Larry MacPhail

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Larry MacPhail
Larry MacPhail.jpg
Born Leland Stanford MacPhail
(1890-02-03)February 3, 1890
Cass City, Michigan
Died October 1, 1975(1975-10-01) (aged 85)
Miami, Florida
Resting place
Elkland Township Cemetery, Cass City
Education Ludington High School, Staunton Military Academy, Beloit College, University of Michigan, George Washington University Law School
Occupation Lawyer, Department store executive,
Major League Baseball executive, Racehorse owner/breeder
Board member of
Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, Bowie Race Track
Spouse(s) 1) Inez Frances Thompson
2) Jean Bennett Wanamaker
Children Children with Inez:
Bill, Lee, Marian
Child with Jean:
daughter
Parents Curtis W. MacPhail

This article is about a former baseball executive. For the retired soccer player, see Larry McPhail

Leland Stanford "Larry" MacPhail, Sr. (February 3, 1890 – October 1, 1975) was an American lawyer, and an executive and innovator in Major League Baseball. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.

Biography[edit]

MacPhail's father founded State Savings Bank of Scottville, Michigan, in 1882 as well as twenty other small banks in that state. Larry MacPhail was born in Cass City on February 3, 1890. He obtained a LL.B. from the George Washington University Law School where he became friends with Branch Rickey. He worked for a time with a Chicago law firm.[1] Prior to World War I Larry MacPhail was an executive of a department store in Nashville, Tennessee, and during World War I, he served as an artillery captain in France and Belgium. He accompanied his commander, Colonel Luke Lea, on an unsanctioned mission to Amerongen in the Netherlands in January 1919 to attempt to arrest the exiled German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and bring him to the Paris Peace Conference to be tried for war crimes. MacPhail would also serve in World War II, resigning on September 23, 1942 as president of the Brooklyn Dodgers to accept a commission in the United States Army. By war's end, MacPhail held the rank of Colonel.[2]

After his discharge from military service, MacPhail opened a law office in Columbus, Ohio, where he would eventually purchase an interest in the Columbus Red Birds, a minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. That was short lived, but in 1933 he was hired by the Cincinnati Reds and became its chief executive and general manager. He went on to serve as president/general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. MacPhail's innovations include nighttime baseball, regular game televising and the flying of teams between games.

He was pivotal in the development of pioneering sportscaster Red Barber, who announced Reds and Dodgers games for MacPhail and whom he tried unsuccessfully to recruit to the Yanks when he became the Bronx team's co-owner in 1945. (Barber joined the Yankees crew in 1954, years after MacPhail sold his share in the club.)

MacPhail was well known for his highly unpredictable behavior which was fueled by bouts of heavy drinking. Leo Durocher, the Dodgers manager who had a tempestuous relationship with MacPhail, recalled, "There is a thin line between genius and insanity, and in Larry's case, it was so thin you could see him drifting back and forth."[3] MacPhail's grandson Andy added, "My grandfather was bombastic, flamboyant, a genius when sober, brilliant when he had one drink and a raving lunatic when he had too many."[4]

MacPhail's career as a major-league owner ended after the Yankees clinched the 1947 World Series, when he got into confrontations at the team's post-game celebrations at Yankee Stadium and then in Manhattan. Though he had already quit as chief executive in the Yankee locker room, books by Roger Kahn and others indicate MacPhail's behavior at the victory parties led to co-owners Dan Topping and Del Webb buying out his share of the ballclub.[5]

MacPhail was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978; his son Lee MacPhail was elected to the Hall in 1998, making them the only father and son inductees.[6] His other son Bill MacPhail was president of CBS Sports and later was President of CNN Sports, brought on by Reese Schonfeld to create the department upon the network's launch. Larry's grandson Andy MacPhail is the former general manager of the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs and the former president of baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles. A great-grandson and namesake, Lee MacPhail IV, is a scout and special assistant to the general manager for the Seattle Mariners.

Thoroughbred racing[edit]

Larry MacPhail owned a 400-acre (1.6 km2) farm near Bel Air, Maryland called Glenangus.[7] An owner/breeder of Thoroughbred racehorses, his colt General Staff won the 1952 Narragansett Special at Narragansett Park and five other stake races that year. In March 1952, MacPhail was appointed President of Bowie Race Track in Bowie, Maryland. He held the position for thirteen months.[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

Larry MacPhail Trophy[edit]

See Baseball awards#U.S. minor leagues

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
n/a
Cincinnati Reds General Manager
1933–1937
Succeeded by
Warren Giles
Preceded by
Stephen McKeever
President of the Brooklyn Dodgers
1938–1942
Succeeded by
Branch Rickey
Preceded by
Ed Barrow
New York Yankees General Manager
1945–1947
Succeeded by
George Weiss
Preceded by
Ed Barrow
New York Yankees President
1945–1947
Succeeded by
Dan Topping
Preceded by
Jacob Ruppert Estate
Owner of the New York Yankees
with Dan Topping and Del Webb 1945–1947
Succeeded by
Dan Topping and Del Webb