|Birth Day:||November 18, 1863|
|Death Date:||Oct 31, 1936 (age 72)|
|Birth Place:||Youngstown, United States|
As per our current Database, Deacon McGuire died on Oct 31, 1936 (age 72).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He first played professionally for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association.
McGuire was born in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1863. He moved as a boy to Cleveland, learned to play baseball "on the lots" of that city, and at age 18 was playing for the "Woodlands" team. As a young man, he moved to Albion, Michigan, where he worked as an apprentice in an iron foundry in Albion and played baseball on the weekend.
McGuire first gained note playing baseball for a team in Hastings, Michigan, where he was paired with pitcher Lady Baldwin. McGuire was reputed to be "the only catcher within a 50-mile radius who could handle" the left-handed Baldwin and his "incendiary fastball and sinuous curve, a so-called 'snakeball.'" At age 19, McGuire began his professional baseball career in 1883 with the Terre Haute, Indiana, club.
McGuire made his major league debut in June 1884 with the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association. He hit .185 in 151 at bats and appeared in 45 games. At Toledo, he shared the catching responsibilities with Moses Fleetwood Walker, the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. McGuire and Walker each caught 41 games for the Blue Stockings. The Blue Stockings finished in eighth place (out of 13 teams) with a 46–58 record and folded after the 1884 season.
McGuire claimed he came up with the idea when he was catching for pitcher Hank O'Day at Toledo in 1884. McGuire said that O'Day "threw the heaviest and hardest ball I ever caught", and that O'Day's pitches "came like a shell from a cannon." McGuire recalled: "The reinforced full-fingered catcher's glove had just come into use the year before. One day on my way to that old Toledo park on Monroe Street, I passed a butcher pounding round steak. It gave me an idea, and I went in and bought a lot of it. I put a piece of it in my glove at the start of every inning, and Hank's pitches beat that steak into a pulp." McGuire's wife recalled her husband using "a piece of beefsteak" and noted: "At game's end it would be hamburger."
In November 1885, the Wolverines returned McGuire to league control, and he was then acquired by the Philadelphia Quakers in January 1886. McGuire played with the Quakers for two full seasons.
In 1886, McGuire caught 49 games for the Quakers, two more than the team's other principal catcher Jack Clements. The 1886 season was McGuire's first in the major leagues with a winning ball club, as the Quakers finished in fourth place in the National League with a 71–43 record.
In 1887, McGuire and Clements again split the catching duties for the Quakers, with 41 and 59 games, respectively. McGuire improved dramatically as a batter in 1887. After compiling a .198 batting average in 1886, McGuire hit .307 in 150 at bats. The team also improved to second place with a 75–48 record.
McGuire began the 1888 season with the Quakers. However, on June 30, 1888, he was released by the Quakers after batting .333 in 12 games and 51 at bats.
On July 2, 1888, McGuire signed as a free agent with the Detroit Wolverines. He appeared in only three games for Detroit, had no hits in 13 at bats, and was released on August 1, 1888. In late August 1888, McGuire met and signed with Tom Loftus, the manager of the Cleveland Blues of the National League. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported at the time: "He will strengthen the team a good deal, especially in batting. Jim was a little careless as to his condition early in the season and Harry Wright released him because he had three other cheaper catchers. . . . At this time he is in perfect condition and has given a fine sample of his work in the three games against Kansas City." McGuire appeared in 26 games for Cleveland at the end of the 1888 season, batting .255 in 94 at bats.
In February 1890, the Rochester Broncos of the American Association purchased McGuire from Toronto. In his return to the major leagues, McGuire appeared in 87 games for Rochester, 71 as a catcher, 15 at first base, three in the outfield and one as a pitcher. He hit .299 with a .356 on-base percentage, .408 slugging average and 53 RBIs. Prior to the 1890 season, McGuire had never earned a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) rating even as high as 1.0; his 1890 season received a 2.7 WAR rating. His defensive play also blossomed in 1890 with a 0.9 Defensive WAR rating – the only season in McGuire's long career in which he ranked among the top ten Defensive WAR ratings in his league.
In February 1891, McGuire jumped from the Rochester Broncos to the Washington Statesmen. He played the next nine seasons in a Washington uniform.
During the 1891 season, McGuire appeared in 114 games for the Statesmen, including 98 as a catcher and 18 in the outfield. He compiled a .303 batting average and, with the boost from 43 bases on balls and 10 times hit by pitch, a .382 on-base percentage. For the second consecutive season, he earned a 2.7 WAR rating – a level he would exceed only once in his career. Focusing solely on offense, his Offensive WAR rating in 1891 was 3.3 – the only time he ranked among the top ten Offensive WAR ratings in his league. Defensively, McGuire led the American Association's catchers with 130 assists, 56 errors, 204 stolen bases allowed and 129 runners caught stealing. Despite McGuire's efforts, the Statesmen finished the 1891 season in last place in the American Association with a 44–91 record.
In 1892, the Statesmen were admitted to the National League and renamed the Senators. The Senators finished the season in 10th place (out of 12 teams) with a 58–93 record. McGuire's batting average, ever erratic, dropped 71 points from the prior year to .232. However, McGuire had almost as many bases on balls (61) as hits (73), giving him a more than respectable .360 on-base percentage. Factoring in all of his contributions, McGuire received a 2.4 WAR rating for 1892.
In 1893, McGuire caught only 50 games and, despite the limited playing time, ranked second in the National League's catchers with 27 errors. The 1893 season also generated McGuire's worst WAR rating (0.4) of the decade. The Senators as a team also suffered in 1893, finishing in 12th (last) place with a 40–89 record.
McGuire was married in 1893 to May K. Huxford. They had no children.
The Senators rebounded only slightly in 1894, finishing in 11th place with a 45–87 record. McGuire, on the other hand, improved markedly. His batting average jumped 49 points to .306, and his WAR rating increased to 1.5. Defensively, he led the league with 278 stolen bases allowed and finished second among the league's catchers with 114 assists, 127 runners caught stealing, 36 errors and 27 passed balls.
McGuire had the best season of his career in 1895 as he hit .336 with 48 extra bases hits (including 10 home runs), 97 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. His WAR rating of 4.0 was, by far, the highest of his career. Defensively, he set a new major league record by catching all 133 games. The Sporting News in October 1895 called McGuire's 133 games the "record of records":
In 1896, McGuire had another good season, and the Senators again finished near the bottom of the standings, in ninth place with a 58–73 record. McGuire hit .321, earning a 2.4 WAR rating. Defensively, he led the league's catchers in multiple categories for the second consecutive year, totaling 98 games at catcher (1st), 349 putouts (1st), 87 assists (2nd), 30 errors (1st), 14 double plays (1st), 205 stolen bases allowed (1st), and 97 runners caught stealing (2nd).
The 1897 season was one of modest improvement for the Senators, finishing in sixth place with a 61–71 record. McGuire appeared in fewer games, 73 at catcher and six at first base, compiled a .343 batting average (the highest of his career), and earned a 2.5 WAR rating.
In 1898, the Senators' improvement dissipated, as they finished in 11th place with a 51–101 record. McGuire appeared in 131 games for the Senators, 93 at catcher and 37 at first base. His batting average dropped by 75 points under the prior year to .268 with a WAR rating of 1.6. McGuire was also asked to serve as player-manager during the latter half of the 1898 season, compiling a record of 19–49 in the final 68 games of the season.
By 1899, McGuire was 35 years old and the ninth oldest player in the National League. He began the year for the ninth consecutive season with an overmatched Washington team that finished in 11th place. During the first half of the season, McGuire's performance ebbed, earning a 0.8 WAR rating.
On July 14, 1899, McGuire received good news; he had been traded to the Brooklyn Superbas, a team managed by Ned Hanlon and competing for the National League pennant. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle praised the trade: "McGuire has always been looked upon as one of the best catchers in the league . . . he has no superior as a coacher of pitchers and for steady and uninterrupted work." The Washington correspondent for the Sporting Life wrote that the trade "marked the passing of the most consistent and reliable player that ever wore a Washington uniform" and called McGuire "the backbone of the Washington team."
Another account, published in Sports Illustrated 1984, stated that McGuire's Brooklyn teammates gave him the nickname in 1900 because he was "so straight-arrow" and had never been fined or ejected from a game. Multiple accounts support the widely publicized claim that he was never fined or ejected from a game and describe McGuire as "placid, easy-going, hard-working and thoroughly conscientious."
In 1900, McGuire shared catching responsibility with Duke Farrell, McGuire handling 69 games at the position and Farrell 76. McGuire compiled a .286 batting average, .348 on-base percentage and 1.2 WAR rating. His performance helped the Superbas win their second consecutive pennant with an 82–54 record. During one game in 1900, McGuire threw out seven runners attempting to steal second base, caught another "asleep on second and nipped still another slumbering off third."
In The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, sports historian Bill James wrote that McGuire was called Deacon, "because he didn't drink and carouse", like other players of his era. To the contrary, a biographical sketch of McGuire published in 1901 stated that McGuire had been a heavy drinker for much of his career, though he did later become a "teetotaler." The sketch noted:
McGuire resumed his role as the Superbas' number one catcher in 1901. He caught 81 games and compiled a .296 batting average, .342 on-base percentage and 1.6 WAR rating. The Superbas remained competitive, finishing in third place with a 79–57 record.
McGuire played before the advent of most modern protective equipment, and his fingers were reportedly "gnarled, broken, bent, split and crooked" by the end of his career. One account, published in 1901, emphasized the physical beating:
In March 1902, McGuire jumped to the still new American League, signing a two-year with the Detroit Tigers. The Brooklyn club sued McGuire for breaching his contract to play there and sought an injunction prohibiting him from playing anywhere else. The case went to trial in June 1902 in Philadelphia federal court. Brooklyn club president Charles Ebbets testified in court "to the extraordinary qualities of McGuire as a catcher." McGuire argued that his contract with Brooklyn was invalid on the ground that the "reserve clause" was a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
With the legal proceedings at an end, McGuire shared catching responsibility in Detroit with Fritz Buelow, McGuire catching 70 games in 1902 and Buelow 63. The Tigers' management valued McGuire not only for his playing ability, but also because his coaching "was figured on to aid greatly in developing the young material" that the Tigers were bringing together. At age 38, McGuire was the fourth oldest player in the American League, his batting average dropped to .227 – his lowest level since 1886 ---, and his WAR rating fell to 0.7. The Tigers finished in seventh place with a 52–83 record.
In February 1903, Ned Hanlon, manager of the Brooklyn club, claimed that Brooklyn still had the reserve rights to McGuire and challenged his contract with Detroit. Hanlon did not issue the threatened order to report for several weeks, then did so in April 1903. In the end, a deal was struck pursuant to which Brooklyn released any claim it had over McGuire.
During the 1903 season, McGuire again shared catching duties with Buelow – 69 games for McGuire and 63 for Buelow. McGuire hit .250 and earned a 1.2 WAR rating. The Tigers finished in fifth place with a 65–71 record.
In February 1904, Detroit sold McGuire to the New York Highlanders. He spent his final years as a full-time player with the Highlanders from 1904 to 1906. In 1904, at age 40, McGuire caught 97 games, his highest tally since 1899. He led the American League's catchers with 11 double plays turned and ranked second in the league with 530 putouts and 120 assists. His batting average fell to .208, but with Willie Keeler batting .343 and Jack Chesbro winning 41 games, the Highlanders compiled a 92–59 and finished one-and-a-half games behind Boston for the American League pennant.
In 1904, former teammate Sam Crane called McGuire "a wonder – physically and mentally" and "a human octopus." Crane also described McGuire's hands:
In 1905, McGuire remained New York's number one catcher, appearing in 71 games at the position. He hit .219 and earned a 0.7 WAR rating. By 1906, McGuire, at age 42, was the second oldest player in the league. In his last season as a full-time player, he caught 51 games and hit .299 in 144 at bats.
McGuire was hired by the Boston Red Sox in early June 1906 and took over as the team's manager on June 10, 1907. He compiled a 45–61 (.425) record as manager in 1907 and returned in 1908, compiling a 53–62 (.461) record. McGuire also appeared in seven games as a player for Boston, principally as a pinch-hitter, and made three hits, including a home run, and scored a run in five plate appearances. He was released by the Red Sox on August 28, 1908.
In 1907, newspapers across the country published an x-ray of McGuire's left hand (pictured, above at right), showing "36 breaks, twists or bumps all due to baseball accidents." The text accompanying the widely published photograph noted: "When the picture was developed the photographer was amazed to see the knots, like gnarled places on an old oak tree, around the joints, and numerous spots showing old breaks. In several joints the bones are flattened and pushed to the side."
On September 18, 1908, McGuire signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Naps and appeared in only one game, at first base. McGuire served principally as a scout for Cleveland in 1908 and the first half of 1909. On August 21, 1909, he was hired as Cleveland's manager, replacing Nap Lajoie. Club officials at the time opined that McGuire "possesses the necessary ginger to bring about a different style of playing." McGuire led the team to a 14–25 (.359) record during the last weeks of the 1909 season. He returned in 1910 and led the team to a 71–81 (.467) record. In 1911, McGuire compiled a 6–11 (.353) record as Cleveland's manager. On May 3, 1911, he resigned as manager and was replaced by George Stovall. In resigning his post, McGuire stated that he was disappointed in the team's showing and hoped that better results could be achieved with a new man in charge.
Although McGuire's Boston teams did not achieve a winning record, his teams lacked batting strength. He had Cy Young as a pitcher, but his 1907 team finished with the lowest batting average (.234) in the American League. McGuire was credited with having "whipped the bunch of veterans and kids from tailenders into a fighting machine, laying the foundation for the whirlwind team" that went 88–63 in 1909.
In February 1912, McGuire was hired as a pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers. He had been expected to serve as a scout during the regular season, but was assigned in May 1912 to remain with the club as a coach throughout the season, working alongside manager Hughie Jennings. The Sporting Life wrote: "With McGuire and Jennings on the coaching lines the Tigers would be better fortified in this department than any team in the league." In May 1912, when the Detroit players refused to play in protest over the suspension of Ty Cobb for attacking a fan, the club's management was forced to come up with a substitute team for a game in Philadelphia. McGuire took to the field as one of the Tigers' replacement players. He had a hit and scored a run in his final major league game, but the Tigers lost the game by a 24–2 score.
Even before retiring from baseball, McGuire made his home in Albion, Michigan, and had developed other business interests there. By 1901, McGuire and his brother owned a "well paying wet goods emporium" and an ice business in Albion. The "wet goods emporium" appears to refer to a saloon in Albion known as "McGuire Brothers", originally located at 204 S. Superior St., which moved in 1912 to 103 West Porter Street. McGuire worked in the saloon during the off-season, and his brother (George) operated it year round. In 1915, Albion "went dry", and McGuire Brothers became a restaurant and "sample room" and eventually closed. In 1906, McGuire and his wife also purchased a flour mill on the Kalamazoo River near Albion.
The Brooklyn correspondent for The Sporting News wrote that the court's decision did not change the fact that "McGuire played the Brooklyn management a low and cowardly trick", suggested that the team sue McGuire for damages, and opined that the Brooklyn public did not care "two cents whether McGuire never comes back." In 1914, the McGuire case became a significant precedent that was relied upon by players and Federal League officials when that league sought to entice players to its ranks.
In January 1914, McGuire was assigned to coach Detroit's young pitchers during spring training with the understanding that he would then leave the club to assume "his regular duties as chief of scouts." In 1915, he returned to the Tigers as a scout. In January 1916, Detroit president Frank Navin released McGuire from the position he had held with the club as a scout and coach. McGuire stated at the time that he expected "to devote all his attention to his business In Albion, Mich." (Some accounts indicate that he continued to scout for the Tigers until 1926.)
In 1914, a man who was believed to have gone insane twice attempted to kill McGuire. The first attempt was at McGuire's cabin in Duck Lake, Michigan, using both an axe and a revolver. The second attempt was at McGuire's home in Albion, using a repeating rifle. McGuire was reported to have narrowly escaped death.
After retiring from baseball, McGuire returned to his home in Albion. He coached the Albion College baseball team in 1926 and worked as a chicken farmer. McGuire died in 1936 at age 72. The cause of death was pneumonia, that developed after he suffered a stroke at his chicken ranch in Duck Lake, Michigan. He was buried at Riverside Cemetery in Albion.
In 1936, H. G. Salsinger wrote an article that was published in The Sporting News crediting McGuire as the "first catcher to pad a glove." Salsinger wrote that McGuire "resorted to a primordial method" by stuffing his glove with a piece of raw steak to absorb the shock. Salsinger wrote that manufacturers took a hint from McGuire and began padding catcher's mitts with felt and hair. Salsinger opined that modern catchers "should erect a monument" to repay the debt owed to McGuire's innovation.
Currently, Deacon McGuire is 157 years, 8 months and 7 days old. Deacon McGuire will celebrate 158th birthday on a Thursday 18th of November 2021.
Find out about Deacon McGuire birthday activities in timeline view here.