George Stallings

Stallings managed one of the most memorable pennant-winning teams of all time. His 1914 Miracle Braves were last on the Fourth of July before charging to the pennant, then swept the favored A’s in the World Series. Stallings signed his first contract as a player with Harry Wright and the Phillies in 1887 but played in only seven ML games. He was the Tigers’ first manager, but Stallings first attracted attention as a manager in 1910 when he brought the Yankees (then called Highlanders) to second place. He described his 1914 Braves team as “one .300 hitter, the worst outfield that ever flirted with sudden death, three pitchers, and a good working combination around second base.” A wealthy Georgia plantation owner, he was suave in the parlor but profane and sadistic on the bench. He had a sharp, sarcastic tongue and used it freely on his players. But, with his 1914 Braves 11-1/2 games back in last place, he began using a softer psychology,({-h)h)h)telling his players they couldn’t lose. They roared to the pennant, the only one Stallings ever won.

Stallings was extremely superstitious; scraps of paper or peanut shells around the dugout drove him to distraction. He hated bases on balls. An apocryphal story says that on his deathbed, he was asked what had caused his bad heart. Supposedly, he groaned, “Oh, those bases on balls!” and turned to the wall.