George Weiss (baseball)

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George Martin Weiss (June 23, 1895 – August 13, 1972) was an American baseball executive. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.

Weiss was one of Major League Baseball's most successful farm system directors and general managers. Working as the director of the New York Yankees' farm system from 1932 to 1947, he established it as one of the two best in the game, helping the Bombers win nine American League pennants and eight World Series championships over 16 full years. Then, during Weiss' 13-season tenure as the Yankees' general manager from October 1947 to 1960, the team won 10 AL pennants and seven more World Series titles.

Weiss later became the first club president and general manager of the New York Mets from 1961 to 1966 after that expansion franchise was formed.

Early life and career[edit]

Weiss was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and attended Yale University. In 1915, he founded the New Haven MaxFeds in the independent Colonial League, an "outlaw" minor league associated with the Federal League. In 1919, Weiss borrowed $5,000 to acquire the New Haven franchise in the established Class A Eastern League,[1] which was immediately nicknamed the Weissmen by local baseball writers.[2] He operated the New Haven club, eventually nicknamed the Profs in homage to Yale, for a decade. Then, in 1930, Weiss took over the Baltimore Orioles of the Class AA International League for two seasons.

New York Yankees and the farm system[edit]

In 1932, at 37, he was hired by the Yankees to create a farm system, which had been pioneered in the National League by the St. Louis Cardinals and was the linchpin of the Cardinals' dominance of the senior circuit. Weiss grew the Yankee system from four farm teams in 1931 to 16 by 1939 and 20 by 1947. The Yankee farm system churned out many of the players who would lead the Bronx Bombers to their four consecutive (1936–39) World Series titles in the 1930s, their five straight titles (1949–53), and their six other championship clubs sprinkled throughout the rest of the 1940s and 1950s.

In October 1947, just after the 1947 World Series championship, Weiss was promoted to general manager of the Yankees, after the team's newly reconstituted ownership tandem of Dan Topping and Del Webb bought out original partner Larry MacPhail, who had also been general manager. Weiss led the Yankees to 10 AL pennants and seven world titles in 13 seasons. After the Yankees were defeated in the 1960 World Series by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Weiss and his longtime manager, Casey Stengel, were forced to retire.

According to the book Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee, Weiss at a cocktail party stated loudly that "he would never allow a black man to wear a Yankee uniform." The Yankees farm-system, which Weiss oversaw, had in place a policy preventing black players from reaching the major league club, according to the book. Elston Howard, eventually the first black Yankee, was switched from an outfielder to a catcher, the position at which it would be least likely to break into the major league club, given Yogi Berra's presence.[3]

New York Mets[edit]

Weiss and Stengel would both return with the Mets. Weiss was named president and de facto general manager of the Mets in May 1961, and Stengel followed as skipper in 1962.

In Weiss' five seasons as Mets general manager, the team escaped the NL basement only in Weiss' last year. He was succeeded by former Cardinal GM Bing Devine. He was named The Sporting News' Executive of the Year in 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1960. Weiss passed on drafting Reggie Jackson in the 1966 Major League Baseball Draft, instead selecting Steve Chilcott.[4]

Later life and legacy[edit]

Weiss died in Greenwich, Connecticut, at age 77 in 1972. He was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1982.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The New York Times, Aug. 14, 1972
  2. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 2007
  3. ^ Barra, Yogi Berra Eternal Yankee, Norton, 2009, p 194.
  4. ^ Parry, Reggie Jackson The Life and Thunderous Career of Baseball's Mr. October, Harper Collins, 2010, p 24.

References[edit]

  • Barra, Allen (2009). Yogi Berra Eternal Yankee. Norton. ISBN 039-3-06-2333. 
  • Perry, Dayn (2010). Reggie Jackson The Life and Thunderous Career of Baseball's Mr. October. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-156238-9. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Larry MacPhail
New York Yankees General Manager
19471960
Succeeded by
Roy Hamey
Preceded by
Charles Hurth
New York Mets General Manager
19611966
Succeeded by
Bing Devine
Preceded by
Frenchise established
New York Mets President
19611966
Succeeded by
Bing Devine