A Baker’s Dozen Things You Should Know About Bucky Harris

Bucky Harris

Bucky Harris

1 Stanley Harris was born in 1896 in Port Jervis, New York and grew up in Pittstown, Pennsylvania.

2. He left school early to work in a coal mine.

3. He played both basketball and baseball when not working and came to the attention of Hughie Jennings, Tiger manager and Pittstown native. He was signed to his first contract at age 19.

4. He spent 1916 through 1919 in the minors playing primarily with the International League’s Buffalo Bisons.

5. He was signed by Washington in 1920, became the Senators regular second baseman in 1921.

6. He became player-manager of the Washington Senators in 1924 at age 27. At the time he was the youngest player-manager in American League history. He’s still the second youngest behind Lou Boudreau.

7. His 1924 and 1925 Senators won the American League pennant and the 1924 version won the World Series.

8. In 1929 he was traded to the Tigers where he both played and managed. He last played a game in 1931, but managed Detroit through 1933. He also managed Boston, the Senators (for the second time), and the Phillies between 1934 and 1943.

9. He was fired from Philly in 1943 and spent the next three years as manager and general manager of the Buffalo Bisons. During this period he was one of several witnesses to appear before Judge Landis concerning the Phillies’ owners gambling on baeball. The upshot was the banning of Phils owner William Cox from baseball.

10. He was hired to manage the New York Yankees in 1947 and won the World Series that season. In 1948 he finished third (two games back and with 94 wins) and was fired.

11. Harris managed minor league San Diego in 1949, then completed his managerial career by managing Washington for a third time and Detroit for a second stint.

12. He worked in the Red Sox front office from 1957 through 1960. In 1959 he became general manager and was instrumental in bringing Pumpsie Green to Boston thus integrating the last Major League team. There is some dispute about whether Harris was committed to integration or simply thought the team would be better with Green on the roster.

13. He served as a scout (White Sox) and a special assistant (Senators–now the Rangers) until his retirement in 1971. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975 and died in 1977.

Harris grave from Find a Grave

Harris grave from Find a Grave

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8 Responses to “A Baker’s Dozen Things You Should Know About Bucky Harris”

  1. The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    “There is some dispute about whether Harris was committed to integration or simply thought the team would be better with Green on the roster.” I think that was the argument for integration on many teams, right? . … I think that was Branch Rickey’s argument, too. Bill Veeck was interesting because he claimed in his book that he was ready to buy the Phillies in the 1940s and fill it with players from the Negro league as a means of forcing integration. But, today, historians say that wasn’t true. Still, it sort of sounds Veeckian if you ask me.

    I love your Baker’s Dozen posts … well, I love all your posts, because I always learn something. 🙂

    • wkkortas Says:

      I’m not sure (and I suspect that you agree) that we should not quibble too much about the purity of motivation for Rickey, Veeck, Harris, et al. The fact is they brought Robinson, Doby, and Green onto their respective clubs, and deserve credit for same.

      • The Baseball Bloggess Says:

        I don’t think we can truly know one’s motivation … and often things like this are a perfect storm of many reasons.

        Yes, you’re right that the outcome is more important than the reasoning. But, I’m a big fan of Effa Manley, who argued that the Negro league teams were due compensation for the players signed by the big league clubs and fought the idea that white owners were simply being altruistic in their decisions. Business is business, she said, and Veeck ultimately paid her and her Eagles $15,000 or so for the right to sign Doby. (The KC Monarchs got $0 when the Dodgers signed Robinson.)

  2. glen715 Says:

    Interesting stuff about Bucky Harris. Thanks.

    As a former resident of Pittston, PA, I suspect that you might mean Pittston. As far as I know, there’s no such place as Pittstown, and, being that he was an aquaintance of Hughie Jennings, who has a park there that’s named after him (if I remember right) and I also know that Jennings is from Pittston, that you might mean Pittston. It said nothing about Pittston on Baseball Reference, only where he was born and where he died, which, as you said, was in Port Jervis, New York and he died in Bethesda, Marlyland, but it also says that he was buried in German Protestant Cemetary in Hughestown, PA, then it’s almost a sure thing that he’s from Pittston, because Hughestown is a boro right near Pittston, just as sure as good ol’ Tommy Tighe helped me with a license plate complication back in 1985! (Tommy was a state representative from our district, and his office was in Hughestown. A real nice guy, too.)

    Glen

  3. sportsphd Says:

    Harris is an exceptionally odd Hall of Famer. His career as a player is mediocre. It looks a lot like a player like Tom Herr or maybe Mickey Morandini. As a manager, he manages forever, 29 total years, but his teams finish in the first division a grand total of 9 times, less than a third of his years. They win twice, but it is notable that the Yankees win 5 straight Series after firing him. The Tigers also go to the World Series in consecutive years, winning once, after they fire him the first time. Not the worst Hall of Famer, just kind of an odd resume.

  4. Precious Sanders Says:

    Anytime I hear about one of these old time players who escaped the coal mines through baseball, I wonder about their breathing. Did it affect their times down the first baseline? I don’t know if there’s an answer to this out there, but I am curious.

  5. Steve Myers Says:

    From quitting school to working in a coal mine to getting noticed by Hughie Jennings to…… I guess quitting the coal mines.?!! That musta been like winning the lottery.

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