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 Joseph “Iron Man” McGinnity

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Joseph “Iron Man” McGinnity

  • Birth 20 Mar 1871 Henry County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 14 Nov 1929 Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
  • Burial McAlester, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Plot Masonic Section, Block 161, Lot 12
  • Memorial ID 3622

Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Player. Few Hall of Fame pitchers are as forgotten today as Joe McGinnity, nicknamed "Iron Man" because he worked during the off-season in a foundry but whose pitching exploits branded him as the endurance king of baseball. His career was so remarkable that it's hard to know where to begin, but try this: he earned his Hall of Fame credentials in only 10 years in the major leagues, then nearly matched those statistics in a minor league career that lasted until he was 54 years old. Born in 1871, Joseph Jerome McGinnity spent two unsuccessful years in the minors before getting married and quitting in 1894 to run a saloon. During the next three years, he worked and pitched sandlot ball, perfecting a slow, underhand delivery of a variety of curves (he dubbed his favorite curve "Old Sal") with which he befuddled hitters for nearly three decades. In 1898, he returned to professional ball, and reached the major leagues in 1899 with Baltimore, leading the National League with 49 games and 28 wins. At age 27, his whirlwind run through the majors had begun. During his first eight years in the majors, McGinnity averaged 370 innings pitched and 27 victories per season, completing 87% of his starts. His career peaked in 1903-04, when he won a combined 66 games, a total surpassed only by Walter Johnson (68 in 1912-13) since 1900. He gained national attention in 1903 by pitching and winning both games of a doubleheader three times - in one month! That amazing stretch began on August 1 with 4-1 and 5-2 wins over Boston, continued on August 8 when he defeated Brooklyn by scores of 6-1 and 4-3, and concluded on August 31 against Philadelphia, 4-1 and 9-2. McGinnity, who had teamed with Christy Mathewson since 1902 to form the unsurpassed one-two punch on John McGraw's New York Giants, slowed down a bit in 1907 when he failed to win 20 games for the first time in the majors, going 18-18. In 1908 he pitched a mere 186 innings and won only 11 games, prompting McGraw to decide he was washed up. McGraw released him before the 1909 season, whereupon McGinnity bought a partial interest in the Newark team of the International League, launching the second amazing phase of his unique career. McGraw may have thought there was nothing useful left in McGinnity's arm, but the "Iron Man" proved otherwise. In 1909-10, he won 59 games for Newark, topping 400 innings pitched in both seasons. He moved to Tacoma in 1913, pitching 436 innings and winning 22 games. He won 20 or more games six times in the minors between 1909-16, and in 1917, pitching for Butte in the Northwestern League, he once again pitched and won both games of a doubleheader, defeating Vancouver 3-1 and 6-2. He was 45 years old at the time. Wherever he went in the minors, McGinnity owned a piece of the team and did the managing, so he was able to pitch whenever he felt the urge. He felt the urge often. After sitting out the seasons of 1919-21, he came back again to run the Dubuque team in the Mississippi Valley League, where he pitched 206 innings in 1923 at age 51. When he finally called it a career after six wins for Dubuque in 1925, he had totaled 235 wins in the minors in addition to his 246 in the majors.

Bio by: Charles W Brown

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 30 Sep 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3622
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Joseph “Iron Man” McGinnity (20 Mar 1871–14 Nov 1929), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3622, citing Oak Hill Memorial Park, McAlester, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .