The Grand Old Man of Baseball

The Grand Old Man of Baseball

Connie Mack in His Final Years, 1932-1956

Norman L. Macht

672 pages
33 illustrations, 1 appendix

Hardcover

October 2015

978-0-8032-3765-0

$39.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In The Grand Old Man of Baseball, Norman L. Macht chronicles Connie Mack’s tumultuous final two decades in baseball. After Mack had built one of baseball’s greatest teams, the 1929–31 Philadelphia Athletics, the Depression that followed the stock market crash fundamentally reshaped Mack’s legacy as his team struggled on the field and at the gate. Among the challenges Mack faced: a sharp drop in attendance that forced him to sell his star players; the rise of the farm system, which he was slow to adopt; the opposition of other owners to night games, which he favored; the postwar integration of baseball, which he initially opposed; a split between the team’s heirs (Mack’s sons Roy and Earle on one side, their half brother Connie Jr. on the other) that tore apart the family and forced Mack to choose—unwisely—between them; and, finally, the disastrous 1951–54 seasons in which Roy and Earle ran the club to the brink of bankruptcy.
 
By now aged and mentally infirm, Mack watched in bewilderment as the business he had built fell apart. Broke and in debt, Roy and Earle feuded over the sale of the team. In a never-before-revealed series of maneuvers, Roy double-crossed his father and brother and the team was sold and moved to Kansas City in 1954.
 
In Macht’s third volume of his trilogy on Mack, he describes the physical, mental, and financial decline of Mack’s final years, which unfortunately became a classic American tragedy.

Author Bio

Norman L. Macht is the author of more than thirty books, including Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball (Nebraska, 2007) and Connie Mack: The Turbulent and Triumphant Years, 1915–1931 (Nebraska, 2012), as well as biographies of Cy Young, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. He is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Praise

"If ever a baseball book could be called a definitive biography, this examination of Connie Mack can."—Ross Atkin, Christian Science Monitor

“Impeccably researched and finely judged, The Grand Old Man of Baseball, the third volume of Norman Macht’s definitive biography of Connie Mack, combines fascinating detail with narrative skill to dispel the uncertainty and confusion that has long surrounded the sale and relocation of the Philadelphia Athletics to Kansas City, setting the record straight on what really happened.”—Bob Warrington, Philadelphia baseball historian and author


"Connie Mack may not have been a swatter of home runs or a .300 hitter but he lasted in the game longer than just about anybody. He truly is a baseball legend and his entire story has just been written so thoroughly that it should be considered the final word on the subject."—Baseball Historian

"Mack’s effect was far-reaching. So, too, is Macht’s treatment of Mack’s career."—Bob D'Angelo's Books & Blogs

"[The Grand Old Man of Baseball] must stand as the go-to resource on one of baseball’s most legendary figures."—David Welky, Journal of Sport History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Preface    
Acknowledgments    
1. Connie Mack, Financial Failure    
2. Connie Mack’s Income    
3. Dismantling the A’s    
4. From East Brookfield to Japan    
5. Back on the Bottom    
6. Wait ’til Next Year    
7. Well, Then, Wait ’til Next Year    
8. The Roots of Failure    
9. Thunder in the Press    
10. Baseball Fights the Future    
11. A Very Sick Man    
12. Taking Control    
13. The “Minor League” A’s    
14. Another War    
15. New Kid on the Block    
16. Enter Bobo    
17. Slipping toward Senility    
18. Back to Normal: 105 Losses    
19. Connie Mack and the Integration of Baseball    
20. The Gleaner    
21. “They Shoulda Won It”     
22. Things Fall Apart    
23. Who’s in Charge?     
24. The Old Optimist    
25. The Roy & Earle Show, 1951–1953    
26. Mr. Mack in Retirement    
27. The Philadelphia Merry-Go-Round    
28. The Sale of the A’s: A Mystery in Four Acts      
29. Last of the Ninth    
30. Postscript    
Appendix: Connie Mack’s Record    
Index    

Also of Interest