Wednesday, March 12, 2014

TOPPS 1976 "ALL-TIME ALL-STARS"- AN EXPANDED VIEW #11: MANAGERS

The last installment on my thread reflecting on the 1976 Topps "All-Time All-Stars" sub-set will be something they didn't have: Managers.
Would have been nice to throw some respect to the filed managers after-all.
So today the final piece in this thread will be my picks for the all-time managers in each league (as I see picked back in 1976): Connie Mack in the American League and John McGraw in the National League.
Take a look at the cards first:



All we're looking at here is 86 years of Major League managerial leadership, eight World Series wins, and pennants!
Mack of course lead the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 years, and is still the winningest (and "losingest") manager in baseball history, with McGraw, who lead the mighty New York Giants in the early 20th-century, as the second most winning manager in the game's storied past.
Mack's first taste of managerial experience came with the Pittsburgh club between 1894-1896, before taking the helm of the Philadelphia club (and ownership) in the newly formed American League in 1901, a job he'd have until 1950, at the age of 87!
I remember being enthralled at the images of Mack in his suit, peering out of the dugout in all the baseball history books I came across as a kid. I STILL wonder why they don't let managers wear civilian clothes while managing, instead of squeezing into a baseball uniform like players decades younger than them!
Mack was far ahead of anyone I considered as far as "all-time manager" for the American League. Sure you had Stengal, McCarthy or even Miller Huggins with their championships. But "nah", not even close. Mack stands head and shoulders above the rest.
In the National League, who'd argue with McGraw as all-time manager of the league?
The ornery bastard carried the fire and hard-nosed play of his younger days right into his on-filed managing, first with the Baltimore Orioles in 1899 as player manager, then onto the Giants, whom he managed from 1902 to 1932, amassing 2763 wins along the way.
Again, we have a manager that was indeed far and away ahead of the pack as far as leaders are concerned in his league. 
While many may not have liked the way "Little Napoleon" handled his duties along the way, no one could argue with his Hall of Fame induction in the second class of 1937, along with who else but Connie Mack.
That wraps up my 1976 "All-Time All-Stars" thread sub-set. Not a bad squad representing both leagues…
Hope you all enjoyed it.

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