Leland Stanford MacPhail Jr.
"Lee was a real gentleman, he did everything in baseball you could do. I'll tell you, he did a heck of a job running the Yankee farm system in the '50s. He was a smart man, a good baseball man... one of the best." - Yogi Berra
The member of a family of legendary baseball executives, Lee MacPhail served as General Manager of the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees and was American League President. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998.
The son of Larry MacPhail, Lee graduated from Swarthmore College and was business manager of the Reading Brooks in 1941. He then served in the military during World War II and was GM for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League. He began a long association with the Yankees in 1949, first serving as business manager, then General Manager of the Kansas City Blues. He was then Farm Director and Player Personnel Director for the club for a decade, with the team winning 9 AL pennants and 7 World Series titles during that span.
Following the 1958 season, MacPhail became GM of the Orioles, and he added the title of team president from 1960 to 1965. After leaving the club, he moved into the commissioner's office, serving as an assistant to the newly elected (and previously unconnected to baseball) William Eckert in 1966. He returned to the Yankees late that year and served as the team's General Manager through 1973. He left because he could not abide with new owner George Steinbrenner, who could not resist questioning all of the decisions his managers and front office staff made, even if his baseball acumen was pretty limited.
In 1974, MacPhail replaced Joe Cronin as American League President. During his decade-long tenure, he oversaw the addition of the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners in 1977 and ruled on George Brett's infamous "pine tar" home run off of Rich Gossage in 1983. After retiring from that post, he served as president of the Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee, serving as a representative for the owners.
"He puts on a sad face and everybody he talks to feels sorry for him and gives him a ballplayer. And if the victim doesn't come across right away, Lee does not leave until he gets what he is after, see? He is persistent. He gets his man." - Larry MacPhail, speaking about his son
"Unfortunately, a person with Dad's talent comes along only once every 50 years. I've never thought of imitating him. I inherited neither his genius nor his temper. I'm just an ordinary person." - Lee MacPhail, speaking about his father
Along with his father, MacPhail is part of the only father-son combination in the Hall of Fame. Lee's son, Andy MacPhail, was General Manager of the Minnesota Twins when they won World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, and another son (Lee III) was GM of the Reading Phillies when he was killed in a car crash in 1969. As of 2011, his grandson Lee IV was working as the Director of Professional Scouting for the Orioles.
MacPhail died in 2012, shortly after his 95th birthday. At the time of his passing, he was the oldest living Hall of Famer.
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