Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#391 Mel McGaha

#391 Mel McGaha
It must be hard to look pleasant in that garish gold and kelly green uniform, especially standing in front of that dingy-looking concrete and painted brick dugout. But if you're a young manager who never even played in the big leagues, I suppose you would just be happy to be there.

Fun facts about Mel McGaha:

-Born in Bastrop, LA, Mel attended the University of Arkansas and played one year in the NBA for the New York Knicks (1948-1949), scoring 3.5 points per game.

-He signed with the Cardinals in 1948 and jumped from C-level ball all the way to AA in his first season, hitting .359.

-After hitting .290 at AAA Columbus in 1949, Mel couldn't maintain his performance and never made it to the majors.

-Played several positions in the minors, including pitcher! He threw 23 innings, allowing 13 earned runs and winning one game.

-Became a player-manager at age 27, and grabbed attention by winning 100 games and the International League pennant with the AAA Toronto Maple Leafs in 1960.

-In 1961, the Indians promoted McGaha from AAA to the major league coaching staff, and the following year tabbed him to replace Jimmy Dykes as manager. Mel was just 35 at the time.

-The quick-trigger Tribe fired Mel with two games remaining in his first season at the helm, with the club in sixth place at 78-82.

-After a season and a half on Kansas City's coaching staff, McGaha replaced Ed Lopat as manager of the Athletics in June 1964. The team went 40-70 under him, and finished dead last in the American League.

-After a 5-21 start in 1965, Mel was fired and succeeded by Haywood Sullivan. His final mark as a big league manager was 123-173 (.416). He would go on to manage in the minors (1966-1967) and coach in the majors (1968-1970) for the Astros.

-He died in Tulsa, OK, at age 75 in 2002.
#391 Mel McGaha (back)

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