December 26, 1926|
|Died||February 3, 2002
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Listed weight||190 lb (86 kg)|
|High school||Mabelvale (Mablevale, Arkansas)|
|NBA draft||1948 / Round: -- / Pick: --|
|Selected by the New York Knicks|
|1948–1949||New York Knicks|
|Career BAA statistics|
|Points||176 (3.5 ppg)|
|Assists||51 (1.0 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Fred Melvin McGaha (September 26, 1926 – February 3, 2002), pronounced "mc-gay-hay", was an American coach and manager in Major League Baseball as well as a professional basketball player. Born in Bastrop, Louisiana, he stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 198 pounds (90 kg). McGaha graduated from the University of Arkansas and played a season of professional basketball with the New York Knicks of the NBA.
Manager of Indians and Athletics
He signed his first baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1948. An outfielder who batted and threw right-handed, McGaha never played in the Major Leagues. But he achieved success as a minor league manager, especially in 1960 when he led the Triple-A Toronto Maple Leafs to 100 victories and the International League pennant. The following year he was promoted to a coaching post with the parent Cleveland Indians, and then became their manager at age 35 in 1962, succeeding Jimmie Dykes. McGaha was fired with two games remaining in his maiden season with Cleveland 78–82 and in sixth place in the ten-team American League.
In 1963, McGaha became a coach for the Kansas City Athletics. In June 1964, with the Athletics in last place under manager Eddie Lopat, owner Charlie Finley, known for his quick trigger finger in hiring and firing, abruptly shifted McGaha into the Kansas City front office; then, a few days later, moved him back onto the field as Lopat's successor. The A's revived somewhat, but still finished in last place. McGaha was fired by Finley in the 1965 season after a 5–21 start. He was replaced by Haywood Sullivan.
In part of three seasons as a Major League manager, McGaha posted a 123–173 record (.416). Following his big-league managing career, he worked for the Houston Astros as a minor league skipper (1966–67) and Major League coach (1968–70).
In addition to his baseball managing, McGaha also spent two years as the head men's basketball coach at Arkansas A&M College (now the University of Arkansas at Monticello), serving as the head coach in 1953-54 and 1954–55. He posted a 32–15 (.681) record during his two years as the Boll Weevils' head coach–
McGaha was a member of the 1948 Duluth Dukes and was one of the survivors of a July 24 bus crash where four players and their manager were killed in a head on accident with a truck.
He died in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at age 75.
- Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball's Super Showman, p.92, G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius. Walker Publishing Company, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8027-1745-0