cover image

The Grand Old Man of Baseball

Connie Mack in His Final Years, 1932-1956

Norman L. Macht

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 10/2015
Pages: 616
Subject: Sports and Recreation
eBook ISBN: 9780803278967


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.


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.


"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