Magee was one of the great players of the dead-ball era, 1900-1919. He could hit, run, field, and throw with the best, and played intelligently and aggressively. He was critical of sloppy play and unimaginative management, and occasionally his temper got the best of him. On July 10, 1911 his one-punch knockout of umpire Bill Finneran, who had ejected Magee for arguing a called third strike, led to his suspension for the rest of the season; however, he was reinstated after five weeks.
Magee was Philadelphia’s left fielder for a decade. In his second year, 1905, he played 155 games. His 85 RBI in 1907 were the league high. In 1910 he led the NL in batting (.331), slugging average (.507), runs scored (110), and RBI (123), and stole 49 bases. Over his career he had 441 stolen bases, including 23 steals of home. On July 12, 1906, he stole second, third, and home in the ninth inning against St. Louis. During a July 20, 1912 game with the Cubs, he stole home twice. In 1914 he led the NL in hits (171), doubles (39), RBI (103), and slugging average (.509).
When Magee was not named Philadelphia’s player-manager for 1915, he asked to be traded. He was sold to the Braves, who finished second while the Phillies won their first pennant. He played center in Boston until he was waived to Cincinnati in August 1917. He led the NL in RBI a final time in the war-shortened 1918 season, and concluded his ML career by pinch hitting twice in the 1919 World Series.
Magee played in the minors from 1920 to 1926, then took up umpiring. In light of his misbehavior in 1911, he was watched closely while officiating in the NL in 1928, and he performed very well. But he contracted pneumonia and died the following March.