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Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball Hardcover – September 1, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Connie Mack Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“As a catcher and manager, Connie Mack deserves much of the credit for writing ‘The Book’ on baseball strategy and the managing of men. How he did it all is told here for the first time.”—Roland Hemond, three-time winner of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year award
(Roland Hemond 2006-08-21)

“No other baseball manager is going to win—or lose—as many games as Connie Mack did in his fifty years managing the Philadelphia Athletics. A biography of Mack cannot help but be a history of baseball in the first half of the twentieth century, and this biography is a feast of interesting facts and judgments.”—George F. Will, syndicated columnist and author of Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball
(George Will 2007-03-13)

“[A] comprehensive and interesting portrait of one of baseball’s most successful managers. . . . A compelling look at a legend and an era.”—Kirkus Reviews
(Kirkus Reviews)

“A mother lode of data, stories, perceptions about one of the legendary figures in the history of the national pastime. . . . If you are into baseball, get into this tome.”—Harvey Frommer on Sports
(Harvey Frommer on Sports 2007-11-26)

“Richly enjoyable.”—Roanoke Times
(Bob Willis The Roanoke Times)

“The tale Macht offers is often riveting.”—Library Journal
(Robert Cottrell Library Journal)

“[Includes] many fascinating details of baseball from the 1880s to 1914.”—Boston Globe
(Katherine A. Powers Boston Globe)

“Masterful. . . . A must read for all historians of the national pastime, particularly those with an interest in Philadelphia sports.”—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
(Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 2008-08-18)

About the Author

Norman L. Macht is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the author of more than thirty books, including biographies of Rowdy Richard (with Dick Bartell) and Rex Barney's Thank Youuuu (with Rex Barney).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 742 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803232632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803232631
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,357,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Zocco on November 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well researched, well written,
detailed book on the life of Connie Mack. The author states he spent twenty-two years working on this book. The book is interesting from the start. In the forward, former United States Senator Connie Mack III tells about being a youngster and helping take care of his grandfather. It begins with the birth of Connie Mack and ends seven hundred pages later with the 1914 season. Connie Mack was not only very intelligent as a manager but also as a player in the National and Players Leagues. Mack had a large hand in helping form the American League and this book gives an account of how the American League was formed. Mack sent scouts or scouted on his own as he built the Philadelphia Athletics dynasty. Players such as Eddie Plank and Rube Waddell are brought to life. Also, Mack was very kind and giving, supporting many members of his family and friends. Several long standing beliefs about Mack are debunked. This book is a must read for baseball historians. Here is hoping 1915- is in the works.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After researching Connie Mack for more than 20 years, author Norman Macht definitely knows his subject. Macht masterfully weaves the story of Mack and the early years of baseball in this 675-page biography, which covers the time from Mack's birth in 1862 through 1914.

Mack is the ideal subject to use to tell about baseball's early years because he was involved, in one way or another, in virtually every development. Macht chronicles Mack's childhood, his family, his days as a player and manager.

Macht spends much of the first part of the book dispelling myths about baseball's early years and Mack.

As a catcher, Mack was underrated. Writer Hugh Fullerton described him as a "better hitter than credited and dangerous in the pinch. He was a perfect backstop; cool, unhurried, deadly in throwing."

Wilbert Robinson called him "a little tin god behind the plate."

Macht writes that "It's difficult to reconcile the later image of Mack the public remembers--dignified, kind and soft-spoken--with the sharp-tongued, hot-headed manager of the 1890s, which he was."

Macht does an excellent job of capturing what the times were like, both on and off the field. A reader will learn a lot about the issues of the times and how the rules changed during baseball's early years.

Macht is extremely knowledgeable about the personalities of the players associated with Mack. He has a habit of adding little details, insight and color that bring the players to life. He does the same with Mack's family life. You truly feel you are in Mack's shoes.

While Macht is a noted baseball historian, he is also an excellent writer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent biography, perfectly able to stand next to those of great biographers such as David McCullough, Ron Chernow, Peter Ackroyd, Claire Tomalin or countless others. It is a well written, well researched and highly detailed biography. It is also a joy to read. Connie Mack was a good, kind, dedicated baseball man who was loyal to the players under his charge. He treated everyone equally well. He was always willing to take a moment to respond to a hello on the street and personally answered all his mail. If you wanted to talk baseball, he might spend a few hours chatting with you. Getting to know him well is one of the great strengths of this book.

Another charming aspect of the book is the many colorful characters the reader is introduced to--whether teammates of Mack's during his playing career, or players under him during his 50-plus years of managing in the big leagues. The list is too lengthy to mention, but some of my favorites were Rube Waddell, the flame-throwing southpaw who just wouldn't grow up, and Gettysburg Eddie Plank, who pitched for Mack's Philadelphia Athletics for 14 years. Plank was a tour guide at the Gettysburg battlefield during the off-season.

One player who does not come off so well is Christy Mathewson, who pitched for the New York Giants and against the A's in three World Series. Generally considered an educated gentleman at a time when many players were rowdies, Mathewson twice signed contracts with teams in the American League, only to "jump" back to the National League Giants. He was also critical of his own teammates in print during the 1911 World's Series.

Though this is the first in a three-volume series on Mack, it is a book that can easily stand by itself. A superb biography of a good and great man.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Norman Macht has provided the reader with an in-depth biography of Connie Mack, The Tall Tactician, from his childhood years of growing up in Massachusetts through the 1914 season in which his "Athaletics" were swept by George Stallings and his Miracle Braves in the World Series. The book contains 673 pages of text, and it took me a week to pioneer my way through it.

Author Macht assures us that we get to know Mack the player with Hartford and Washington prior to moving on to Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Mack feels that his move to Milwaukee was one of the best decisions he made regarding his baseball career. We also learn about baseball wars involving the Players' League and the Federal League each of which went about raiding the major leagues of their talent.

This is also the story of baseball nabobs such as American League President Ban Johnson and Ben Shibe, owner of the Philadelphia Athletics. We also learn about players such as Frank "Home Run" Baker, Stuffy McInnis, Eddie Plank, Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, and others who played a prominent role during this time period for the Mackmen.

We also are given a thorough understanding of Mr. Mack's personality in relation to his players and umpires. His temper could exhibit itself in a foul manner if the situation arose in regard to either one, but he generally had a reputation of treating both with respect. Mr. Mack did share one tidbit that has been illustrated by Branch Rickey as well. Both of them have said that, although the goal is to win the pennant in your league prior to going on to the World Series, ideally it is better financially to stay in contention and finish second because if you win the pennant you end up having to pay your players more money.
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