June 9, 1911|
New York, New York
|Died: November 21, 1982
Manhasset, New York
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 11, 1934 for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1948 for the Boston Braves|
|Runs batted in||951|
|Career highlights and awards|
Frank Andrew McCormick (June 9, 1911 – November 21, 1982) was an American baseball first baseman who played fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). Nicknamed "Buck" in honour of Frank Buck, he played for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves from 1934 to 1948. He batted and threw right-handed and was listed at 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and 205 pounds (93 kg).
McCormick signed for the Cincinnati Reds as an amateur free agent in 1934 and played for their minor league affiliate in Beckley until September of that same year, when the Reds promoted him to the major leagues. After spending twelve seasons with the organization, McCormick was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he spent the next two seasons. In the middle of the 1947 season, he was released and subsequently joined the Boston Braves, with whom he played his last game on October 3, 1948. He is most famous for winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1940.
McCormick was born on June 9, 1911 in New York City. His father, Andrew McCormick, was a railroad worker; his mother was Ann. As a youngster, he played sandlot ball and participated in baseball at his high school and church's leagues, playing in the oufield. He made the decision to play professional baseball at seventeen and tried out for several major league teams. After he was rejected by the Philadelphia Athletics, Washington Senators and New York Giants, he took a $50 loan from his uncle in order to go to the Cincinnati Reds' tryout held in Beckley, West Virginia.
His manager at the sandlot team encouraged McCormick to switch positions to first base, citing how there was less competition for the spot compared to the outfield. His performance at the tryout left a lasting impression on former major league player and renowned scout Bobby Wallace, who promptly signed the 23-year-old.
At the conclusion of his 1938 rookie season, McCormick married his wife Vera (née Preedy) on October 8. Together, they had two daughters, Judith and Nancy. After his Major League career ended, McCormick went on to manage the Quebec Braves, Lima Phillies and Bradford Phillies, spending one season at each minor league baseball affiliate from 1949 to 1951. He proceeded to coach his former team—the now-renamed Cincinnati Redlegs—in 1955, replacing Dick Bartell. After his coaching tenure finished, he continued his affiliation with the Reds as a scout, as well as a broadcaster, announcer and analyst on WLWT-TV from 1958 to 1968, before moving back to his hometown and working as the director of ticket sales for the New York Yankees until his death. McCormick died of cancer on November 21, 1982 in Manhasset, New York at the age of 71. He was interred at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, New York.
McCormick began his professional baseball career for the Beckley Black Knights, a minor league baseball team that were members of the Middle Atlantic League. In 120 games played and 487 at bats that season, he posted a batting average of .347 and garnered 169 hits. His stellar performance that year earned him a promotion to the major leagues. After he was exiled back to the minors, he split the 1935 season between five teams—the Dayton Ducks, Decatur Commodores, Nashville Volunteers, Fort Worth Cats and Toronto Maple Leafs—and batted .277 and made 121 hits throughout the entire season. In 1936, he moved to the Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team that competed in the Piedmont League. He began the season in a disappointing fashion before his manager, Johnny Gooch, advised him to modify his batting grip. The change helped McCormick tremendously, as he led the league with a .381 batting average that season and finished with 211 hits, 49 doubles and 15 home runs. His final stint in the minor leagues saw him bat .322 with the Syracuse Chiefs in 1937.
Cincinnati Reds (1934–1945)
McCormick made his major league debut for the Reds on September 11, 1934, at the age of 23, entering the game as a pinch-hitter for pitcher Ray Kolp in a 5–2 loss against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He played just 12 games with the Reds and though he batted .313 in 16 at-bats, he was demoted back to the minor leagues, where he was consigned to for the next two seasons. He was briefly brought back up to the first team in 1937, but after the Reds were unable to entrench him into one position, he was sent back down and remained there until September 19. In his first day back with the team, he amassed 7 hits in a doubleheader and finished the season with a .325 batting average in 83 at-bats.
McCormick became the Reds' full-time first baseman from 1938 onwards, replacing Buck Jordan at the position. That year, he had 106 runs batted in (RBI), finished third in the National League in batting average (.327) and led the Majors in hits with 209. In recognition of his brilliant performance in his first full year in the major leagues, McCormick was named the unofficial "Rookie of the Year" by the Associated Press.
The 1939 season saw another strong showing from McCormick both offensively and defensively. He led the National League in hits (209), drove in 128 RBIs to become the league's RBI champion and finished first in fielding percentage at first base (.996). His impressive performance during the latter half of the season was recognized as being a key factor in the Reds' ability to sustain through and win the pennant. In the postseason, the Reds advanced to the 1939 World Series, where they lost to the New York Yankees in a four game sweep. In spite of team's performance, he was still able to maintain a .400 batting average throughout the series. His contributions to the team that year led to him being accepted into the "Jungle Club" of Reds' infielders, who gave him the nickname "Wildcat".
Philadelphia Phillies (1946–1947)
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Boston Braves (1947–1948)
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He was the Most Valuable Player in the National League in 1940. That season, he led the league in hits (191) and doubles (44) as the Reds stormed to their second consecutive National League championship and the 1940 World Series title. McCormick was selected to the NL All-Star team for nine straight seasons (1938–1946, although there was no game played in 1945). McCormick also led his league in hits two other times (1938–1939, with 209 each season) and in RBI in 1939 (with 128). He topped NL basemen in fielding percentage four times. In three World Series (1939–1940 with the Reds and 1948 with the Braves), he batted .271 with 13 hits in 14 games played.
- National League MVP Award in 1940.
- Nine consecutive times All-Star (1938–1946)
- Led NL in At Bats (1938 and 1940)
- Led NL in Hits (1938–40)
- Led NL in doubles (1940)
- Led NL in RBI (1939)
- Led NL in Singles (1939)
- Led NL in At Bats per Strikeout (1941)
- Ranks 23rd on MLB Career At Bats per Strikeout List (30.3)
- Set an MLB first basemen record with 131 straight errorless games (1945–46)
- Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Member
- Just one of only three NL players with three consecutive hits titles (1938 , 1939 , 1940 ). The others are Ginger Beaumont (1902–04) and Rogers Hornsby (1920–22)
- Appleton, Sheldon. "Frank McCormick". The Baseball Biography Project. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- "Frank McCormick Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "Frank McCormick To Manager's Post". The Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque). Associated Press. November 21, 1948. p. 18. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "Frank McCormick Minor League Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "Frank McCormick To Coach Redlegs". The Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. November 7, 1955. p. 5. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "Cincinnati Reds 2009 Media Guide". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "Deaths Elsewhere – Frank McCormick". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. November 24, 1982. p. 8. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "September 11, 1934 Cincinnati Reds at Brooklyn Dodgers Play by Play and Box Score". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference. September 11, 1934. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- Graham, Dillon (October 29, 1938). "Frank McCormick, Cincinnati First Baseman, Ranked As Baseball's Rookie-of-the-Year". Ellensburg Daily Record. Associated Press. p. 2. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- "1938 Major League Baseball Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- "1939 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "1939 National League Fielding Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Snider, Steve (August 10, 1939). "McCormick Spark of Reds' Flag Drive". The Pittsburgh Press. United Press International. p. 19. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "1939 World Series (4–0): New York Yankees (106–45) over Cincinnati Reds (97–57)". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball Library
- The Baseball Page