The Athletics of Philadelphia

Connie Mack’s White Elephants, 1901–1954


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About the Book

In 1900, American League president Ban Johnson convinced Connie Mack to manage the newly created Philadelphia Athletics, which had been strategically placed in the same market as the National League Phillies, making the City of Brotherly Love a two-team town. The Athletics thus began their 54-year history by attempting to split the city’s fan base, perhaps the first indication of the team’s tendency toward polarity and vicissitude. As Ed Fitzgerald put it, “Like the little girl with the curl on her forehead, when the Athletics were good, they were very very good. But when they were bad, horrid was hardly the word.” The A’s won nine pennants and five World Series, yet finished last 16 times; they raided the Phillies roster in 1901, and later stripped themselves in baseball’s first great fire sale; they boasted the illustrious “$100,000 Infield,” yet Mack had to sell star players one after another to pull the A’s through the Depression.
This book, written by a long-time fan of the defunct team, relates the Athletics to the city of Philadelphia and tells the stories of the organization’s signature seasons, from the championship years to the days when the A’s were synonymous with baseball’s cellar. The book also details the exploits of such Hall of Famers as Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, and Al Simmons, and considers the unique achievements and personality of Connie Mack, baseball’s “Tall Tactician.”

About the Author(s)

A longtime Philadelphia baseball fan, David M. Jordan is a retired attorney and the author of nine books on the Civil War, political events, and baseball.

Bibliographic Details

David M. Jordan

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 227
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 1999
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0620-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Prologue: The Quaker City at the Turn of the Century      5

1. New Man in Town      11
2. A Pennant for Philadelphia      21
3. Top Dogs      30
4. Interlude, 1906–1908      37
5. Shibe Park and the First Dynasty      42
6. A Stick in John McGraw’s Eye      51
7. Rollercoaster      63
8. Rock Bottom      75
9. On the Way Again      87
10. Top of the Mountain      95
11. Another Dynasty      107
12. Back to the Basement      115
13. The War Years      130
14. New Day Coming      140
15. A Surprising Pennant Race      151
16. Jubilee      164
17. The Road to Kansas City      172

Epilogue: The Wanderers      187
Notes      191
Bibliography      207
Index      21

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “the complete story of this mercurial team and the enigmatic man who owned and managed them”—USA Today Sports Weekly
  • “excellent account of the A’s…a book that history and sociology buffs will admire for its tracking of the association between the city of Philadelphia and their American League ball club”—The Diamond Angle
  • “seventeen chapters cover the fifty-plus years that the Athletics fielded teams both great and bad”—The SABR Bulletin
  • “a well-written book and touches all the bases. It’s wonderful…many interesting photos”—Philadelphia Daily News
  • “takes the reader through the cycles that characterized the A’s Philadelphia era…. Every true A’s fan will enjoy reading [this book]”—Athletics
  • “[an] interesting account of the ups and downs of Philadelphia’s beloved Athletics…. Baseball fans are sure to enjoy this great telling of the A’s story…full of fascinating insights and interesting stories that make this fine franchise and those associated with it come alive”—Baseball Almanac