Friday, October 12, 2012

Remembering The Great Joe Cronin

Hall Of Famer Joe Cronin
When fans look up to the right-field facade at Fenway Park and see the number "4" (alongside "1" "6" "8" "9" "14" "27" and "42"), some of the younger ones might not have a clear understanding of who that player was. And that's a real shame. Because the Hall Of Famer who wore that number for the Red Sox was one of the most complete players and player-managers in baseball history: Joe Cronin. Today marks the 106th year since Joe Cronin's birth in that hotbed of Hall of Famers—San Francisco, California. After starring for nine seasons with the Pirates and Senators, Cronin came to Boston in a trade that—even for 1934—was a major coup for the Red Sox. Boston sent $225,000 and the forgettable Lyn Lary (a .241 hitter in his only year in Boston) to the Nation's Capital for a player who then delivered 11 brilliant seasons for the Red Sox—hitting .300 with 119 HRs, and an on-base percentage of .394. And, by the way, he was the team's player-manager all eleven seasons in Boston. He then went on to manage the pennant-winning 1946 squad that came so close to ending 'the curse'—when it was just a 26-year curse. And when you hear about Bryce Harper's Washington team being in the play-offs for the first time in 79 years, be aware that the player-manager on that 1933 Senators World Series team was none other than Joe Cronin. After managing, Cronin was the Red Sox GM for over a decade and then became American League President. So, the next time you look up at that number "4", remember the amazing career of the great Joe Cronin.