McGRAW, JOHN J[oseph] (1873-1934)

John McGraw managed the NEW YORK GIANTS in their heyday, from 1902 to 1932, winning ten pennants and finishing second eleven times. A Hall-of-Fame third-baseman with a .334 lifetime batting average, McGraw sparked Baltimore to three pennants in the 1890s before achieving legendary status as a manager. In both roles he was feared, hated, and respected for his cunning and pugnacious brand of baseball, which stressed the bunt, the steal, the hit-and-run play, and sheer intimidation. Nicknamed “Little Napoleon” and “Black John,” the diminutive McGraw was tyrannical and abusive, taunting players, berating umpires, inciting crowds. Off the field he consorted with showmen and gamblers, and attended college; on the field he combined athletic and tactical prowess with psychological warfare.


Alexander, Charles C., John McGraw. Viking, 1988.
McGraw, John J. My Thirty Years in Baseball. (1923). Arno Press, 1974.
Thorn, J., and Palmer, P., Total Baseball. Warner Books, 1989.
Seymour, H. Baseball: The Early Years. Oxford U. Press, 1960.
Seymour, H. Baseball: The Golden Age. Oxford U. Press, 1971.
Cleveland, H., The Great Baseball Managers. Crowell, 1950.


NOTE: Probably the most famous quotation about McGraw was the statement by Connie Mack, the other legendary manager of the era (of the Philadelphia Athletics), at a 1927 banquet in McGraw’s honor: “There has been only one manager –and his name is McGraw.” [quoted in Alexander, p.3, and in McGraw, Mrs. John J. (Blanche), The Real McGraw, ed. Arthur Mann (NY: David McKay Co., 1952), p. 310.]