Kid Gleason
Gleason in 1919
Second baseman / Pitcher / Manager
Born: (1866-10-26)October 26, 1866
Camden, New Jersey
Died: January 2, 1933(1933-01-02) (aged 66)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Batted: Both
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 20, 1888, for the Philadelphia Quakers
Last MLB appearance
August 27, 1912, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.261
Home runs15
Runs batted in824
Win–loss record138–131
Earned run average3.79
Strikeouts744
Teams
As player
As manager
As coach[1]

William Jethro "Kid" Gleason (October 26, 1866 – January 2, 1933) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) player and manager. Gleason managed the Chicago White Sox from 1919 through 1923. His first season as a big league manager was notable for his team's appearance in the World Series and the ensuing Black Sox Scandal, although Gleason was not involved in the scandal. After leaving the White Sox, Gleason was on the coaching staff for the Philadelphia Athletics, until 1931.

Biography

Playing career

Gleason in 1888
Gleason in 1888

Gleason was born in Camden, New Jersey. He acquired the nickname "Kid" early in life, not only because of his short stature (growing to only 5-foot-7, 155 pounds)[2] but also because of his quite energetic, youthful nature. Gleason played two seasons in the minor leagues of northern Pennsylvania. In 1886, with Williamsport of the Pennsylvania State League, he batted .355 and stole 20 bases in 36 games.[3] Gleason debuted as a pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies on April 20, 1888, enjoying several successful seasons, especially 1890 with 38 wins, before becoming a second baseman. He was the starting second baseman for the old Baltimore Orioles in 1895. Gleason compiled a .261 career batting average. He retired as a player after the 1908 season at the age of 42, having appeared as a player in just two games for the Phillies that year. However, four years later, Gleason would make an unlikely return to the big leagues as a player, with his two at-bats in one game at second base for the White Sox in 1912 making Gleason one of only 29 MLB players to have played in four different decades.

Coaching career

Gleason had begun his coaching career in 1908 with the Phillies as a player-coach. The Phillies unconditionally released Gleason on April 12, 1910, prior to Opening Day. At the time, the Philadelphia Inquirer called Gleason "one of the most popular players who ever donned a Philadelphia uniform."[4]

Gleason would continue as a coach with the Phillies until 1911.

After his one-game cameo in 1912, Gleason would continue coaching, before becoming manager of the Chicago White Sox on December 31, 1918, following the dismissal of Pants Rowland. In his first season, the team won the pennant but lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, resulting in allegations the White Sox had been paid by gamblers to "throw" the Series. The ensuing scandal resulted in lifetime bans from baseball for eight White Sox players. Gleason, however, was not involved in the gambling, and some sources noted he was among those who alerted White Sox owner Charles Comiskey of the fix. Although he felt betrayed and disappointed by his 1919 team, he continued to manage the White Sox through the 1923 season.

After leaving in 1923, Gleason went on to coach under manager Connie Mack with the Philadelphia Athletics until retiring after the 1931 season.[2] As a coach, Gleason won two World Series championships with the Athletics, in 1929 and 1930.

Death

Gleason died due to a heart ailment in 1933, at the age of 66, in Philadelphia; his funeral was well attended, a testament to his popularity. He is buried in Philadelphia's Northwood Cemetery.

In popular culture

Gleason has been referenced in pop culture in several books, and is a prominent supporting character in Ring Lardner's 1916 novel You Know Me Al. He is portrayed by actor John Mahoney in the 1988 film Eight Men Out, based on Eliot Asinof's book of the same name.

Managerial record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Games Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CWS 1919 140 88 52 .629 1st in AL 3 5 .375 Lost World Series (CIN)
CWS 1920 154 96 58 .623 2nd in AL
CWS 1921 154 62 92 .403 7th in AL
CWS 1922 154 77 77 .500 5th in AL
CWS 1923 154 69 85 .448 7th in AL
Total 756 392 364 .519 3 5 .375

See also

References

  1. ^ "Kid Gleason". Baseball-Reference.com. BR Bullpen. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b Kid Gleason at the SABR Bio Project, by Dan Lindner, retrieved 13 December 2012
  3. ^ Kofoed, J.C. (April 19, 1916). "A Twenty-Five Year Record". Baseball Magazine (6).
  4. ^ "Who's Champion Still in Doubt". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. April 13, 1910. p. 10.