Nothing Was More Philadelphia Than Connie Mack’s Athletics.
It’s been seventy years since Connie Mack Sr. reluctantly sold his ownership of the Philadelphia Athletics and they were then moved to Kansas City.
The team that had once become a Philadelphia dynasty twice, was on a losing skid and many believed that they could never again be a viable AL Team in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia’s NL team, (the Phillies) who were the oldest continuously running sports franchise in America (1883) were on the rise after advancing to the 1950 World Series.
The Athletics began in 1901, second to the Phillies in Philadelphia. A former catcher, Connie Mack was assigned to as Athletics Manager. The original Athletics were from the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia. The original club was an original member of the NL, and participated in the first NL game (a loss to the Boston Red Caps 6–5 in 1876 in Philadelphia.)
When the American League started, players like Phillies second baseman Nap Lajoie immediately attempted to make the jump. He won the first batting title in the AL, still a league record. Then in April 1902, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Lajoie back to the Phillies.
Mack, the Shibes, and two Philadelphia sports-writers where the other majority partners in the original franchise. The Athletics began with a ton of excitement, and won the AL Pennant in 1902, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1913, and 1914, and prior to the first World War won the World Series in 1910, 1911, and 1913.
The A’s $100,000 infield consisted of Stuffy McInnis, Eddie Collins, Jack Barry, and Frank “Home Run” Baker and pitchers Eddie Plank and Chief Bender. Rube Waddell was also a star for the A’s in the early 1900s.
During the latter portion of the 1920s, Mack put together one of the best lineups in baseball history featuring Jimmie Fox, Al Simmons, and Mickey Cochran. Complete with pitcher Lefty Grove, the Athletics battled the New York Yankees every year. They won pennants in 1929, 1930, and 1931 and World Series victories in 1929 and 1930.
The Great Depression was the beginning of the end for the Athletics in Philadelphia. After 1933, they would never come back to prominence. Ownership disputs, as well as the Phillies rise in the late 1940s contributed to the end for Connie Mack’s Athletics in Philadelphia.
Two years later, Connie Mack would pass away at the age of 94.
His Athletics would live on in Philadelphia lore — forever.
Michael Thomas Leibrandt