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Pioneers/Executives

Pioneer/Executive #20, Clark Griffith

Clark Griffith, OwnerThere aren’t many people to contribute to the game as much and in as varied a manner as Clark Griffith. The Old Fox began his big league pitching career in 1891 and didn’t throw his last major league pitch until 1914. All told, he pitched for the St. Louis Browns and Boston Reds of the American Association. Then he moved to the Chicago Orphans, Chicago White Sox, New York Highlanders, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Senators. While with the White Sox, he got his first managerial job. Then he led the Highlanders, Reds, and Senators when he reached those stops. His managerial career ended in Washington in 1920. But his time as an owner was just beginning. The Senators’ home park was renamed Griffith Stadium for him, and he owned the team until his death in 1955.

Results 20, Clark GriffithSeveral months ago, we discussed the idea of electing combination players. Griffith is the first one. As a player, we was outstanding. There are more than 200 players in the HoME, and Griffith is 162nd in career WAR, at least until Robinson Cano catches him. By that measure, we could put him in as a player, though we didn’t. And in the dugout, he was a standout too. He won 1491 games, which is good for 22nd all-time, at least until Mike Scioscia catches him. And since there are 22 managers in the HoME, he’s a reasonable candidate in that regard as well. His Senators won the 1924 World Series and went two other times, but his teams were more often in the second division than the first. Even so, the one title and the 36 years help to contribute to his legacy.

And now Clark Griffith is the 20th man inducted into the Pioneer/Executive wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Miller

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Discussion

6 thoughts on “Pioneer/Executive #20, Clark Griffith

  1. “Ah, yes, Washington. First in war. First in peace. And last in the American League.” Griffith was a skinflint owner, near as I can tell, who ruined the Washington DC market by fielding horrible teams year after year (remember it was the Senators who became the Minnesota Twins in the 60s).

    True, he gets some credit for populating his teams with Latino players (e.g., Camilo Pasqual, Pedro Ramos, Zoilo Versalles) out of proportion to other MLB teams of the era. But wasn’t that really driven by the fact that he could underpay the Latinos and get away with it?

    If you disqualify Jeter based on his later less-mobile years, don’t you also disqualify Griffith based on the years 1930 – 1955 when he DELIBERATELY ran the franchise into the ground?

    Gerry Monroy

    Posted by Gerry Monroy | August 26, 2016, 12:26 pm
    • Thanks for the comment, Gerry.

      Even though Griffith was far from an excellent owner, you can do only so much with a limited budget. Also, he was pretty great as a player and as a manager.

      As for Jeter, he was an exceptional hitter, so good that it’s easily enough to overcome his horrid defense. He’ll be a HoMEr as soon as he’s eligible.

      On Aug 26, 2016 10:26 AM, “the Hall of Miller and Eric” wrote:

      >

      Posted by Miller | August 26, 2016, 3:36 pm
    • I’m not sure that Griffith deliberately ran the team into the ground. Is there a source for this conjecture? After all, the team went to the World Series in 1933 and was a winning team again in the early 1940s. I’m not Mr. Moral Relativism or anything, but couldn’t we easily argue that populating a team with cheaper Latino talent is simply Moneyball 1950s style?

      As for Jeter, we didn’t disqualify him for anything. And his later less-mobile years is essentially his entire career. He only had four full seasons of play where he was better than a -10 SS according to BBREF, and in only one of two seasons was he above average: once at 24 and once at 35. We aren’t cherrypicking. 😉

      Posted by eric | August 27, 2016, 11:37 am
      • Eric, I assume you know that I didn’t make up the aphorism I began my comment with. It was a running joke for most of the years of the Griffith regime.

        Gerry

        Posted by Gerry Monroy | August 28, 2016, 2:30 pm
      • First in war. First in peace. Last the American League!

        Posted by eric | August 29, 2016, 10:26 am

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