mwiggins
    replied
    Personally, I don't see that he busted up a "truely historic team in '32", as Rugbyfreak claims. He kept the '31 team together, and even added a highly regarded pitching prospect from the PCL in Tony Freitas.

    Yet despite that, they were blown out of the water by the Yankees and finished 13 games back. By that point the core of their pitching staff was getting old - Rommell (34), Earnshaw (32), and Walberg (35) had all slid noticably in 1932. And Grove was going to be 33 beginning of the 1933 season.

    Along with the Senators, they were the oldest team in the AL. The only young star they had was Foxx.

    And all they did after 1932 was sell Simmons and Haas and Dykes, and release Rommell. Significant loss, yes, but Simmons was no longer the great hitter he had been prior to 1932. And Rommell was done anyway. Even with Grove, Cochrane, Walberg, Earnshaw, Foxx still around, the A's only won 79 games in 1933. With Simmons, Haas, and Dykes they'd have won more, sure, but they still wouldn't have come close winning another 20 games and beating out the Senators for the pennant.

    In otherwords, they were most likely done as a serious pennant contender whether they sold off those great players or not.

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