Frantic Frank Lane

Baseball’s Ultimate Wheeler-Dealer

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About the Book

The book follows the colorful career of Frank Lane, who as baseball’s busiest general manager during the 1950s made the deals that turned the Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians from losers into pennant contenders almost overnight. He also worked—or tried to—as general manager of the Kansas City A’s (Lane lasted eight months in 1961 under first-year owner Charlie Finley) and for the Milwaukee Brewers, where his boss was Bud Selig. He is best known for having traded 1959 American League home run champion Rocky Colavito to Detroit for the AL’s 1959 batting champ, Harvey Kuenn, and for trading Indians manager Joe Gordon to Detroit for Tigers manager Jimmy Dykes.
During his brief absence from baseball (1962–1964), he signed on as general manager of the National Basketball Association’s second-year expansion team, the Chicago Zephyrs. He became a “superscout” for the Baltimore Orioles for several years and, after leaving Milwaukee, had the same job with the Texas Rangers and, finally, the California Angels. He completed well over 500 major- and minor-league transactions in his career. Joe Garagiola put it best: “They used to say that the toughest job on any club Frank Lane was running belonged to the guy who had to take the team picture.”

About the Author(s)

Bob Vanderberg, retired after nearly 37 years on the sports staff of the Chicago Tribune, has written three books on the Chicago White Sox. He lives in Lemont, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Bob Vanderberg
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7018-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0037-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Foreword by Billy Pierce 1

Preface 3

Prologue: Chicago, June 1978 5

 1. Getting Started in Chicago, 1949–1950 9

 2. The Go-Go Sox Are Born, 1951–1952 20

 3. Serious Contenders, at Last, 1953–1954 34

 4. The Race Heats Up, and So Does Lane, 1955 50

 5. A. Busch, a Brewery and Almost a Pennant, 1956–1957 63

 6. A Troubling Debut as the Wigwam’s Bigwig, 1958 79

 7. Fighting Some Old Friends for the Flag, 1959 92

 8. No More Rocky, No More Frank, 1960 102

 9. Kansas City, Here He Comes, 1961 112

10. Time Out for the NBA, 1962–1963 125

11. Scouting for Titles in Baltimore, 1965–1970 133

12. Making Bud Wiser in Milwaukee, 1971–1972 145

13. Closing It Out with the Cowboy, 1974–1979 155

Epilogue 169

Appendix I: The Best and Worst of Frank Lane 179

Appendix II: Lane’s Major League Transactions 181

Appendix III: Lane’s Five Rules of Trading 190

Chapter Notes 191

Bibliography 197

Index 199