SABR

Thorn: Connie Mack remembers his greatest day in baseball

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on December 31, 2012:

Some men’s characters are summed up in their physical presence. As a young 6’1”, 150-pound catcher born in 1862, Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy (“Slats” Mack to all but the census takers) presented so odd a specter that when he teamed with the equally bony pitcher Frank “Shadow” Gilmore in Washington in the 1880s, they were called “The Grasshopper Battery.” Writer Wilfrid Sheed said that as a manager of the Philadelphia Athletics in his later years Mack, with his angular body and patrician bearing, looked “like a tree from the Garden of Eden.”

We paint a mind’s-eye picture of him as upright (in both the physical and moral senses of that word) as he sat in the dugout in a business suit and positioned his players with a wave of the scorecard. Yet the real Mr. Mack (it seems almost blasphemy to call him by his first name) was, like his old rival Clark Griffith, a very sly fox indeed. As a catcher his fine defensive skills were, shall we say, augmented by his ingenuity. In those days any caught foul  was an out–even a tip with no strikes or only one–so Connie liked to make a noise that resembled a ball hitting a bat on a swinging strike. He was also good at impeding a batter’s swing with the brush of his glove, invariably offering apology for his clumsiness. When he became a manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1890s, it is said he put the baseballs on ice the night before the game to deaden them.

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Here the Tall Tactician tells John Carmichael of the Chicago Daily News about his greatest day in baseball.

Read the full article here: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2012/12/31/connie-mack-remembers/

This page was last updated December 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm MST.

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