Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CONNIE MACK by Norman L. Macht Kirkus Star

CONNIE MACK

The Turbulent and Triumphant Years, 1915-1931

By Norman L. Macht

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8032-2039-3
Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

The second volume of the author’s massive biography of legendary baseball manager Connie Mack (1862–1956).

Macht’s first volume (Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, 2007) covered the Hall of Famer’s life up to age 52, a period during which his team, the Philadelphia Athletics, won six pennants and three World Series titles. The current volume covers some wilderness and some promised-land years. His team had aged, so he decided to rebuild, a decision that cost him seven straight last-place finishes between 1915 and 1921. Mack eventually gave up his plan of building from the farm system and began buying players and trading. Between 1929 and 1931, the A’s won three consecutive pennants and two World Series with the sterling efforts of such iconic stars as Lefty Grove, Al Simmons, Mickey Cochrane and Jimmy Dykes. The aging Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb even played for Mack at the ends of their careers. Crusty Cobb, it seems, revered his manager. Appearing throughout the text are some of the greatest names in baseball—Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Eddie Collins, Walter Johnson and countless others. Moreover, Macht has done such meticulous research that readers will discover the precise layout of Mack’s office at Shibe Park as well as his home. The author combed period newspapers for stories about Mack, quotes extensively from personal letters of the principals, reproduces numerous encomiums to the manager offered by family, players, fans and competitors, describes exciting game action and political battles and rule changes and charts the surfaces of Mack’s diamond-keen baseball sense. In 650 pages he has no ill word for Mack and continually reminds us of his greatness. He was a respected husband, father, leader, role model and humanitarian—maybe even a hero.

Definitive and exhaustive, animated by a profound respect and admiration.