On April 7, 1873, John McGraw, one of the winningest managers in Major League Baseball history, is born in Truxton, New York. McGraw’s career total of 2,763 wins ranks second only to Connie Mack.
McGraw played for St. Bonaventure University and in 1891 joined the Baltimore Orioles, where he spent the majority of his 16-season major league playing career. He developed a reputation as a talented batter and star third baseman, while also becoming known for his aggressive, arrogant personality. McGraw ended his days as a player with the New York Giants in 1906. His career stats included 1,024 runs, 1,309 home runs, 462 RBI, a .334 batting average and a .466 on base percentage. His career on base percentage is the third all-time highest, after Ted Williams (.482) and Babe Ruth (.474).
McGraw is best known, however, for his accomplishments as a manager. In 1902, while still a player, he became manager of the New York Giants, a position he held until 1932. During those years, his teams won 10 pennants, came in second place 11 times and won three World Series championships. The Giants claimed the pennant each year from 1921 to 1924, making McGraw the only National League manager to take home the title four seasons in a row.
McGraw had a keen understanding of baseball and was instrumental in developing such plays as the hit-and-run, the squeeze play and the Baltimore chop. His domineering, abrasive style earned him the nickname “Little Napoleon” and he is second only to Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox in total ejections, with 131 (some of which came while he was a player). He finished his career as a manager with 2,763 wins and 1,948 losses. Connie Mack, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates (1894-1896) and Philadelphia Athletics (1901-1950) had 3,731 wins.
McGraw died at age 60 on February 25, 1934, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.