Saturday, February 28, 2015

Joe McCarthy's 10 Commandments of Baseball

Joe McCarthy is one of the most influential managers in baseball history. He spent 20 years in the minor leagues as a player and manager. While managing in the minor leagues, McCarthy created a document called the 10 Commandments of baseball. It's a simple list of principles that may seem self-evident to those who were coached  kids playing Little League. But it's a great list of rules that make sense in baseball and life.  Many coaches use the principles, but have no idea where the came from. 

McCarthy never made it to the big leagues as a player, but managed the Chicago Cubs, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in what some would describe as the Golden Era of baseball.  McCarthy was raised in tough time and his widowed mother thought he should be apprenticed to a local plumber.  A parish priest spoke to the mother and thought he had a chance to play baseball and might even go to college.  He did and Mrs. McCarthy was happy with the results.  No offense to plumbers--it's good honest work as well. 

Joe McCarthy still holds the record for the winningest percentage of all MLB managers. There were few managers as bright as McCarthy and few player managers as good.  He managed Hall of Famers such as Hack Wilson, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, and Ted Williams. He deserves much credit as one the chief architects of the Yankee dynasty. He managed against most of the greats in baseball history such as John McGraw and Connie Mack.

McCarthy is a conduit to great baseball memories and the classic book called The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy's Principles for Success in Baseball (and Life) by J.D. Thorne does just that.  Beside laying a brief history down of the great McCarthy's baseball life, Thorne illustrated McCarthy's baseball principles with stories of Thorne's amateur career and dozens of stories from the greatest days of baseball.  Right now you can get a copy at Amazon, but it may not be around for long as the author is about to featured on a popular sports radio program and the supply is limited. I once had a reader tell me that J.D.'s book is a perfect book for a long airplane ride---it offers greater entertainment.  We include many vintage photographs from the National Baseball Hall of Fame (it is sold there as well).

The photo above depicts depicts Babe Ruth with another legendary manager, John McGraw, (both are discussed).  Ruth was winding down his career as McCarthy was making a name for himself.  Photo from Bain Collection, Library of Congress.