A Dozen Things You Should Know About Miller Huggins

Miller Huggins

Miller Huggins

1. Miller Huggins was born in Cincinnati in 1878. He took to baseball very early and while still young played under the name “Procter.” His father disapproved of baseball as a frivolous activity.

2. He played semi-pro ball until 1900, playing for a number of teams including one owned by the Fleischmann’s Yeast Company of Cincinnati.

3. In 1900 he began playing professional baseball in St. Paul. He remained there through 1903 playing middle infield. During the offseason he used his time and baseball salary to obtain a law degree from the University of Cincinnati (class of 1902)

4. In 1904 he began his Major League Baseball career with the National League Cincinnati Reds. While with the Reds he led the NL in walks twice and in stolen bases once.

5. After a down year in 1909 (he was hurt), he was traded to St. Louis (the Cardinals, not the Browns) where he again won two bases on balls titles, including a career high 116 in 1910.

6. In 1913 he became player-manager for the Cards. His teams finished as low as eighth (last) and as high as third. While St. Louis manager he convinced the Cardinals to sign Rogers Hornsby to a contract.

7. His last year as a player-manager was 1916. In 1917 he served strictly as manager of the Cardinals and in 1918 he was hired by the New York Yankees as manager. He remained there the rest of his life.

8. He was one of the people who urged the Yankees to buy Babe Ruth from Boston in 1920 (club business manager Ed Barrow was another). At the end of the season Huggins had a nervous breakdown (how much Ruth had to do with that is debated) but was back in decent health in 1921 before suffering another setback with blood poisoning.

9. In 1923 he led the New York Yankees to their first ever World’s Championship by defeating the NL’s New York Giants. He would win championships again in 1927 and 1928 and an American League pennant in 1926.

10. In 1925 he installed Lou Gehrig as his primary first baseman and fined Ruth $5000 for his various antics. The joint moves are frequently credited with making Ruth a team player (although Ruth’s wife Claire is also given credit for that) and turning the Yankees into the juggernaut of the next three seasons.

11. Never in good health, Huggins picked up an infection in 1929. Late in the season he was relieved on managerial duties so that he could work on his health. He died in September.

12. In 1964 he was elected to the Hall of Fame. In 1932 he received the first monument erected in center field at Yankee Stadium. It became the first memorial in what became Monument Park. When the new Yankee Stadium was build, the Huggins memorial was moved to the new stadium.

Huggins Monument

Huggins Monument

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4 Responses to “A Dozen Things You Should Know About Miller Huggins”

  1. glen715 Says:

    Miller Huggins…… “The Mighty Mite”.

  2. Gary Trujillo Says:

    One thing I admire about the early ballplayers is their determination to be “frivolous” in an age that had barely tasted the industrial revolution–where “hard work” was seen as the ultimate make-up of a man. Sure, the players of modern day are MUCH better players and athletes; but for some reason it seems important to me that they love the game as much as I do….and sometimes I’m not so sure.

  3. The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    “His father disapproved of baseball as a frivolous activity.” Well, he’s sort of right about the frivolous part. 🙂

    I often realize how little I know about so many important baseball people when I read your “dozen” posts. Law degree? So many illnesses? Nervous breakdown? I don’t think I knew any of that.

    Thanks! 🙂

  4. Precious Sanders Says:

    I’m always impressed by players who earn advanced degrees. You know that’s not always easy given their schedules, even if you do most of the work in the off season.

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