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.


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

Read the full article here:

Originally published: December 31, 2012. Last Updated: December 31, 2012.