Playing for John McGraw — The Sporting Blog

The hardest thing a manager has to do is handle the pitchers. McGraw could not handle pitchers. That was his weakness – when to take them out. He’d let his Irish temper get the best of him, leave a pitcher out there to take a 10-12 run beating, when he should have been out of there in the second inning and maybe we’d won the ball game. He’d be mad at a pitcher and make him pitch the whole game.

McGraw called all the pitches. One day Rosy Ryan was pitching. Every time he threw a fastball, somebody hit it good. McGraw had enough. He started calling curve ball, curve ball – 18 or 19 straight curve balls. Everybody knew he was doing it for meanness. If a pitcher didn’t like it, he’d be in Indianapolis the next day.

I made some mistakes sometimes but he didn’t get on me. Later, when I was the team captain, it was my responsibility to position the fielders. One day at the Polo Grounds a rookie, Jimmy Welsh, was in the outfield. Somebody hit a line drive and he was in the wrong place and it went for a triple. When we went into the dugout, McGraw was just frothing at the mouth, cussing Jimmy out. And Jimmy said, “Mr. McGraw, Jackson moved me.”

McGraw said, “Did you move him?”

I said, “Yep.”

McGraw said, “Forget about it, Welsh.” And that’s all there was to it.

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