About Joseph Edward Cronin
Joseph Edward Cronin (October 12, 1906 – September 7, 1984) was a Major League Baseball shortstop and manager.
During a 20-year playing career, he played from 1926–45 for three different teams, primarily for the Boston Red Sox. Cronin was a major league manager from 1933–47. A seven-time All-Star, Cronin was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956.
Joe Cronin was born in San Francisco, CA and attended The Sacred Heart High School.
Major League career
As a player
Baseball promoter Joe Engel, who scouted for the Senators and managed the Chattanooga Lookouts at Engel Stadium, originally signed Cronin. When Engel first spotted Cronin playing in Kansas City, "I knew I was watching a great player. I bought Cronin at a time he was hitting .221. When I told Clark Griffith what I had done, he screamed, 'You paid $7,500 for that bum? Well, you didn't buy him for me. You bought him for yourself. He's not my ballplayer – he's yours. You keep him and don't either you or Cronin show up at the ballpark.'" Cronin led the Senators to the 1933 World Series and later married Griffith's niece, Mildred Robertson.
In 1930, Cronin had a breakout year, batting .346 with 13 home runs and 126 RBI. Cronin won both the AL Writers' MVP (the forerunner of the BBWAA MVP, established in 1931) and the AL Sporting News MVP. His 1931 season was also outstanding, with him posting a .306 average, 12 home runs, and 126 RBIs.
Over his career, Cronin batted .300 or higher eight times, as well as knocking in 100 runs or more eight times. He finished with a .301 average, 170 home runs, and 1,424 RBIs.
As a manager
Cronin assumed managerial duties in 1933, a role he would continue with the Boston Red Sox, the team he was traded to prior to the 1935 season, by Senators' owner Clark Griffith. Cronin retired as a player in 1945 (though he was only a part-time player after 1941), but remained as manager of the Red Sox until 1947.
As a manager, he compiled a 1,236–1,055 record and won two American League championships (in 1933 and 1946). His 1933 Senators dropped the 1933 World Series to the New York Giants, and his 1946 Boston Red Sox lost the 1946 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
As a general manager
At the end of the 1947 season, Cronin succeeded Eddie Collins as general manager of the Red Sox and continued through mid-January 1959. The Red Sox challenged for the AL pennant in 1948–49 (finishing second by a single game both seasons) thanks to Cronin's aggressive trades. In his first off-season, he acquired shortstop Vern Stephens and pitchers Ellis Kinder and Jack Kramer from the St. Louis Browns; all played a major roles in Boston's contending 1948 season, and Kinder and Stephens were centerpieces of the Red Sox' 1949–1950 contenders as well.
But the Red Sox began a slow decline during the 1950s and did not seriously contend after 1950. Most attention has been focused on the Red Sox being the last major league team to integrate its roster (Cronin once passed on signing a young Willie Mays, never traded for an African-American player, and the Red Sox remained an all-white team throughout his GM tenure). Another factor was a large number of "bonus babies" who never panned out.
As American League president
In January 1959, Cronin was elected president of the American League, the first former player to be so elected. Cronin served as American League president until the end of 1973, when he was succeeded by Lee MacPhail.
Hall of Fame
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (with Hank Greenberg) in 1956. His jersey number 4 was formally retired by the Red Sox on May 29, 1984.
In 1999, he was named as a finalist to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Cronin died at the age of 77 on September 7, 1984, in Osterville, Massachusetts, and is buried in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in nearby Centerville.
Joe Cronin's Timeline
October 12, 1906
San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
September 7, 1984
Osterville, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA
Centerville, MA, USA