Deacon McGuire

From BR Bullpen


James Thomas McGuire

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Deacon McGuire.jpg

James Thomas "Deacon" McGuire (November 18, 1863 - October 31, 1936) was a catcher, manager and coach in major league baseball who spent over a quarter of a century playing professional baseball in a much-traveled career which saw him set several records for durability. His record of playing in 26 major league seasons was unmatched until 1989, and he established a major league record for career games caught which stood until 1925; his record of 1859 career assists as a catcher remains the major league record.

Born in Youngstown, OH, McGuire began his career with the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association, and after the team folded, he joined the Detroit Wolverines. In 1886, he joined the Philadelphia Quakers, where he would stay for three years, and in 1888, he briefly returned to the Wolverines before playing 26 games for the Cleveland Spiders. After serving as player-manager of the Toronto franchise in the International League in 1889, he had a one-year stint with the short-lived Rochester Broncos, then joined the Washington Senators, where he would stay for eight years until being traded to the Brooklyn Superbas during the 1899 season; in 1899 and 1900 he enjoyed perhaps his greatest public prominence as one of the two principal catchers for Brooklyn's NL champions. In 1902, he joined the Detroit Tigers of the rival American League. Brooklyn sued, claiming he as still under contract and of irreplaceable value to the team, but Judge George M. Dallas of the United States Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled against the team. Before the 1904 season, he was sold to the New York Highlanders, at age 40 catching 97 games for a team which was barely nosed out of the pennant.

Already having been a player-manager for the Senators in 1898, he became manager of the Boston Red Sox in 1907, and a had three-year term leading the Cleveland Naps beginning in 1909. His career managerial record finished at 210-287 (.423). Afterward, he became a coach with the Tigers from 1911 to 1917, and later was coach at Albion College in Michigan. His final playing appearance came in the infamous game on May 18, 1912 when the Tigers players went on strike in support of Ty Cobb and the team fielded a makeshift line-up composed of amateur players and two coaches, McGuire and Joe Sugden.

McGuire played for 11 MLB teams, the record for a position player until Matt Stairs broke out in 2010. Another record fell in 2011 when Tim Wakefield broke McGuire's 103-year-old mark as the oldest player for the Red Sox (McGuire was 44 years and 280 days old). He played for 29 different managers, which is still a record.

He regularly saw action as an umpire working a handful of games certain years between 1886, when he worked three National League games, and 1905, when he worked one game in the American League. He was never a regular umpire, however.

McGuire died in Duck Lake, Michigan at age 72.

Preceded by
Bob Unglaub
Boston Red Sox Manager
Succeeded by
Fred Lake
Preceded by
Nap Lajoie
Cleveland Naps Manager
Succeeded by
George Stovall

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1898 Washington Senators National League 21-47 -- Washington Senators replaced Tom Brown (12-26) and Jack Doyle (8-9) on June 24 /
replaced by Arthur Irwin on September 14
1907 Boston Red Sox American League 45-61 7th Boston Red Sox replaced Cy Young (3-3), George Huff (2-6) and Bob Unglaub (9-20) on June 10
1908 Boston Red Sox American League 53-62 -- Boston Red Sox replaced by Fred Lake on August 28
1909 Cleveland Naps American League 14-25 6th Cleveland Naps replaced Nap Lajoie (57-57) on August 23
1910 Cleveland Naps American League 71-81 5th Cleveland Naps
1911 Cleveland Naps American League 6-11 -- Cleveland Naps replaced by George Stovall on May 3

Records Held[edit]

  • Assists, catcher, career, 1859
  • Passed balls, career, 199
  • Managers played for, 29

Further Reading[edit]

  • Kevin W. Barwin: "Paper Tigers: How a Player Strike Put a Team of 'Misfits' on a Major League Field for a Day", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 52 Number 1 (Spring 2023), pp. 5-13.
  • James K. Flack: "Becoming a Contract Jumper: Deacon Jim McGuire's 1902 Decision", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 47, Nr. 2 (Fall 2018), pp. 112-119.

Related Sites[edit]