Harry Craft

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Harry Francis Craft

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Biographical Information[edit]

“When Craft took over the center field job in 1938, he showed all sorts of promise. His fielding was the best that pasture had seen since Edd Roush departed, and it was felt that if only his stick work would improve he would surely reach stardom. Instead, Harry’s work at bat seemed to grow less and less impressive.” - Lee Allen, 1948

Harry Craft played center field with pretty good range for six years with the Cincinnati Reds. He was later the first manager in the history of the Houston Astros franchise, when they were known as the Houston Colt .45s.

Following a ten-game look with the Reds in 1937, Harry's best year was his official rookie season in 1938. Patrolling center field at Crosley Field, Harry batted .270/.305/.418 with 15 home runs and 83 RBI, the latter two figures both in the top 10 of National League leaderboards. On June 15th, he caught the final out of Johnny Vander Meer's second consecutive no-hitter ([1]). Craft was part of the pennant-winning Reds teams of 1939 and 1940, hitting for the cycle while scoring 4 runs and driving in 6 in a 5-for-5 day on June 8, 1940 part of a 23-2 stomping of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He suffered from diminishing returns following his top notch 1938 season, seeing his last action in the bigs in 1942. He went on to play for the Kansas City Blues from 1942 to 1948, missing the entirety of the 1944 and 1945 seasons due to military service.

After his playing career, Harry became a manager in the New York Yankees system, managing Mickey Mantle in his first years of pro ball. He managed the Independence Yankees (1949), Joplin Miners (1950), Beaumont Roughnecks (1951-1952), and Kansas City Blues (1953-1954). Craft joined the new Kansas City Athletics coaching staff in 1955 and replaced Lou Boudreau as the team's manager in 1957. He remained with the team through the 1959 season and became a Chicago Cubs coach in 1960. He managed the Cubs for part of 1961 as a member of the club's infamous College of Coaches. He left the Cubs the next season to manage the expansion Houston Colt .45s, getting fired near the end of the 1964 season. He remained in the game as a scout for the Yankees (1967-1972), Houston Astros (1975-1977), Yankees again (1978-1982), and the San Francisco Giants (1983-1991), as well as a farm system official, retiring in 1991.

Notable Achievement[edit]

Preceded by
Lou Boudreau
Kansas City Athletics Manager
Succeeded by
Bob Elliott
Preceded by
Houston Colt .45s Manager
Succeeded by
Lum Harris

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1949 Independence Yankees Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League 71-53 1st New York Yankees League Champs
1950 Joplin Miners Western Association 90-46 1st New York Yankees Lost in 1st round
1951 Beaumont Roughnecks Texas League 84-77 4th (t) New York Yankees Lost in 1st round
1952 Beaumont Roughnecks Texas League 77-84 7th New York Yankees
1953 Kansas City Blues American Association 88-66 2nd New York Yankees League Champs
1954 Kansas City Blues American Association 74-80 6th New York Yankees
1957 Kansas City Athletics American League 23-37 7th Kansas City Athletics replaced Lou Boudreau (36-67) on August 6
1958 Kansas City Athletics American League 73-81 7th Kansas City Athletics
1959 Kansas City Athletics American League 66-88 7th Kansas City Athletics
1961 Chicago Cubs National League 7-9 -- Chicago Cubs Part of College of Coaches
San Antonio Missions Texas League 13-6 -- Chicago Cubs -- replaced Ripper Collins (14-15) on May 12 /
replaced by Bobby Adams (15-17) on May 31
Houston Buffs American Association 4th Chicago Cubs Lost League Finals replaced Lou Klein on July 16
1962 Houston Colt .45s National League 64-96 8th Houston Colt .45s
1963 Houston Colt .45s National League 66-96 9th Houston Colt .45s
1964 Houston Colt .45s National League 61-88 -- Houston Colt .45s -- replaced by Lum Harris (5-8) on September 19

Related Sites[edit]