|Pitcher / Manager / Owner|
|Born:November 20, 1869|
Clear Creek, Missouri
|Died: October 27, 1955 85) (aged|
|April 11, 1891, for the St. Louis Browns|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 7, 1914, for the Washington Senators|
|Earned run average||3.31|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Election Method||Veteran's Committee|
Clark Calvin Griffith (November 20, 1869 – October 27, 1955 ), nicknamed "The Old Fox", was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher, manager and team owner. He began his MLB playing career with the St. Louis Browns (1891), Boston Reds (1891), and Chicago Colts/Orphans (1893–1900). He then served as player-manager for the Chicago White Stockings (1901–1902) and New York Highlanders (1903–1907).
Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901, respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the major league clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.
In baseball, the field manager is the equivalent of a head coach who is responsible for overseeing and making final decisions on all aspects of on-field team strategy, lineup selection, training and instruction. Managers are typically assisted by a staff of assistant coaches whose responsibilities are specialized. Field managers are typically not involved in off-field personnel decisions or long-term club planning, responsibilities that are instead held by a team's general manager.
He retired as a player after the 1907 season, remaining manager of the Highlanders in 1908. He managed the Cincinnati Reds (1909–1911) and Washington Senators (1912–1920), making some appearances as a player with both teams. He owned the Senators from 1920 until his death in 1955. Sometimes known for being a thrifty executive, Griffith is also remembered for attracting talented players from the National League to play for the Senators when the American League was in its infancy. Griffith was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.
The Cincinnati Reds are an American professional baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. They were a charter member of the American Association in 1882 and joined the NL in 1890.
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada, and the world's oldest current professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) of 1871–1875, the NL is sometimes called the Senior Circuit, in contrast to MLB's other league, the American League, which was founded 25 years later and is called the "Junior Circuit".
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major league status. It is sometimes called the Junior Circuit because it claimed Major League status for the 1901 season, 25 years after the formation of the National League.
Griffith was born in Clear Creek, Missouri, to Isaiah and Sarah Anne Griffith. His parents were of Welsh ancestry. They had lived in Illinois prior to Clark Griffith's birth. The family took a covered wagon west toward the Oklahoma Territory. Along the way, the family encountered hungry and disenchanted people returning from the Oklahoma Territory, so they decided to settle in Missouri. Griffith grew up with five siblings, four of them older.
The Territory of Oklahoma was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 2, 1890, until November 16, 1907, when it was joined with the Indian Territory under a new constitution and admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma.
When Griffith was a small child, his father was killed in a hunting accident when fellow hunters mistook him for a deer.Sarah Griffith struggled to raise her children as a widow, but Clark Griffith later said that his neighbors in Missouri had been very helpful to his mother, planting crops for her and the children. Fearing a malaria epidemic that was sweeping through the area, the Griffith family moved to Bloomington, Illinois.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later. In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms. This partial resistance disappears over months to years if the person has no continuing exposure to malaria.
Bloomington is a city in and the county seat of McLean County, Illinois, United States. It is adjacent to Normal, and is the more populous of the two principal municipalities of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area.
A childhood incident taught him about the money side to baseball, Griffith recalled. When he was 13, he and a few other young boys had raised $1.25 to buy a baseball. They sent one of the boys 12 miles on horseback to make the purchase. The ball burst on the second time that it was struck. Griffith later found out that the boy who purchased the ball only spent a quarter, keeping the leftover dollar.At the age of seventeen, Griffith had made ten dollars pitching in a local baseball game in Hoopeston, Illinois.
Hoopeston is a city in Grant Township, Vermilion County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,351.
Griffith entered the American Association in 1891, pitching 226 1⁄3 innings and winning 14 games for the St. Louis Browns and Boston Reds. He began the following season with the Chicago Colts. In 1893, the pitchers box was moved back; it had been 55 feet from home plate and was moved to the modern distance of 60 feet, six inches. Following that change, offensive numbers increased across baseball and many pitchers had to adjust their approaches.
The American Association (AA) was a professional baseball league that existed for 10 seasons from 1882 to 1891. Together with the National League (NL), founded in 1876, the AA participated in an early version of the World Series seven times versus the champion of the NL in an interleague championship playoff tournament. At the end of its run, several AA franchises joined the NL. After 1891, the NL existed alone, with each season's champions being awarded the prized Temple Cup (1894-1897).
The Boston Reds were a 19th-century baseball team located in Boston, Massachusetts that played in the Players' League in 1890 and in the American Association in 1891. They played in the Congress Street Grounds in the 1890s. The team took its name from the successful Boston club of the National Association and National League formerly known as the (Boston) Red Stockings, who had changed their name to the Beaneaters in 1883. The club lasted only two seasons, but in those two seasons they were league champions.
Cap Anson was the player-manager of the Colts during Griffith's tenure and he utilized a rotation of only three starting pitchers. Just before Griffith's arrival on the team, pitcher Bill Hutchinson had thrown more than 600 innings in a single season for Anson, which may have contributed to a decline in Hutchinson's career. Griffith tried a new pitch to increase his longevity. By modifying the grip of a curveball, he threw a pitch similar to the screwball that Christy Mathewson had developed. He also often scuffed balls with his spikes or rubbed them in the grass.
In 1894, Griffith began a string of six consecutive seasons with 20 or more victories, compiling a 21–14 record and 4.92 earned run average (ERA). Griffith lowered his ERA over the following years to a low of 1.88 in 1898, the lowest mark in the league.
When Ban Johnson, a longtime friend, announced plans to form the American League, Griffith was one of the ringleaders in getting National League players to jump ship. Using the cover of his post as vice president of the League Protective Players' Association (a nascent players' union), Griffith persuaded 39 players to sign on with the new league for the 1901 season. Griffith himself signed on with the Chicago White Stockings as player-manager. He won 20 games for the final time in his career and led the White Stockings to the first AL pennant with an 83–53 record.
At Johnson's suggestion, Griffith left Chicago in 1903 to take over as manager of the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders had just moved from Baltimore, and Johnson knew that for the league to be successful, it needed a strong franchise in the nation's biggest city. Griffith retired as a player in 1907, though he made brief appearances as a player for the Reds (1909–1910) and Senators (1912, 1913 and 1914). After a falling-out with the Highlanders' ownership, Griffith was fired during the 1908 season.The team had started strong, but the team's pitching faltered as the season progressed and Griffith was criticized for trading away Jimmy Williams in exchange for a disappointing prospect.
Griffith returned to the National League as manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 1909. In 1912, again at Johnson's suggestion, he returned to the American League as manager of the Washington Senators.
When Griffith took over as manager of the Senators, he also bought a 10 percent interest in the team. At the time, the franchise had little going for it other than star pitcher Walter Johnson. In the American League's first 12 years, the Senators had never had a winning record or finished higher than sixth.
To entertain the fans, Griffith hired Nick Altrock as a first base coach in his first season with Washington. Described as a "natural buffoon", Altrock engaged in lighthearted fun while coaching first base. He wrestled with himself, copied the motions of the pitcher and made the fans laugh with other antics.Griffith also engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in major league history, leading the Senators to second place. In nine years, his Washington teams only twice finished below fifth in the eight-team league.
In 1919, Griffith joined forces with Philadelphia grain broker William Richardson to buy controlling interest in the Senators. Griffith boosted his share to 19%, while Richardson bought a 40% interest. Richardson and Griffith quickly came to an agreement that allowed Griffith to vote Richardson's shares as well. This all but assured his election as team president that November. At the same time, the Senators' home park, National Park, was renamed Griffith Stadium.
Griffith stepped down as manager after the 1920 season to devote all his energy to the front office. He finished his managerial career with a 1491–1367 record. His 1491 wins ranked 19th all-time as of 2005. During his managing tenure, Griffith had a tradition of treating the fans to a farce game as the final game of the season. This tradition is a factor in the inflation of Walter Johnson's minuscule ERA (from 1.09 to 1.14) in 1913.
Griffith was known for running the Senators on a shoestring. This was almost out of necessity; even with Richardson's assistance, he was forced to mortgage his Montana ranch to raise the money he needed to buy control of the team. Unlike most other owners, he had no income other than the Senators and Griffith Stadium. However, the Washington Redskins and other tenants enabled him to turn a profit for 21 years in a row.
He was known for his faith in young players. He twice entrusted 27-year-old players to manage his teams—Bucky Harris in 1924 and Joe Cronin in 1933. Griffith's wagers appeared to pay off, as the Senators won the pennant in both years under their new youthful managers. In Harris' case, they won the 1924 World Series. Cronin came to the team as a player when Griffith's friend Joe Engel was placed in charge of the Chattanooga Lookouts at Engel Stadium. Engel was the first to scout Cronin for the club and said, "I knew I was watching a great player. I bought Cronin at a time he was hitting .221. When I told Clark Griffith what I had done, he screamed, "You paid $7,500 for that bum? Well, you didn't buy him for me. You bought him for yourself. He's not my ballplayer – he's yours. You keep him and don't either you or Cronin show up at the ballpark." Cronin later married Griffith's niece, Mildred June Robertson.
In 1949, after a string of mostly humdrum seasons, Griffith almost lost control of the team when the Richardson estate sold its stake to John Jachym, who in turn sold his shares six months later to H. Gabriel Murphy when he could not obtain a voice in the team's affairs. Griffith was reelected team president, but it was understood that unless the team improved, the next vote would go against him. Griffith proceeded to buy stock from Murphy until he owned 52% of the club.
|Chicago White Sox||1901||1902||157||113||.581|
|New York Highlanders||1903||1908||419||370||.531|
In 1939, sportswriter Bob Considine expressed disappointment that Griffith had not already been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He referred to Griffith as "the real father of the American League", citing the fact that Griffith had been a key force in attracting National League players to join the American League teams in their initial years. He wrote that Griffith "belongs in any hall of fame where the elective body is composed of sports writers, for no other reason than that no sports writer ever came away from the old guy without a story. Some of them were even kindly stories."
Griffith had appeared on ballot for the second Baseball Hall of Fame election (1937), but he received 2% of the possible votes.In 1938, he received votes on only 3.8% of the submitted ballots. He received votes on 7.3% of ballots the next year. The Hall of Fame held only triennial elections for a few years. In 1942, 30.5% of voters submitted Griffith's name.
Griffith was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Old Timers Committee in 1946. He was honored at the induction ceremony the following year. According to author Dennis Corcoran, Griffith had attended the initial Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1939 but that there is no evidence that Griffith came to the 1947 induction or any other ceremony.
In October 1955, Griffith was in the hospital with neuritis when he suffered a stomach hemorrhage.Though he appeared to be improving, Griffith died a few days after he was hospitalized. He was nearing his 86th birthday.
After his death, newspaper accounts described Griffith's longtime relationships with U.S. presidents. During World War I, he successfully petitioned Woodrow Wilson to allow the continuation of baseball. He did the same with Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II. He had also begun a tradition of presidents throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a season's first Opening Day game, which started with William Howard Taft.When the Baseball Hall of Fame was being built and was looking for baseball memorabilia, Griffith donated several photographs of these presidential first pitches.
League president Will Harridge called Griffith "one of the game's all-time great figures."Griffith was survived by his wife, who died of a heart attack two years later. He and his wife had no children, but they raised several relatives. A nephew who became his adopted son, Calvin Griffith, took over the team after his death and led efforts to have the club moved to Minnesota and become the Twins. The younger Griffith held on to the team until 1984, when he sold it to Carl Pohlad–ending the Griffith family's 65-year ownership of the franchise. Another nephew, Sherry Robertson, played infield and outfield for the Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1940s and 1950s.
A monument was erected in honor of Griffith at Griffith Stadium. After the stadium was demolished in 1964, the obelisk was moved to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, where the Washington Nationals played between 2005 and 2007.A collegiate baseball league, the National Capital City Junior League, was renamed in honor of Griffith after his death. The league suspended operations in 2010.
The Minnesota Twins is an American professional baseball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. The team is named after the Twin Cities area comprising Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Walter Perry Johnson, nicknamed "Barney" and "The Big Train", was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Washington Senators (1907–1927). He later served as manager of the Senators from 1929 through 1932 and of the Cleveland Indians from 1933 through 1935.
Edgar Charles "Sam" Rice was an American pitcher and right fielder in Major League Baseball. Although Rice made his debut as a relief pitcher, he is best known as an outfielder. Playing for the Washington Senators from 1915 until 1933, he was regularly among the American League leaders in runs scored, hits, stolen bases and batting average. He led the Senators to three postseasons and a World Series championship in 1924. He batted left-handed but threw right-handed. Rice played his final year, 1934, for the Cleveland Indians. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963.
John Dwight Chesbro was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher. Nicknamed "Happy Jack", Chesbro played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1899–1902), the New York Highlanders (1903–1909), and the Boston Red Sox (1909). Chesbro finished his career with a 198–132 win-loss record, a 2.68 earned run average, and 1,265 strikeouts. His 41 wins during the 1904 season remains an American League record. Though some pitchers have won more games in some seasons prior to 1901, historians demarcating 1901 as the beginning of 'modern-era' major league baseball refer to and credit Jack Chesbro and his 1904 win-total as the modern era major league record and its holder. Some view Chesbro's 41 wins in a season as an unbreakable record.
Alejandro Eloy Carrasquel Aparicio was a Venezuelan pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Washington Senators and the Chicago White Sox in a span of eight seasons from 1939–1949. Listed at 6' 1", 182 lb., he batted and threw right handed.
Wesley Cheek "Wes" Ferrell was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball from 1927 through 1941. Primarily a starting pitcher, Ferrell played for the Cleveland Indians (1927–33), Boston Red Sox (1934–37), Washington Senators (1937–38), New York Yankees (1938–39), Brooklyn Dodgers (1940) and Boston Braves (1941). He batted and threw right-handed. Ferrell's 38 home runs as a batter remain a career record for a MLB pitcher.
Joseph Edward Cronin was a Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop, manager and general manager. He also served as president of the American League (AL) for 14 years.
Stanley Raymond "Bucky" Harris was an American professional baseball second baseman, manager, and executive. While Harris played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers, it was his long and successful managerial career that led to his enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame, elected as a manager by the Veterans Committee, in 1975.
Calvin Robertson Griffith, born Calvin Griffith Robertson, was a Canadian-born American Major League Baseball team owner. As president, majority owner and de facto general manager of the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins franchise of the American League from 1955 through 1984, he orchestrated the transfer of the Senators after 60 years in Washington, D.C., to Minneapolis–Saint Paul in the autumn of 1960, thus creating the Twins. He was famous for his devotion to the game and for his sayings, some of them controversial.
James Luther Sewell was an American professional baseball player, coach and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators (1933–1934), Chicago White Sox (1935–1938) and the St. Louis Browns (1942). Sewell batted and threw right-handed. He was regarded as one of the best defensive catchers of his era.
Camilo Alberto Pascual Lus is a Cuban former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. During an 18-year baseball career (1954–71), he played for the original modern Washington Senators franchise, the second edition of the Washington Senators, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Cleveland Indians. He was also known by the nicknames "Camile" and "Little Potato."
Daniel Knowles MacFayden was an American starting and relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. From 1926 through 1943, he played for the Boston Red Sox (1926–1932), New York Yankees (1932–1934), Cincinnati Reds (1935), Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates (1940) and Washington Senators (1941). In a 17-season career, he posted a 132–159 record with 797 strikeouts and a 3.96 earned run average in 2706 innings pitched. His best season was 1936, when he earned 17 victories with 86 strikeouts and a 2.87 ERA, all career bests.
Sherrard Alexander Robertson was a Canadian-American utility player, front office executive, and coach in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played three outfield and three infield positions over his MLB career for the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics, including 109 games as a second baseman, 104 as a right fielder and 98 as a third baseman.
The 1924 Washington Senators won 92 games, lost 62, and finished in first place in the American League. Fueled by the excitement of winning their first AL pennant, the Senators won the World Series in dramatic fashion, a 12-inning game 7 victory.
Alexander "Al" Schacht was an American professional baseball player, coach, and, later, restaurateur. Schacht was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1919 to 1921 for the Washington Senators.
The 1933 Washington Senators was a season in American baseball. They won 99 games, lost 53, and finished in first place in the American League. It was the third and final pennant of the franchise while based in Washington. The team was managed by Joe Cronin and played home games at Griffith Stadium. They lost the best-of-seven World Series in 5 games to the New York Giants.
Joseph William Engel was an American left-handed pitcher and scout in Major League Baseball who spent nearly his entire career with the Washington Senators, and went on to become a promoter and team owner in the minor leagues. He was born in Washington, D.C. as one of six children of a German immigrant who owned a bar/hotel next door to the Washington Post building in the District of Columbia. Engel was married twice and lost his only child, son Bryant, due to a traffic accident in Nov. 1930 at age 9. Engel himself died in Chattanooga in 1969 at age 76.
The Washington Senators baseball team was one of the American League's eight charter franchises. Now known as the Minnesota Twins, the club was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1901 as the Washington Senators. In 1905, the team changed its official name to the Washington Nationals. The name "Nationals" appeared on the uniforms for only two seasons, and was then replaced with the "W" logo for the next 52 years. However, the names "Senators", "Nationals" and shorter "Nats" were used interchangeably by fans and media for the next sixty years; in 2005, the latter two names were revived for the current National League franchise that had previously played in Montreal. For a time, from 1911 to 1933, the Senators were one of the more successful franchises in Major League Baseball. The team's rosters included Baseball Hall of Fame members Goose Goslin, Sam Rice, Joe Cronin, Bucky Harris, Heinie Manush and one of the greatest players and pitchers of all time, Walter Johnson. But the Senators are remembered more for their many years of mediocrity and futility, including six last-place finishes in the 1940s and 1950s. Joe Judge, Cecil Travis, Buddy Myer, Roy Sievers and Eddie Yost were other notable Senators players whose careers were spent in obscurity due to the team's lack of success.
Thelma Griffith Haynes was a Canadian–American club owner (1955–84) in Major League Baseball.
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