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  • John McGraw Thread

    A tribute thread to one of the greatest managers in history. Rank McGraw, both as a player and manager, and share your McGraw stories!
    If you enjoy this photo gallery, you might also like our other ones, too.

    Historical, Archival Photographs---Pre-1900---Negro L.---Vintage Panoramic Pictures---Members' Gallery---Runningshoes Presents: Photo Op---Meet The Sports Writers

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    We also have some very nice, attractive team photo collections---New York Yankees---New York Giants---Detroit Tigers---Pittsburgh Pirates---Brooklyn Dodgers

    John Joseph McGraw:

    Born: April 7, 1873, Truxton, NY
    Died: February 25, 1934, New Rochelle, NY, age 60

    Baltimore Orioles, 1899, 1901 - 1902
    New York Giants, 1902 - 1932

    ML 3B, 1891-06: W/Connie Mack, greatest manager all time.

    From 1903 - 31, 28 yrs., came in lower than 3rd only 5 times! Almost impossible record to beat!
    Came 1st 12 times, 2nd 10 times. Abrasive, colorful, dictatorial. New Cathedral Cem., Baltimore, MD.

    ---Managing Record---Wikipedia: John McGraw----------------------------------------McGraw/Mathewson, 1911 World Series.

    --- John J. shakes with Connie Mack before the 1911 World Series.

    Source: Top: American Baseball: Volume 1, by David Quentin Voigt, 1990, pp. 240. (New York Public Library)
    Source: Bottom: Pitching In A Pinch, by Christy Mathewson, 1912, republished 1994, pp. 107.
    Source: Baseball: Hall of Fame: Stories of Champions, by Sam/Beryl Epstein, 1966, pp. 31.

    -----------John J. McGraw, Giants' Mgr., 1908, age 35


    Source: Left: The Last Days of Mr. McGraw, by Joseph Durso, 1969, page (Introduction)
    Source: Right: Baseball's Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon, by Neal McCabe/Constance McCabe, 1993, pp. 188.
    Source: Bottom: The Game That Was: The George Brace Baseball Photo Collection: by Richard Cahan/Mark Jacob, 1996, pp. 26-27.

    John McGraw/Babe Ruth, October 5, 1922, World Series----------similar shot, but not quite.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------1922 (Bain Collection)

    --------------------------1911 World Series


    Attached Files
    I rank McGraw #1 all time as a manager
    I rank McGraw #2 all time as a manager
    I rank McGraw #3 all time as a manager
    I rank McGraw #4 all time as a manager
    I rank McGraw #5 all time as a manager
    I rank McGraw lower than #5 all time as a manager
    I rank McGraw #50-100 all time as a player
    I rank McGraw #100-150 all time as a player
    I rank McGraw #150-200 all time as a player
    I rank McGraw #1 as a 19th Century player
    I rank McGraw #2-5 as a 19th Century player
    I rank McGraw #5-10 as a 19th Century player
    I rank McGraw lower than #10 as a 19th Century player
    Bill Burgess
    Registered User
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-21-2011, 02:01 PM.
    "He studied hitting like a broker studies the stock market, how a scribe studies the scriptures" - Carl Yastrzemski on Ted Williams

    "The greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history has done it again! Big Papi!" - Don Orsillo's call of Ortiz's walk-off single

  • #2
    McGraw may have had the toughest childhood of any MLB player. His dad used to regularly thrash him within an inch of his life. If this went on today, his father would be in jail for child abuse. In addition to that, pretty much the rest of McGraw's family died from disease.

    [B]John J. shakes with Connie Mack at the 1911 World Series.

    John McGraw/Rogers Hornsby: 1927

    September 27, 1924

    1922-23: L-R: Kid Gleason, Judge Landis, John McGraw.

    1930-32: unidentified, James J. Tierney (Secretary), Charles Stoneham, John McGraw, Eddie Brannick (Assistant Secretary).----1930-32: Stoneham/McGraw.

    1926-27: McGraw, Charles Stoneham, unidentified Giants' player, 1926-27-
    -----------------------1926-27: McGraw/Stoneham.

    1926-27: Stoneham, McGraw, unidentified, James J. Tierney (Secretary).

    --------------Relaxing in their Edgewood Avenue home.-----------------------------------The McGraws at their home in Pelham.

    -------------Demonstrating how the 'other half' lived. Apparently, the Mrs. really liked Wicker/Rattan furniture.----BB Reference
    Bill Burgess
    Registered User
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-07-2011, 12:51 AM.
    "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"


    • #3
      Originally posted by Victory Faust View Post
      McGraw may have had the toughest childhood of any MLB player. His dad used to regularly thrash him within an inch of his life. If this went on today, his father would be in jail for child abuse. In addition to that, pretty much the rest of McGraw's family died from disease.
      From what I've read, it sounds like the thrashings started about the time that the McGraw family was decimated by dyptheria.

      ------1905 World Series-----------------------------------------------------------------------September 26, 1912.

      John McGraw shakes hands with Eddie Collins, 1927.

      Bill Burgess
      Registered User
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-18-2012, 01:08 PM.


      • #4
        I think McGraw was the best manager ever. To anyone who hasn't read it, I would highly recommend the biography of McGraw by Charles Alexander.


        • #5
          Why were the Giants involved in so many game-fixing and other questionable activites during the first three decades of the 20th century?


          • #6
            --John McGraw was not a good person, but he was a great manager. Well, as long as clean play and good sportsmanship are not high on your criteria for being a great manager .


            • #7
              Originally posted by Victory Faust View Post
              McGraw may have had the toughest childhood of any MLB player. His dad used to regularly thrash him within an inch of his life. If this went on today, his father would be in jail for child abuse. In addition to that, pretty much the rest of McGraw's family died from disease.
              What source wrote that his father thrashed him regularly?

              Not only did he lose half of his family including his mom to diphtheria, but the town quarantined his house so nobody could come or go for quite awhile. So McGraw was forced to grow up quickly and he learned how to fend for himself.

              It is interesting to me that one early biographer did shoddy research about McGraw's childhood and then others copied it without verifying any of the facts.

              "The man who makes the great ball player or the great man in life is he who lets no early handicap stand in his way but who has the determination to overcome all obstacles" - John J. McGraw, My Thirty Years In Baseball, 1923
              "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
              "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."


              • #8
                I am not sure anyone has a reasonable method for evaluating managers that is even semi-objective. For some reason the poll only lets us pick one choice so I went with the most likely (that he was not a Top Ten 19th Century player).
                Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball


                • #9
                  This is from Bill James Manager's book. Enjoy.

                  JOHN MCGRAW IN A BOX

                  Year of Birth: 1873

                  Years Managed: 1899, 1901-1932

                  Record as a Manager: 5784-1959, .587

                  Managers for Whom he played: Ned Hanlon, Billy Barnie, Patsy Tebeau

                  Characteristic As a Player
                  : Extremely high on-base percentage. Fast, aggressive, fearless. Quick fielder with quick release, arm not outstanding.

                  McGraw’s career on-base percentage, .466, is the third highest ever among players with 4,000 career at bats, behind only Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. He was a .334 hitter who walked almost once a game.

                  WHAT HE BROUGHT TO A BALL CLUB

                  Was He an Intense Manager or More of an Easy-to-Get-Along-With Type? He was very intense. According to Rogers Hornsby in My War With Baseball, “If players thought I was mean they should have spent a little time under John McGraw…He’d fine players for speaking to somebody on the other team. Or being caught wit ha cigarette. He’d walk up and down the dugout and yell, ‘Wipe those darn smiles off your face.’ ”

                  Was he more of an Emotional Leader or Decision Maker? He was both. McGraw was a master of detail. Casey Stengel remembered that McGraw would go over the meal tickets at the team hotel, checking to see what his players were eating. If a player wasn’t eating right, McGraw would talk to him about it.

                  According to Hornsby, McGraw had an 11:30 curfew, and somebody would knock on your door every night at exactly 11:30. And you’d better answer.

                  Was He More of an Optimist or More of a Problem Solver? One key thing that McGraw brought to a team was direction and order. An awful lot of what happens on a baseball team is wasted effort due to chaos and disorder. McGraw was such a powerful figure, that he organized the world around him by his mere presence. If John McGraw traded for you, you know why he traded for you and what he intended to do with you to do. If you were a young player, you knew what his plans for you were. The rules were well understood. This put his teams ahead of most of the other teams.

                  HOW HE USED HIS PERSONNEL

                  Did He Favor a Set Lineup or a Rotation System? A set lineup, with the exception noted below. McGraw used his bench players less than a typical major league manager during his time, but in more well-defined roles.

                  Did He Like to Platoon? McGraw adopted platooning after it was popularized by George Stallings in 1914, as did almost all the managers. He was never ahead of the curve on platooning, and was not aggressive in its use. But he did normally platoon at one of two outfield positions for the rest of his career, 1915-1932.

                  Did He Try to Solve His Problems with Proven Players or with Youngsters Who Still May Have Something to Learn? John McGraw lived to teach young men how to play baseball. I mean, he loved the horses, he loved the stage, he loved hic cigars, and he loved his whiskey, but teaching young men to play baseball was what he did.

                  Consider this from Frankie Frisch, The Fordham Flash, by J. Roy Stockton:

                  McGraw gave me a lot of personal attention…He saw to it that I was given a chance to hit during batting practice. He used to play the infield himself and he personally took charge of polishing up my fielding. He would hit grounders for hours. He’s hit them straight at you and he’d hit them to either side…McGraw even hit to the infield in pre-game warm-up. If you didn’t make a play the way McGraw wanted it, he’d hit you another, five more, ten more, until the play was made the way he wanted it.
                  Over the course of his career, he took many, many young men with no minor league experience or very little minor league experience, and worked with them until the became outstanding players, He list includes Mel Ott, Fred Snodgrass, Fred Merkle, Freddie Lindstrom, Larry Doyle, Ross Youngs, George Kelly, and Travis Jackson.

                  He was incredibly tenacious in teaching young players. He thought nothing of taking on a young player, and working with him every day for three years, gradually breaking him into the lineup. Of course, many times these kids didn’t pan out. Over the years he had countless young players like Eddie Sickling, Joe Rodriguez, Tillie Schafer, Andy Cohen, Gene, Paulette, and Grover Hartley whom he’d work with for a year or two, and then decide that they weren’t going to make it.

                  If he couldn’t develop his own players, he wasn’t opposed to trading or purchasing an established player from somebody else; he also did that many times. But most of his stars were homegrown. His first option was always to spot a hole developing two or three years down the road, and start getting some twenty-year old kid ready to move there.

                  How Many Players Did He Make Regulars Who Had Not been Regulars Before, And Who Were They? Too many to name. In addition to those named above, one could add Bill Terry, Buck Herzog, Art Fletcher, Art Devlin, Chief Meyers, Josh Devore, Jeff Tesreau, Carl Hubbell, and Freddie Fitzsimmons.

                  Did He Prefer to Go with Good Offensive Players or Did He like Glove Men? He wouldn’t risk his defense to get a slugger in the lineup, because he never thought he had to.

                  Like Most managers, McGraw was a control freak, and as such perpetually battling against anything that represented a loss of control. If a player doesn’t make the plays he is supposed to make, that’s a loss of control. He didn’t get much out of Hack Wilson, for example, because he was concerned about the stocky Wilson’s ability to play the outfield. He rejected a young Earl Webb, a career .306 hitter, who holds the major league for doubles in a season, because he didn’t like Webb’s defense. He got rid of Rogers Hornsby after one year. He used George Kelly, who had the defensive ability of a middle infielder, as a first baseman. There’s a story about Bill Terry (below) which also reflects on t his issue.

                  Did He Like an Offensive Based on Power, Speed, or High Averages? McGraw’s teams commonly led the league in batting average---a total of eleven times in his career. Until 1920, McGraw’s teams were speed dominated. His 1911 team still holds the major league record for stolen bases, and five of the top 10 all time stolen base teams were McGraw teams.

                  When the game changed in 1920, however, McGraw understood the change and adapted to it more rapidly than any other established manager.

                  Did He Use the Entire Roster of Did He Keep People on the Bench? He kept kids sitting around, waiting to earn playing time, and also he liked to pick up a veteran player who maybe had an injury or who had gotten out of shape, and just keep him sitting around playing twice a month until he could get him in shape. Jack Scott, for example, was released by Cincinnati in early 1922 and reportedly contacted every major league team, asking for a chance to pitch. McGraw said okay, come work out with us for a while, and we’ll see what you can do. By the end of the year he was 8-2, and pitched a shutout in the World Series.

                  But he also used specialists much more than any other manager of his time. He had several players that he used as full-time pinch runners. In 1914, for example, he kept Sandy Piez on the roster all year as a pinch runner. In 1913 he used Claude Cooper in that role, in 1919 he used Lee King, and in 1923 Freddie McGuire. He had Jim Thorpe for several years, and used him to pinch-run, and he would often use on of his young projects as a regular pinch runner.

                  Most intriguingly, of all, he had Tony Kaufman. Tony Kaufman was a veteran pitcher, had been in the league for years, but his arm went dead and he was released by Saint Louis in 1928. McGraw took him on and used him in 1929 as a pinch runner and defensive replacement in the outfield, just killing time hoping his arm would come back. It never did.

                  He also used pinch hitters probably more than any other manager of his time, and he absolutely loved to have a pitcher who could also pinch-hit. In 1923 he was thrilled when he was able to purchase Jack Bentley from the great Baltimore minor league team. Bently hit .371, .412, and .351 at Baltimore the previous three years, playing everyday at first base, and also filled in on the mound, going 16-3, 12-1, and 13-2 the same three years. McGraw made him mostly a pitcher, and in 1923 he went 13-8 for the Giants, also hitting .427 and leading the National League in pinch hits.

                  Did He Build His Bench Around Young Players Who Could step into the Breach If Need Be, or Around Veteran Role-Players Who had Their Own Functions Within a Game? More of the latter. He always had kids on the bench, but he had a timetable in mind for them, and he wasn’t going to rush them in just because somebody got hurt. He liked to keep around two or three players who had been regulars for some other team, like Casey Stengel, Billy, Southworth, and Beals Becker, who was a regular in Boston in 1909, and a bench player for McGraw from 1910-12.


                  Did He Go for Big Inning Offense, or Did He like to Use the One-Run Strategies? McGraw made very sparing use of the sacrifice bunt after 1908. He used the running game a lot.

                  Did He Pinch-Hit Much, and If So, When? He pinch hit more often than other managers of his era, at conventional times. He would pinch hit for his pitchers or his number-eight hitter when he was behind in the late innings.

                  An anecdote in the October 1956 edition of the Baseball Digest begins, “Probably the best pinch batter in the history of the major leagues was Harry Elwood (Moses) McCormick of John McGraw’s fables Giants.” When MacMillan’s Baseball Encyclopedia was compiled in the late 1960s, we learned that McCormick had a career total of 28 pinch hits. He was, however, a regular pinch hitter for McGraw in 1912 and 1913, at a time when few managers used regular a pinch hitter.

                  Was There Anything Unusual About His Lineup Selection? It was conventional. In McGraw’s time, catchers always hit eighth. McGraw’s catcher, Chief Meyers, led his team in hitting in 1911 (.332), 1912 9.358), and 1913 (.312), and McGraw finally relented and moved him to seventh in the order. That was as radical as he got in this area.

                  One of McGraw’s least-known stars was a leadoff man named George Burns, who was the absolute model of a leadoff hitter, hitting .300 several times, lead the league in walk five times, lead the league in stolen bases twice, and leading the league in runs scored five times. McGraw purchased him form Utica, where he was being used as a catcher.

                  Did He Use the Sac Bunt Often? Early in his career McGraw’s teams bunted a great deal. His 1903 and 1904 teams led the National League is sacrifice hits, with totals of 185 and 186.

                  About 1909, however, McGraw appears to have changed his opinion of the bunt, and from 1909 on the Giants bunted less often than any other National League team. The Giants were last in the league in sacrifice hits in 1909, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1920, 1926, 1931, and 1932. In almost all the other years, they were near the bottom of the league.

                  In part, McGraw’s teams could dispense with the bunt because they had so much speed. In pre-1920 baseball moving the runners was central to the game, much more so than later. The question wasn’t if the manager would do something to move the runner, the question was, what would he do? Teams bunted more, stole more often, and used the hit-and-run more often. Playing station-to-station baseball wasn’t done. McGraw’s teams had outstanding speed, and they probably had few bunts simply for that reason.

                  There is a good deal of discussion about McGraw and the bunt in The Glory of Their Times. The thrust of this discussion is that, while the sportswriters perceived John McGraw to be an absolute dictator who determined every detail of strategy, in fact he wasn’t; he gave hid players a great deal of leeway. The players themselves, at least prior to 1920, would put the hit-and-run or, or the batter would signal to the runner that he intended to bunt, without waiting for a signal form McGraw. McGraw expected them to know how to play baseball and the did. Post-1920, McGraw did become more of a dictator.

                  Did he Like Using the Running Game? A great deal, yes, particularly before 1920. When t he lively ball era arrived, he cut back on his base stealing.

                  In What Circumstances Would He Issue an Intentional Walk? In 55 World Series Games, McGraw’s men issued four walks that were certainly intentional, plus a dozen or more walks which may have been ordered from the bench. Of the four clearly intentional walks, two came in situations which would now be considered odd.

                  Both of the intentional walks were issued by a man who hardly ever walked anybody, Christy Mathewson. In Game 2 of the 1913 World Series, against Connie Mack’s Athletics, Mathewson intentionally walked Amos Strunk to pitch to Jack Barry, with the game scoreless in the fourth inning. Christy Mathewson afraid to pitch to Amos Strunk? In the fourth inning?

                  That’s odd enough, but what the even odder one was in Game Eight of the 1912 World Series, against Boston. In the tenth inning the score was tied 2-2, runners on second and third, one out. Mathewson intentionally walked Duffy Lewis to pitch to Larry Gardner. Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to win the game.

                  The Walk to Lewis set up a force at every base and created an opportunity for Mathewson to get out of the inning with a ground ball. But on the other hand:

                  a) Gardner had hit .315; Lewis, .284, and
                  b) Garnder was left-handed: Lewis , right-handed

                  With the game on the line, Mathewson intentionally walked a right-handed hitter to get to a left-handed who was also a better hitter.

                  This event provides good evidence that, prior to 1914, no one was really paying attention to the platoon differential. Managers were aware of the theory that a left-hander would hit better against a right-hander, had been since the 1870s, but I think at the time it was nothing more than that—a theory.

                  Did He Hit and Run Often? A lot. He expected his players to be able to hit and run.

                  Were There Any Unique or Idiosyncratic Strategies That He Particularly Favored? Pinch running was unusual in his time; he used pinch runners religiously. He was the first manager to have a pitcher who was used mostly in relief, that being Doc Crandall.

                  How Did He Change The Game? It’s in the details.

                  McGraw certainly did more to establish the profession of managing than anyone else in history. He helped ease the way for relief pitchers and professional bench players, but really, relief pitching was inevitable, and I doubt that McGraw caused it to develop soon than it otherwise would have.

                  McGraw was the first manager to hire a coach, although that, too, was probably inevitable.

                  John McGraw was not a great innovator, and in many ways, he was a dinosaur. He was part owner/operator, a species which wasn’t common when he started, and was become rare. He personally evaluated young players, personally signed them, and personally taught them to play baseball. This was an exception in 1920 and by 1940, that kind of manager was gone.

                  But McGraw’s legacy is in those hundreds of people that he taught to play baseball, in the tiniest details of what he taught them—where you plant your foot when you pivot on the double play, where to place a bunt under what circumstances, who backs up what base on which play, what you do on t he sixth day of spring training., and what baserunner looks for when he decides to break for second to get back to first. McGraw and Connie Mack established the orthodoxy in all these things. He took his job seriously, and he was good at it. He changed it from a young man’s job to a job that required the wisdom of a few gray hairs.


                  Did He Like power Pitchers, or Did He Prefer to Go with the People Who Put the Ball in Play? Control pitchers. He never had any use for hard-throwing pitchers who didn’t throw strikes. Again, McGraw was always afraid of losing. He figured a wild pitcher would lose the game for him.

                  No John McGraw team ever led the league in walks allowed. Eleven of McGraw’s teams lead the league in fewest walks allowed.

                  Did He Stay With Starters or Go to the Bullpen Quickly? From the beginning of his career to the end, McGraw went to the bullpen more quickly than most any other pitcher of his era.

                  In McGraw’s time, a pitcher’s stamina was considered a moral quality. I say this in dead earnest, and without a trace of irony. A pitcher who was unable to finish a game was looked down upon, disparaged. He was a “seven-inning pitcher” meaning that he didn’t have what it took to pitch when it really counted, when the game was on the line.

                  When McGraw began managing, almost 90% of starts ended in complete games. By the time he retired, less than 50% of starts were completed—yet the perception that the starting pitcher failed if he could not complete the game was, if anything, even stronger in 1932 that it had been in 1900. Pitchers were taken out when they lost, or when they were behind. Or when, God forbid, they “lost their stuff”.

                  Part of the secret of John McGraw is that he saw through that. McGraw understood that the practical consequence of confusing physical stamina with moral courage was that tired pitchers would be on the mound when the game was on the line, when fresh pitchers would be available.

                  “Saves” did not exist in McGraw’s time—not as a statistic, not as a concept. But when saves were figured retroactively many years later, McGraw’s teams led t he league n saves seventeen times—in 1903, when the Giants led the majors with eight team saves, in 1908, when they led with 18, in 1920 when they led again with 18. Only in his last few seasons did the league catch up to McGraw in this respect.

                  This was probably worth at least five games a year to his teams. I don’t have statistics to prove this—it hasn’t been studied—but I would bet that a typical team in the early 1920s probably blew 20 to 25 leads in t he late innings. McGraw’s team probably blew 15 to 20.

                  Did He Use a Four-Man Rotation?
                  Never for any sustained length of time except possibly 1921.

                  Did He Use the Entire Staff, or Did He Try to Get Five or Six People to Do Most of the Work? Early in his career McGraw rode his two best pitchers like they were mules. In 1903 Mathewson and McGinnity pitched 800 innings, 63% of the team total. Of course, starting pitchers pitched more innings than they do no, but even in 1903, few teams got 50% of their innings out of two pitchers, and no one else was close to the innings pitched by Matty and the Iron Man, who were 1-2 in the majors in innings pitched.

                  But as time passed this became less and less true. The last McGraw pitcher to lead the league in innings pitched was Mathewson, in 1908. McGraw managed twenty-four years after that. After 1920, few of McGraw’s pitchers were even listed among the league leaders in innings pitched.

                  He became, in this respect, the manager that Casey Stengel emulated—a man who kept lots of pitchers around and used each of them in his own role. In 1924, when McGraw won his last pennant, Virgil Barnes led the team in starts, wit h29. He had six pitchers with 16-29 starts apiece, and six other pitchers who started one game or a few games. Barnes led the team in innings with 229, no one else threw more than 188.

                  McGraw probably went overboard in this respect. One could interpret it this way: that McGraw became more and more arrogant in his later years, he began to see himself as the center of the Giants’ team and began to see his pitchers as interchangeable parts. That’s an oversimplification, of course, but there probably is an element of truth there. One of the things that Bill Terry did that got the Giants back into first place in 1933 was to give Carl Hubbell enough innings to allow him to dominate the league.

                  How Long Would He Stay with a Starting Pitcher Was Struggling? Not long.

                  Was There Anything Unique About His Handling of His Pitcher? Several things—his willingness to use his bullpen, his willingness to use his sixth starter, his fondness for using one pitcher to pinch-hit for another.

                  What Was His Strongest Point As a Manager? Organization. Foresight. Vision.

                  Call it what you will, McGraw had a plan, and he stuck to it. Frank Graham, in McGraw of the Giants, tells an innocuous little story about Bill Terry in the spring of 1924. It’s not even an anecdote: it’s something Graham remembered and wrote about twenty later. George Kelly was entrenched as the Giants’ first baseman, and Terry was frustrated about sitting on t he bench. “Try me in t he outfield”, said Terry.

                  McGraw snorted, “You think I want you to be hit in the head and killed?” he asked.

                  “I played the outfield at Shreveport,” said Terry.
                  “This isn’t Shreveport,” said McGraw.

                  Something showed on Terry’s face, irritation or despair. “Take it easy”, said McGraw. “Stick to first base. You’ll be a big league first baseman some day. Forget about the outfield. “

                  I would suggest that almost any other manager, this incident would have ended differently. You’ve got a talented young hitter here, can’t get in the lineup, and he’s frustrated. “Let me play the outfield,” he says. Almost any other manager is going to figure, “Well, why not? We need another bat: if I can sue this kid in the outfield, that gives me another option. He wants to play; I don’t want him to sit around and get frustrated and get impatient with me. Sure, let him play the outfield.”

                  But McGraw didn’t. McGraw had a plan, and he stuck to it. His plan was for Bill Terry to replace George Kelly at first base when the time came, and that’s exactly what happened.

                  If I had been asked to explain John McGraw’s success, before I began work on this book, I would have given an answer something lime this. McGraw had inherent advantages on the rest of the league. He was in New York and he had money behind him. He was part owner of the Giants. He wasn’t going to be fired. The Giants could make money, so they could spend money. When he wanted a good young player, he could get him. The Giants had Christy Mathewson before they had McGraw. He was a good manager, but with another team, he was probably just another good manager.

                  But when you look closely at McGraw’s teams, that’s not really it. McGraw had Mathewson and Bill Terry, and Frankie Frisch, yes, but other teams had some good players, too. Mathewson was great, but he was no more than an equal of two contemporaries, Walter Johnson and Pete Alexander. Frisch was great, but he wasn’t Honus Wagner, either. He wasn’t even Eddie Collins. McGraw never had an outfielder like Tris Speaker or Ty Cobb, or Babe Ruth, or even Zack Wheat or Harry Heilmann.

                  McGraw accomplished an awful lot with players like Doc Crandall, Buck Herzog, and Walter Holke. In McGraw;s career, there were a few times when he purchased players he critically needed, like Art Nehf or Dave Bancroft, and there were times when he bought young players in abiding war, like Rube Marquard, Benny Kauff, and Jack Bentley. But there were many, many more times when he worked out anonymous young kids, liked what he saw, and built them into baseball players.

                  In McGraw’s time the minor leagues were all independent operators, and there was always some hotshot rookie who was being hyped as the greatest since gravy. McGraw was generally just not interested in those guys. If you compare the talent going through the system, the Philadelphia Phillies probably got more talent in McGraw’s time than the Giants did. The Phillies had Pete Alexander, Gavvy Cravath, Fred Luderus, Tom Seaton, Dave Bancroft, Cy Williams, Pinkie Whitney, Lee Meadows, Jimmy Ring,. The Boston Red Sox certainly had more star players to work with than the giants did. What they didn’t have was the depth of quality players, and the reasons they didn’t have that id because they didn’t build it.

                  If There Was No Professional Baseball, What Would He probably Have Done with His Life? McGraw would have been a businessman, and a good one. He’s have made a lot of money running a midsize business, a steel mill or a mine or something. He would also have made a good military officer.

                  [CENTER][B][SIZE="3"]John McGraw's[/SIZE] 
                  All-Star Team[/B][/CENTER]
                  .                       [B]G   AB  R   H 2B  3B HR RBI  BB SO SB  Avg SPct.[/B]
                   C Chief Meyers, 1912  126 371 60  133 16  5  6  54  47 20  8 .358 .477
                  1B bill Terry, 1930    145 633 138 254 39 15 23 128  57 33  8 .401 .619
                  2B Robers Hornsby, '27 155 568 133 205 32  9 26 125  86 38  9 .361 .586
                  3B Fred Lindstrom, '30 148 609 125 231 39  7 22 106  48 33 15 .379 .575
                  SS Dave Bancroft, 1921 156 651 117 209 41  5  4  60  79 27 16 .321 .418
                  LF Irish Meusel, 1932  154 617 100 204 28 17 16 132  35 33 12 .331 .509
                  CF Mike Dolin, 1905    150 606 124 216 31 16  7  80  56    33 .356 .495
                  RF Mel Ott, 1929       150 545 138 179 37  2 42 151 113 38  6 .328 .635
                  .                       [B]G  IP  W-L   Pct. H  SO  BB  ERA  GS CG ShO Sv[/B]
                  SP C. Mathewson, 1908  56 391 37-11 .771 285 259 42  1.43 44 34  12  5
                  SP Joe McGinnity, 1904 51 408 35-8  .814 307 144 86  1.61 44 38   9  6
                  SP Jeff Tesreau, 1914  42 322 25-10 .722 238 189 128 2.38 40 26   8  1
                  SP Rube Marquard, '12  43 295 26-11 .703 286 175 80  2.57 38 22   1  1
                  RA Ferdie Schupp, 1916 30 140 9-3   .750  79  86 37  0.90 11  8   4  1
                  Honus Wagner Rules
                  xFIP?! I laugh at you!
                  Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 06-29-2008, 03:32 PM.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


                  • #10
                    Holy Epic Post Honus!!!
                    Thanks...great/interesting stuff to read for sure.
                    Anyways, here's an odd picture of McGraw being presented with some gifts...including what appears to be a baby leopard! Hahaha....I have no other info about this picture...but it's a classic. It was his pet Margay.
                    Bill Burgess
                    Registered User
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-23-2009, 12:18 AM.
                    Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BSmile View Post
                      Holy Epic Post Honus!!!
                      Thanks...great/interesting stuff to read for sure.
                      You're welcome. It took me several hours to type and edit it. But I wanted to share it with the BBF brethren. Enjoy.

                      Anyways, here's an odd picture of McGraw being presented with some gifts...including what appears to be a baby leopard! Hahaha....I have no other info about this picture...but it's a classic.
                      I was actually speaking to Bill Burgess about McGraw's pet just on Friday. According to Bill, McGraw actually owned that "little kittie" and brought it to the ballpark often.
                      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


                      • #12
                        Honus...THANK YOU...and I meant to yell it. I love reading about McGraw.


                        • #13
                          "According to Bill, McGraw actually owned that "little kittie" and brought it to the ballpark often."

                          Ha! Oh figures, what a character he was.
                          BTW, I voted him as #1 Manager All-Time.

                          Cheers! ~B
                          Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"


                          • #14
                            What I found interesting about Jame's piece was that McGraw, until he had Mel Ott at the end of his managerial career, he never had a dominating, historically great outfielder. He never had a Speaker, Cobb, Jackson type of outfielder for most of his managerial career.
                            Honus Wagner Rules
                            xFIP?! I laugh at you!
                            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 06-30-2008, 02:07 AM.
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


                            • #15
                              So in you opinion what McGraw teams were his greatest teams?

                              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


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