Perhaps you’ve heard the claim that the average American will have seven careers in his or her lifetime. I know I have. And in 2010, a Wall Street Journal article debunked that myth. It’s easy enough to do so too since the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t even track lifetime careers.
Even if seven isn’t the average, I suspect there are plenty of people who are career jumpers. One of them, at least to a degree, is this week’s twelfth entry into the Pioneer and Executive wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric, Ed Barrow. Barrow was a concessionaire (1), a minor league founder (2), a movie theater owner (3), and a minor league owner (4), and a league president (5) as a younger man. Oh, and somewhere along the way he signed Honus Wagner to his first professional contract. In 1903 he became a rather unsuccessful manager of the Detroit Tigers (6). Overall, Barrow was ten games under .500 in his five seasons with the Tigers and later the Red Sox.
While managing didn’t go so well overall for Barrow, for 86 years, from 1918 until 2004, he was the last man to lead the Red Sox to a World Series title. But make no mistake Sox fans, like Babe Ruth, Barrow belongs to the Yankees. And it was with the Yankees he had career number seven. It’s that career for which he earned his Hall of Fame plaque and his HoME enshrinement.
From 1921-1939, Barrow was the New York Yankee business manager, essentially the general manager. And from 1939-1945, he was Yankee President. Unlike with most teams, it was Barrow, not the manager on the field who built the Yankee roster. But he didn’t strong-arm Huggins; he gave the Yankee skipper great freedom on the field while considering it his job to get the manager great players.
He brought on another great Yankee executive, George Weiss, and he hired Paul Krichell, one of the most well-known scouts the game has seen. He traded for some great players, and he began to develop his own too. Overall, in his 25 years with the Yankees, New York went to fourteen World Series, winning ten of them. It’s that record of greatness, in what might have been career number seven, that puts Barrow in the company of Jacob Ruppert, Miller Huggins, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Red Ruffing, Bill Dickey, Joe Gordon, and others as members of the first Yankee dynasty in the Hall of Miller and Eric.
We’re one week away from inductee #13, and we’ve seen two Yankees in a row go in. Will we have a third next week? Please check back then.