Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joe McCarthy and the Chicago Cubs

McCarthy's .614 winning percentage as manager is the best of all. McCarthy led the Cubs from last place in 1925 to the Pennant in 1929. He was one of the best minor league managers before coming to the Cubs and the Cubs were happy to get him at the time. William Wrigley was working hard to establish one of the best baseball franchises and he wanted to see that the Cubs had the talent to take them to the top. The Cubs had Hack Wilson when they won the pennant in 1929. They played Connie Mack's formidable Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. When behind 2 games to 1, the Cubs suffered one of the most painful losses in the franchise history. Playing in Philadelphia, the Athletics scored 10 runs in the seventh inning to stage one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.

The sun was exceptionally tough on the fielders that day and among many Cub misfortunes, Hack Wilson dropped two pop flies that he just couldn't see in that dreadful inning. Both were scored hits. After taking it on the chin that day, the Cubs lost 3 to 2 in game four although Cub pitcher, Pat Malone, had a shutout going into the ninth inning.

The Series loss was a bitter blow for Wrigley who was dedicated to seeing the team rise to the top. In one the most costly deals of the day, Wrigley had brought Rogers Hornsby to the club in 1929, but unfortunately, Hornsby was injured in 1930 and the Cubs did not repeat as pennant winners. In an ironic twist, it was Hornsby who got the call to manage the club after Wrigley released McCarthy. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Hornsby's management did not work out, but McCarthy went on to the Yankees where he established a historic winning tradition.

McCarthy and his baseball maxims are the subject of The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy's Principles of Success for Baseball (and Life) available from Sporting Chance Press.

1927 Cubs uniform shown above from Sports Collectors Daily.

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