Norman L. Macht
The Grand Old Man of Baseball
Connie Mack in His Final Years, 1932-1956
University of Nebraska Press 2015
At the start of The Grand Old Man of Baseball: Connie Mack in His Final Years, 1932-1956, the third volume of Norman L. Macht’s biography of baseball legend Connie Mack, the Philadelphia A’s which he owned and managed had just lost the 1931 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. Though Mack would run the team for another eighteen seasons, never again would they win a pennant during his tenure. Macht chronicles the team’s struggles during the Great Depression to stay afloat, as Mack was forced to sell off his best players simply to meet his obligations. By the end of the decade, the improving economic conditions and the adoption of night games improved the financial picture, only for the outbreak of World War II to leave baseball hobbled once more. By the time the A’s contended for the pennant again in1948, the 86-year-old Mack was slowed by strokes and on the verge of a long-anticipated retirement, yet still managing from the dugout as best he could. Macht shows that, despite Mack’s willingness to innovate and experiment, his failure to embrace the farm system early on doomed his team to seasonal struggles to post winning records, while his decision to pass along management of the club to his sons Roy and Earle nearly bankrupted the organization and led to their move out of Philadelphia just a few years later.