February 7, 1876|
|Died: March 7, 1924
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|May 15, 1901 for the Boston Beaneaters|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 30, 1914 for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Career highlights and awards|
Patrick Joseph Moran (February 7, 1876 – March 7, 1924) was an American catcher and manager in Major League Baseball. As a manager, he led two teams to their first-ever modern-era National League championships: the 1915 Philadelphia Phillies and the 1919 Cincinnati Reds. Moran's 1919 Reds also captured their first World Series championship.
A native of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Moran played 819 games over 14 National League seasons for the Boston Beaneaters (1901–1905), Chicago Cubs (1906–1909) and Phillies (1910–1914). A right-handed hitter, he batted .235 with 18 home runs. In 1903, he finished tied for second in the league in home runs with seven. After 1904 he did not appear in more than 100 games in a season. However, as a second-string catcher, Moran became a student of the game and especially of pitching. In 1913–1914, he was a player-coach and, guided by his support and counsel, Phillies right-hander Grover Cleveland Alexander developed into one of the greatest pitchers of all time.
Moran retired as a player after the 1914 season, and was immediately promoted to manager of the Phillies. The club had finished sixth in 1914 and was plagued by defections (and threatened defections) to the outlaw Federal League. Moran swung some astute trades and — led by Alexander’s 31 wins and the slugging of right fielder Gavvy Cravath — the Phils improved by 17 games and won their first NL pennant. In the 1915 World Series, they were defeated four games to one by the Boston Red Sox.
The Phillies then finished second in successive years, to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1916 and the New York Giants in 1917. With baseball disrupted by World War I (and after the trade of Alexander to the Cubs) the Phillies sank below .500 in 1918 and Moran was fired.
Moran was not unemployed for long, however. Cincinnati Reds manager Christy Mathewson, the former pitching great, had been stricken with tuberculosis from exposure to poison gas during military maneuvers. When it was apparent that Matthewson was too sick to return for the 1919 season, Moran was named his successor. The Reds had finished third, 15½ games behind, in 1918. Under Moran, they won 96 of 140 games in an abbreviated 1919 schedule to take the flag by nine games.
The 1919 World Series, won by Cincinnati five games to three, should have been Moran’s crowning accomplishment. But when it was charged that eight key members of the American League champion Chicago White Sox had conspired with gamblers to "throw" the series — the infamous Black Sox Scandal — the Reds' achievement was somehow tarnished. (The eight White Sox players were acquitted in a controversial 1920 trial but were nonetheless expelled from baseball.) In the wake of the scandal, Moran, his players and many baseball experts would furiously assert that Cincinnati would have won the series under any circumstances.
Moran remained at the helm in Cincinnati during the early 1920s. Apart from a poor 1921 campaign, the Reds fielded contending ballclubs but did not return to the World Series. The club finished second in both 1922 and 1923. While spending the winter of 1923–1924 at his Fitchburg home, Moran was taken ill. He was able to report to the Reds' training camp in Orlando, Florida, but his condition worsened and he died there at the age of 48. The cause of death was listed as Bright's Disease, a kidney ailment, but some baseball historians ascribe Moran's fatal illness to alcoholism.
Moran won 748 games and lost 586 (.561) as a major league manager over nine seasons. He won six and lost seven World Series games.