Joseph Edward Cronin (October 12, 1906 – September 7, 1984) was a Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop, manager and general manager. He also served as president of the American League (AL) for 14 years.
During his 20-year playing career (1926–1945), Cronin played for three teams, primarily the Boston Red Sox; he was a player-manager for 13 seasons (1933–1945), and served as manager for two additional seasons (1946–1947). A seven-time All-Star, Cronin became the first AL player to become an All-Star with two teams; he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956.
Cronin with the Boston Red Sox in 1937
|Shortstop / Manager|
|Born: October 12, 1906|
San Francisco, California
|Died: September 7, 1984 (aged 77)|
|April 29, 1926, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 19, 1945, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Runs batted in||1,424|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||78.76% (tenth ballot)|
Cronin was born in Excelsior District of San Francisco, California. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake had cost his Irish Catholic parents almost all of their possessions. Cronin attended Sacred Heart High School. He played several sports as a child and he won a city tennis championship for his age group when he was 14. As he was not greatly interested in school, Cronin's grades improved only when the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League began giving away tickets to students with good conduct and attendance. At the time, the nearest MLB team was nearly 2,000 miles from San Francisco.
Baseball promoter Joe Engel, who scouted for the Senators and managed the Chattanooga Lookouts at Engel Stadium, originally signed Cronin. Engel first spotted Cronin playing in Kansas City. "I knew I was watching a great player", Engel said. "I bought Cronin at a time he was hitting .221. When I told Clark Griffith what I had done, he screamed, 'You paid $7,500 for that bum? Well, you didn't buy him for me. You bought him for yourself. He's not my ballplayer – he's yours. You keep him and don't either you or Cronin show up at the ballpark.'"
In 1930, Cronin had a breakout year, batting .346 with 13 home runs and 126 RBI. Cronin won both the AL Writers' MVP (the forerunner of the BBWAA MVP, established in 1931) and the AL Sporting News MVP. His 1931 season was also outstanding, with him posting a .306 average, 12 home runs, and 126 RBIs. Cronin led the Senators to the 1933 World Series and later married Griffith's niece, Mildred Robertson.
Cronin was named player-manager of the Senators in 1933, a post he would hold for two years. In 1935, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox by Griffith, also as player-manager. Cronin retired as a player in 1945, but remained manager of the Red Sox until 1947. On June 17, 1943, Cronin sent himself into pinch hit in both games of a doubleheader and hit a home run each time.
As early as 1938, it was apparent that Cronin was nearing the end of his playing career. Red Sox farm director Billy Evans thought he had found Cronin's successor in Pee Wee Reese, the star shortstop for the Louisville Colonels of the Triple-A American Association. He was so impressed by Reese that he was able to talk Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey into buying the Colonels and making them the Red Sox' top farm club. However, when Yawkey and Evans asked Cronin to scout Reese, Cronin realized he was scouting his replacement. Believing that he was still had enough left to be a regular player, Cronin deliberately downplayed Reese's talent and suggested that the Red Sox trade him. Reese was eventually traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he went on to a Hall of Fame career. As it turned out, Evans' and Yawkey's initial concerns about Cronin were valid. His last year as a full-time player was 1941; after that year he never played more than 76 games in a season.
Over his career, Cronin batted .300 or higher eight times, as well as driving in 100 runs or more eight times. He finished with a .301 average, 170 home runs, and 1,424 RBIs.
As a manager, he compiled a 1,236–1,055 record and won two American League pennants (in 1933 and 1946). His 1933 Senators dropped the 1933 World Series to the New York Giants, and his 1946 Boston Red Sox lost the 1946 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
At the end of the 1947 season, Cronin succeeded Eddie Collins as general manager of the Red Sox and held the post for over 11 years, through mid-January 1959. The Red Sox challenged for the AL pennant in 1948–49 (finishing second by a single game both seasons) thanks to Cronin's aggressive trades. In his first off-season, he acquired shortstop Vern Stephens and pitchers Ellis Kinder and Jack Kramer from the St. Louis Browns; all played major roles in Boston's contending 1948 season, and Kinder and Stephens were centerpieces of the Red Sox' 1949–50 contenders as well.
But the Red Sox last seriously contended in 1950, and began a slow decline during the 1950s. With the exception of Ted Williams (who missed most of the 1952–53 seasons while serving in the Korean War), the core of the 1946-50 team aged quickly and the Red Sox faced a significant rebuilding job starting in 1952. Cronin's acquisition of future American League Most Valuable Player Jackie Jensen from Washington in 1954 represented a coup, but the club misfired on several "bonus babies" who never lived up to their potential. The Red Sox posted winning season records for all but two of Cronin's 11 seasons as general manager, but beginning in 1959 they began a skein of eight consecutive below-.500 and second-division campaigns.
Most attention has been focused on Cronin and Yawkey's refusal to integrate the Red Sox roster; by January 1959, when Cronin's tenure as general manager ended, the Red Sox were the only team in the big leagues without an African-American or Afro-Latin American player. Notably, Cronin once passed on signing a young Willie Mays and never traded for an African-American player. The Red Sox did not break the baseball color line until six months after Cronin's departure for the AL presidency, when they promoted Pumpsie Green, a utility infielder, from their Triple-A affiliate, the Minneapolis Millers, in July 1959.
In January 1959, Cronin was elected president of the American League, the first former player to be so elected and the fourth full-time chief executive in the league's history. When he replaced the retiring Will Harridge, who became board chairman, Cronin moved the league's headquarters from Chicago to Boston. Cronin served as AL president until December 31, 1973, when he was succeeded by Lee MacPhail.
During Cronin's 15 years in office, the Junior Circuit expanded from eight to 12 teams, adding the Los Angeles Angels and expansion Washington Senators in 1961 and the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots in 1969.
It also endured four franchise shifts: the relocation of the original Senators club (owned by Cronin's brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Calvin Griffith and Thelma Griffith Haynes) to Minneapolis–Saint Paul, creating the Minnesota Twins (1961); the shift of the Athletics from Kansas City to Oakland (1968); the transfer of the Pilots after only one season in Seattle to Milwaukee as the Brewers (1970); and the transplantation of the expansion Senators after 11 seasons in Washington, D.C., to Dallas–Fort Worth as the Texas Rangers (1972). The Angels also moved from Los Angeles to adjacent Orange County in 1966 and adopted a regional identity, in part because of the dominance of the National League Dodgers, who were the Angels' landlords at "Chavez Ravine" (Dodger Stadium) from 1962–65. Of the four expansion teams that joined the league beginning in 1961, three abandoned their original host cities within a dozen years (the Pilots after only one season), and only one team—the Royals—remained in its original municipality. Two of the charter members of the old eight-team league, the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, also suffered significant attendance woes and were targets of relocation efforts by other cities.
In addition, the AL found itself at a competitive disadvantage compared with the National League during Cronin's term. With strong teams in larger markets and a host of new stadiums, the NL outdrew the AL for 33 consecutive years (1956–88). In 1973, Cronin's final season as league president, the NL attracted 55 percent of total MLB attendance, 16.62 million vs. 13.38 million total fans, despite the opening of Royals Stadium in Kansas City and the American League's adoption of the designated hitter rule, which was designed to spark scoring and fan interest. While the National League held only an 8–7 edge in World Series play during the Cronin era, it dominated the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, going 15–3–1 in the 19 games played from 1959–73.
After the 1968 season, Cronin drew headlines when he fired AL umpires Al Salerno and Bill Valentine, ostensibly for poor performance; however, it later surfaced that the two officials were fired for attempting to organize an umpires' union. Neither man was reinstated (Valentine became a successful minor league front-office executive), but the Major League Umpires Association was formed anyway, two years later. However, in 1966, Cronin was hailed for integrating MLB's umpiring staff with the promotion of veteran minor league arbiter Emmett Ashford to the American League.
|Joe Cronin's number 4 was retired by the Boston Red Sox in 1984.|
In the last months of his life, Cronin struggled with cancer that had invaded his prostate and bones; he suffered a great deal of bone pain as a result. Cronin came to Fenway Park for one of his last public appearances when his jersey number 4 was retired by the Red Sox on May 29, 1984. He died at the age of 77 on September 7, 1984, at his home in Osterville, Massachusetts. He is buried in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in nearby Centerville.
At the number retirement ceremony shortly before Cronin's death, teammate Ted Williams commented on how much he respected Cronin as a father and a man. Cronin was also remembered as a clutch hitter. Manager Connie Mack once commented, "With a man on third and one out, I'd rather have Cronin hitting for me than anybody I've ever seen, and that includes Cobb, Simmons and the rest of them."
| Hitting for the cycle
September 2, 1929
August 2, 1940
The 1933 Washington Senators was a season in American baseball. They won 99 games, lost 53, and finished in first place in the American League. It was the third and final pennant of the franchise while based in Washington. The team was managed by Joe Cronin and played home games at Griffith Stadium. They lost the best-of-seven World Series in 5 games to the New York Giants.
It would be the last time a Major League Baseball postseason series would be held in Washington until the 2012 season. The Senators franchise, which moved to Minneapolis–St. Paul after the 1960 season, has since won three American League pennants (1965; 1987; 1991) and two World Series (1987 and 1991) as the Minnesota Twins.1933 World Series
The 1933 World Series featured the New York Giants and the Washington Senators. The Giants won in five games for their first championship since 1922 and their fourth overall. The Giants easily defeated the Senators behind pitching aces "King" Carl Hubbell and "Prince" Hal Schumacher.
Majority owner John McGraw retired as manager in 1932 after 30 years at the helm, naming his protégé, young star first baseman Bill Terry, recently the last .400 hitter in the National League, as his player-manager successor. Somewhat similarly, former superstar hurler Walter Johnson also retired in 1932 as Senator manager in favor of young star shortstop Joe Cronin as their new player-manager. (McGraw watched the Series from the stands, and died four months later.)
The Senators were the surprise team of 1933, breaking a seven-year monopoly on the AL title jointly held by the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics from 1926 to 1932. But this could also be called a joint 13-year monopoly by all three, since the Senators had also won in 1924 and 1925 and the Yankees won from 1921 to 1923. 43 year old future Hall of Famer Sam Rice, in his last year with the Senators, had only one at bat during the series, picking up a pinch hit single in the second game.1934 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1934 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the second playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10 at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, the home of the New York Giants of the National League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 9–7.
The game is well known among baseball historians for the performance of NL starting pitcher Carl Hubbell. After allowing the first two batters to reach base on a single and a base on balls, Hubbell struck out five of the game's best hitters – Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin – in succession, setting a longstanding All-Star Game record for consecutive strikeouts.1934 Washington Senators season
The 1934 Washington Senators played 154 games, won 68, lost 86, and finished in seventh place in the American League. They were managed by Joe Cronin and played home games at Griffith Stadium. In the eighth inning of their game against the Boston Red Sox on June 9, the Washington Senators hit 5 consecutive doubles – the most ever hit consecutively during the same inning.1935 Boston Red Sox season
The 1935 Boston Red Sox season was the 35th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 78 wins and 75 losses. This was the Red Sox' first season with more wins than losses since 1918.1936 Boston Red Sox season
The 1936 Boston Red Sox season was the 36th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished sixth in the American League (AL) with a record of 74 wins and 80 losses.1937 Boston Red Sox season
The 1937 Boston Red Sox season was the 37th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fifth in the American League (AL) with a record of 80 wins and 72 losses.1937 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1937 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the fifth playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 7, 1937, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., the home of the Washington Senators of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 8–3.
The game, watched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is remembered because of a play in which Earl Averill of the Indians hit a ball that struck pitcher Dizzy Dean on the toe, breaking it. Complications of this injury shortened the career of the future Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher.1938 Boston Red Sox season
The 1938 Boston Red Sox season was the 38th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 88 wins and 61 losses.1939 Boston Red Sox season
The 1939 Boston Red Sox season was the 39th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 89 wins and 62 losses.1940 Boston Red Sox season
The 1940 Boston Red Sox season was the 40th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 82 wins and 72 losses.1941 Boston Red Sox season
The 1941 Boston Red Sox season was the 41st season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 84 wins and 70 losses. The team featured five future Hall of Famers: player-manager Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, and Ted Williams.1942 Boston Red Sox season
The 1942 Boston Red Sox season was the 42nd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 93 wins and 59 losses.1943 Boston Red Sox season
The 1943 Boston Red Sox season was the 43rd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished seventh in the American League (AL) with a record of 68 wins and 84 losses. The team set a major league record which still stands by playing in 31 extra innings games, winning 15 and losing 14, with 2 games tied. They played 352 extra innings in total, equivalent to playing an additional 39 games.1944 Boston Red Sox season
The 1944 Boston Red Sox season was the 44th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 77 wins and 77 losses.1945 Boston Red Sox season
The 1945 Boston Red Sox season was the 45th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished seventh in the American League (AL) with a record of 71 wins and 83 losses.History of the Washington Senators (1901–1960)
The Washington Senators baseball team was one of the American League's eight charter franchises. Now known as the Minnesota Twins, the club was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1901 as the Washington Senators. In 1905, the team changed its official name to the Washington Nationals. The name "Nationals" appeared on the uniforms for only two seasons, and was then replaced with the "W" logo for the next 52 years. However, the names "Senators", "Nationals" and shorter "Nats" were used interchangeably by fans and media for the next sixty years; in 2005, the latter two names were revived for the current National League franchise that had previously played in Montreal. For a time, from 1911 to 1933, the Senators were one of the more successful franchises in Major League Baseball. The team's rosters included Baseball Hall of Fame members Goose Goslin, Sam Rice, Joe Cronin, Bucky Harris, Heinie Manush and one of the greatest players and pitchers of all time, Walter Johnson. But the Senators are remembered more for their many years of mediocrity and futility, including six last-place finishes in the 1940s and 1950s. Joe Judge, Cecil Travis, Buddy Myer, Roy Sievers and Eddie Yost were other notable Senators players whose careers were spent in obscurity due to the team's lack of success.List of Boston Red Sox managers
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox are members of the American League (AL) East Division in Major League Baseball (MLB). There have been 47 different managers in their franchise history; four during the era of the Boston Americans (1901–1907) and the rest under the Boston Red Sox (1908–present). In baseball, the head coach of a team is called the manager, or more formally, the field manager. Since 1912, the Red Sox have played their home games at Fenway Park.Jimmy Collins was the first manager of the Americans and managed from 1901 to 1906. Joe Cronin managed the most games with 1,987 and wins with 1,071 with the Red Sox. Terry Francona, a recent manager of the Red Sox, managed the most playoff games with 42 and wins with 28. Bill Carrigan and Francona have each won two World Series championships. Carrigan won his two championships in 1915 and 1916, while Francona won his two championships in 2004 and 2007. John McNamara and Jimy Williams are the only two Red Sox managers to win the AL Manager of the Year Award, in 1986 and 1999 respectively. On October 22, 2017 the Red Sox named Alex Cora their manager after firing John Farrell on October 11, 2017.List of Minnesota Twins managers
In its 108-year history, the Minnesota Twins baseball franchise of Major League Baseball's American League has employed 31 managers. The duties of the manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field. Eight of these team managers have been "player-managers", all during the Washington Senators era; specifically, they managed the team while still playing for it.The Minnesota franchise began its life as the Washington Senators in Washington, D. C., where they played from their inception in 1901 to 1960. In the early twentieth century, the Senators were managed consecutively by three future members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, bookended by Bucky Harris, who managed the team from 1924 to 1928 and again from 1935 to 1942. Walter Johnson managed the team for four seasons from 1929 to 1932, and he was followed by Joe Cronin, who led for the next two seasons (1933–1934). In 1960, the American League awarded an expansion franchise to Minneapolis, Minnesota; however, owner Calvin Griffith moved his team to Minnesota, and Washington was awarded the expansion team instead. Thus, the Minnesota Twins began play at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota the following year, during the tenure of manager Cookie Lavagetto, and played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis from 1982 to 2009. Under manager Ron Gardenhire, the team moved to Target Field beginning in the 2010 season.
Seven managers have taken the franchise to the postseason, with Gardenhire leading them to five playoff appearances, the most in their franchise history. Two managers have won World Series championships with the franchise: Bucky Harris, in the 1924 World Series against the New York Giants; and Tom Kelly, in the 1987 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals and 1991 against the Atlanta Braves. Harris is also the longest-tenured manager in their franchise history, with 2,776 games of service in parts of 18 seasons between 1924 and 1954; he is followed by Kelly, who managed 2,386 games over 16 seasons from 1986 to 2001. The manager with the highest winning percentage in team history is Billy Martin, who managed the team in 1969 and achieved a record of 97–65 (.599). Conversely, the manager with the lowest winning percentage is Malachi Kittridge, whose winning percentage of .059 was achieved with a record of 1–16 in the first half of 1904. Kittridge's tenure is also the shortest in team history.
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.
Members of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame