Bill McKechnie

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William Boyd McKechnie

  • Bats Both, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 160 lb.

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1962

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Biographical Information[edit]

McKechnie and Dodgers' manager Max Carey in 1932 (Brooklyn politician in the middle)

"He knew baseball - the complete book. He knew the percentages and he applied them to the ability of his players with amazing accuracy. I played for other good men, but McKechnie was in a class by himself." - Paul Waner

Bill McKechnie spent eleven years in the majors as a player, primarily as a backup infielder. He then went on to lead three different clubs to the National League pennant as a manager to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame. His son Bill McKechnie, Jr. was a minor league executive.

McKechnie grew up outside Pittsburgh in a religious family and earned a reputation early in life as a devout and solemn man. He began his pro baseball career in 1906 and spent the next four years in the minors, aside from a brief cup of coffee with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1907. From 1910 to 1912, he was a utility man for the Pirates, backing up Honus Wagner, among others.

Late in the 1912 season, McKechnie was sent down to the minor league St. Paul Saints, and he split the following summer between the Saints, the Boston Braves, and the New York Yankees. He jumped to the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the Federal League in 1914 and hit .304 as the club's regular third baseman. The team moved and became the Newark Pepper in 1915, and he replaced Bill Phillips as skipper during the season. However, the team and the league folded after the year.

McKechnie joined the New York Giants in 1916 and was traded in midseason to the Cincinnati Reds as part the deal that brought Christy Mathewson to the Reds. He was eventually sold back to the Pirates prior to the 1918 campaign and spent the year as a starter at third (largely due to depleted rosters caused by World War I). After sitting out 1919, he returned to the Pirates as a backup in 1920 and ended his playing career with the Minneapolis Millers in 1921.

After beginning 1922 as a Pirates coach, McKechnie replaced George Gibson as the team's manager in midseason, and the team improved from fifth place to a tie for third. The club got better in each of the next few seasons before capturing the National League pennant and the World Series crown in 1925. However, after the Pirates fell to third place in 1926, McKechnie was fired.

McKechnie joined the St. Louis Cardinals as a coach in 1927 and after a year replaced Bob O'Farrell as skipper. With players such as Frankie Frisch, Jim Bottomley and Rabbit Maranville in the lineup, he led the team to the 1928 World Series, where they were swept by the New York Yankees. As a result, owner Sam Breadon demoted him to the minor league Rochester Red Wings in 1929 before returning him to the helm of the Cardinals later in the season.

Prior to the 1930 season, McKechnie resigned as Cardinals manager and moved on to the Boston Braves. He led Boston for eight years and guided the club to fourth-place finishes in 1933 and 1934, the team's best performances from 1921 to 1946. His 1935 season was the worst in Braves history, with the fewest wins and most lost games with a dismal record of 38-115. His 1935 team scored 575 runs (3.75) and giving up 852 (5.69). This team had Wally Berger as its lone offensive weapon, leading the team with 34 home runs and 130 RBIs and a .295 batting average. Babe Ruth was on this team and was second in homers with 6 with only 92 plate appearances. Also on the team was future Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville who was 43 and had come back for his last year in baseball.

McKechnie took over as skipper of the Cincinnati Reds in 1938, and under his leadership, the club improved from last place to fourth. In 1939, they won the NL pennant, and the next summer, they defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. He led the team until 1946, when he was fired late in the season with the club in sixth place.

From 1947 to 1949, McKechnie was a Cleveland Indians coach under Lou Boudreau. Later, in 1952 and 1953, he was a member of Boudreau's staff with the Boston Red Sox.

McKechnie was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962 and died of pneumonia three years later.

In 1928 he ran for tax collector in his hometown of Wilkinburg, PA but lost in the Republican primary.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Preceded by
George Gibson
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
Succeeded by
Donie Bush
Preceded by
Bob O'Farrell
St. Louis Cardinals Manager
Succeeded by
Billy Southworth
Preceded by
Billy Southworth
St. Louis Cardinals Manager
Succeeded by
Gabby Street
Preceded by
Judge Fuchs
Boston Braves/Bees Manager
Succeeded by
Casey Stengel
Preceded by
Bobby Wallace
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Hank Gowdy

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1915 Newark Pepper Federal League 54-45 5th Newark Pepper replaced Bill Phillips (26-27) on June 19
1922 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 53-36 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates replaced George Gibson (32-33) on July 1
1923 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 87-67 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates
1924 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 90-63 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates
1925 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 95-58 1st Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Champs
1926 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 84-69 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates
1928 St. Louis Cardinals National League 95-59 1st St. Louis Cardinals Lost World Series
1929 Rochester Red Wings International League 60-38 -- St. Louis Cardinals -- replaced by Billy Southworth on July 23
St. Louis Cardinals National League 34-29 4th St. Louis Cardinals replaced Billy Southworth (43-45) and
Gabby Street (1-0) on July 24
1930 Boston Braves National League 70-84 6th Boston Braves
1931 Boston Braves National League 64-90 7th Boston Braves
1932 Boston Braves National League 77-77 5th Boston Braves
1933 Boston Braves National League 83-71 4th Boston Braves
1934 Boston Braves National League 78-73 4th Boston Braves
1935 Boston Braves National League 39-115 8th Boston Braves
1936 Boston Bees National League 71-83 6th Boston Bees
1937 Boston Bees National League 79-73 5th Boston Bees
1938 Cincinnati Reds National League 82-68 4th Cincinnati Reds
1939 Cincinnati Reds National League 97-57 1st Cincinnati Reds Lost World Series
1940 Cincinnati Reds National League 100-53 1st Cincinnati Reds World Series Champs
1941 Cincinnati Reds National League 88-66 3rd Cincinnati Reds
1942 Cincinnati Reds National League 76-76 4th Cincinnati Reds
1943 Cincinnati Reds National League 87-67 2nd Cincinnati Reds
1944 Cincinnati Reds National League 89-65 3rd Cincinnati Reds
1945 Cincinnati Reds National League 61-93 7th Cincinnati Reds
1946 Cincinnati Reds National League 64-86 -- Cincinnati Reds replaced by Hank Gowdy on September 27

Further Reading[edit]

  • Carol McKechnie Montgomery and Jerry Hanks: The Deacon's Daughter, Infinity Publishing, Concord, MA, 2011. ISBN 0741468115
  • Mitchell Conrad Stinson: Deacon Bill McKechnie, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7864-6066-3

Related Sites[edit]