Richards: Miller Huggins, the Mighty Atom

From Lawrence Richards at The National Pastime Museum on May 4, 2015:

The Mighty Atom was probably the kindest reference to Miller James Huggins. There was also “Mighty Mite,” “The Mouse,” “The Midget Manager,” “Shrimp,” you get the idea. His listing at 5 feet, 6 inch and 140 pounds was, shall we say, “overly generous.” How about 5 feet, 3 inches, 120 pounds?

As manager of the New York Yankees in the 1920s, his relationship with Babe Ruth was often combative. Once in the Yankee clubhouse he and the 6 foot, 2 inch, 215-pound Ruth stood toe-to-toe screaming at each other. “I just wish you were bigger,” Ruth yelled. The usually soft-spoken Huggins replied, “Lucky for you I’m not.” No matter who you were, what size you were, how tough you thought you were, you didn’t mess with Miller Huggins.

Huggins was born in Cincinnati in 1879, the son of an English grocer. His mother was raised there; both parents were deeply religious Methodists. Their beliefs dictated no ballplaying on Sunday, but young Miller, in what defined him even then, found a way. He played semipro ball for margarine magnate Julius Fleischmann in the Catskill Mountain resorts, which catered to Jewish-Americans. Since Miller Huggins wasn’t the most “Jewish-sounding name,” he became Miller Proctor. He found a way.

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Originally published: May 4, 2015. Last Updated: May 4, 2015.