Famous Philadelphians: Cornelius “Connie Mack” McGillicuddy (1862–1956)

The most successful owner and manager in Philadelphia baseball history was Cornelius McGillicuddy, better known as Connie Mack. He was born to Irish immigrants in East Brookfield, Massachusetts and worked as a New England textile mill hand before discovering baseball.

Mack began his Major League career in 1886 with the Washington D.C. National League team, and played catcher for 11 seasons on 3 different teams. In 1901, following managerial stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukie Brewers, Mack borrowed $10,000 to invest in the newly formed Philadelphia Athletics, also becoming the team’s first manager.

Connie Mack with the1906 Philadelphia Athletics. Print supplement of The North American, May 1906.

Connie Mack with the1906 Philadelphia Athletics. Print supplement of The North American, May 1906.

Nicknamed the “Tall Tactician,” Mack continued in this role for 50 years, leading the A’s to five World Series and nine American League Pennants. He holds the major league mark for most wins (3,776), most losses (4,025) and most seasons managed (53, 50 with the A’s). Mack was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York, in 1937 by the Veterans’ Committee.

In 1953, against Mack’s wishes, Philadelphia’s Shibe Park (built for the A’s 1909 season) was renamed Connie Mack Stadium. When the A’s moved to Kansas City after the 1954 season (they now play in Oakland, California), the Phillies bought the stadium for $2 million. It was torn down in 1976, five years after Veterans’ Stadium opened. Mack died February 8, 1956, in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.