Fitzpatrick: SABR member Norman Macht’s lifelong mission to tell Connie Mack’s story

From Frank Fitzpatrick at the Philadelphia Inquirer on December 7, 2015, on SABR member Norman Macht:

There were no tears or celebrations when his life’s obsession was done. There was only great relief.

“I was ready to be done,” Norman Macht said. “I lived with it for so long.”

Early this year, Macht sent off the galley proofs for the third and last volume of the Connie Mack biography he began in 1985.

He was 56 then. For three decades, he immersed himself in the man who managed and owned the Philadelphia Athletics for a half-century. He traveled everywhere Mack had been. He found people who had played for him, worked for him, lived with him. He uncovered minutes of long-forgotten meetings and pored over team records that were discovered, a half-century after Mack’s 1956 death, in an Oakland trash bin.

As the years passed, Macht’s memory softened, and the writing grew more difficult. He feared he might never finish. So he filled dozens of boxes with notes, tapes, photos, and documents and contacted a baseball-loving writer in Philadelphia.

“If for any reason I can’t complete it,” he told him, “I want you to.”

Finally, at 86, he put a -30- on the 30-year-project. By its end, Macht – tall, gaunt, and white-haired – eerily resembled the late-life version of the man he had fixated on for so long.

Together the three volumes, published between 2007 and ’15, stand seven inches high; contain 2,009 pages; and probably make up the most extensive, thoroughly researched baseball biography ever.

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Originally published: December 7, 2015. Last Updated: December 7, 2015.