Jimmy Dykes averaged 125 games in 13 full seasons with the Athletics, but only once played the same position all year – second base in 1921. He had big, strong wrists from working as a pipefitter, and reputedly threw harder than any other non-pitcher in the game. He did everything but pitch and catch, prompting Connie Mack to call him his most valuable player. “Having one Dykes is like having five or six players and only one to feed, clothe, and pay,” said Mack in 1929.
A Philadelphia native, Dykes was bought by the Athletics to take over second base in 1918 when regular Maury Shannon was drafted. Dykes played the season out before he too went into the army. Heavy-chested, heavy-legged, and wide in the rear, he returned in the spring of 1919 overweight and out of shape. He was sent down to play 2B with first baseman Ivy Griffin and shortstop Chick Galloway. In the fall they all joined the A’s to stay.
In 1924, Dykes was given a Flint sedan for being named team MVP. He topped the .300 mark five times between ’24 and 1930, and played third base in the 1929-31 World Series. In September of 1932, he was sold with Al Simmons and Mule Haas to the White Sox for $100,000. In the first All-Star Game, played at Comiskey Park in 1933, Dykes had two hits.
Dykes replaced Lew Fonseca as White Sox manager in 1934 and stayed until early in 1946. He was a player-manager until 1939. A chirping, joshing, noisy character and an accomplished bench jockey, he kept his calm in arguing with umpires as a player, but as a manager was frequently fined, and sometimes suspended, for letting loose volleys of strong language.
Dykes joined the Athletics as a coach in 1949, and was Mack’s choice to manage the club in 1951. After three poor finishes, he took over the Orioles in 1954, their first year in Baltimore after moving from St. Louis. He coached for the Reds, leading them for part of 1958, and managed the Tigers until August of 1960, when he’Sh)”@@was sent to the Indians for Joe Gordon in a rare trade of managers. He also coached the Braves and Kansas City A’s. Gene Mauch broke Dykes’s record of managing 21 years without winning a pennant. Dykes’s highest finish was third place.