In Memoriam: John McCormack

Former SABR Vice-President John McCormack of Dallas, Texas, died on October 19, 2012, at the age of 95. He was a member of SABR since 1977 and involved with the DFW Hall-Ruggles Chapter.

John was born May 21, 1917, in Arlington, Massachusetts, where his parents, John F. and Garnette E. McCormack, temporarily resided while his father engaged in defense work. When the war ended they returned to New York, their longtime home. John grew up in New York City between the two World Wars. In 1934 he was named goaltender for the all-New York City High School Soccer Team. He graduated from the Horace Mann School for boys in 1935. He then entered Columbia College, where he played baseball for the Columbia team. He earned a B.A. in 1939 and a B.S. from Columbia’s business school in 1940. His Dad was both a baseball fan and a theatre lover. It was a rare weekend they were not at the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium watching the great players of Baseball’s Golden Age, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Carl Hubbell, Roger Hornsby, and Ty Cobb. Those were also the years of musicals by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Rogers and Hart. He saw Fred and Adele Astaire, Ethel Merman, Bob Hope, George M. Cohan, Clifton Webb and many others. Vaudeville was coming to its end but before it died he had seen Bill Robinson, Jimmy Durante, Pat Rooney and Harry Richman.

While doing graduate work at Columbia in 1940, he sought and obtained a commission as a reserve Ensign in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps. In June 1941, he was ordered to the Navy Supply Corps School at Harvard where his instructor was Wally Savage, later Mayor of Dallas. On graduation in September 1941, he was first ordered to the USS Maryland and, upon arrival at Pearl Harbor, was reassigned to its Naval Air Station in late November 1941. When the Japanese attacked on December 7, battleship row was not far from his quarters and his introduction to war was the site of the Rising Sun on the wings of a plane overhead.

In early 1942 he sought and received a regular commission from the Navy. He served at Pearl Harbor until March 1944 when he was ordered to the Naval Air Station, Anacostia as its supply officer. He was retired as a Lieutenant for physical disability on May 1, 1945. He then enrolled in Columbia’s School of Law in 1945 and received a J.D. in 1948. It was in a law school domestic relations course that he met his future wife Catharine M. O’Brien. They married in 1950.

While working for a Wall Street law firm in 1953, he accepted an offer from Texas Instruments and moved to Dallas. Much of his work for TI was with its subsidiary Geophysical Service Inc. and affiliated companies. His work took him to 49 countries. He retired as a director of GSI in 1981. His wife, Catharine, died in February 1988. In 1991, he married a family friend and longtime bridge partner, Janet Sachs. They spent many happy years traveling the world and playing bridge in distant places such as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, France and Slovenia. They played in many national tournaments in the U.S. and Canada. He was a Silver Life Master.

He belonged to many organizations. He served as Vice-President of the Society for American Baseball Research, the pre-eminent organization for baseball statisticians and historians. He published baseball articles in the New York Times and USA Today Baseball Weekly. The Baseball Hall of Fame honored him for his support. He was a member of the Dallas Country Club for more than 40 years. He served as a Director of The Friends of the Dallas Public Library. He belonged to the Delta Upsilon and Delta Beta Phi Fraternities and the American Contract Bridge League, where he served as President of the Dallas Chapter. He belonged to the Dallas, Texas, New York and American Bar Associations.

In addition to his wife Catharine, he was predeceased by his son, John Francis. He is survived by his wife Janet; daughter Cathy and husband Pat Maher; son Kevin and wife Sandy; sons Brien and Mark and grandsons Patrick and Alexander McCormack; also survived by step-children Byron Sachs and wife Rosa; Becky and husband Barry Brown, Joey Sachs and wife Francine; and step-grandchildren Joseph and Zachary Sachs and Rebecca Brown. A memorial service will be held at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home Northwest Hwy. Chapel in Dallas at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, October 23, 2012.

Though eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery he has chosen to be buried with full military honors at the Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery in a private family service. Online condolences may be made at

Originally published: October 22, 2012. Last Updated: October 22, 2012.