Clark Griffith

From BR Bullpen


Clark Calvin Griffith
(The Old Fox)

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1946

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Clark Griffith.jpg

"He was the greatest humanitarian who ever lived and the greastest pillar of honesty baseball ever had. I never played for a better man, on the field or off." - Bobo Newsom

After a successful career as a pitcher and manager, Hall of Famer Clark Griffith was the longtime owner of the Washington Senators. Born in a log cabin in Missouri, Griffith began his big league career with the 1891 St. Louis Browns. He joined the Chicago Colts in 1893 and won at least 20 games for them for six straight seasons, from 1894 to 1899. He jumped to the Chicago White Sox of the new American League in 1901 and posted a 24-7 record while managing the club to the pennant. He moved on to the New York Highlanders in 1903 and later also played for and managed the Cincinnati Reds.

He umpired a total of five major league games, starting in the American Association in 1891 and ending in the AL in 1903.

Griffith joined the Senators as skipper in 1912 and purchased ten percent ownership in the club. In December 1919, he bought controlling interest in the team and stepped down as manager the following season. Although the club won three AL pennants and the 1924 World Series, they struggled in the second division for most of his tenure at the helm. They had a hard time competing financially with the other teams, and Griffith often had to sell off his star players.

While owner of the Senators, Griffith played a large role in popularizing night baseball and was responsible for signing many Latin American players. His connections with President Franklin D. Roosevelt played a large role in giving baseball the "green light" to go on during World War II.

Pres. Truman receives baseball tickets and a handbag for his wife from Griffith.

In 1923, Griffith adopted two of his sister's children. After the death of the children's father, he also took in their five siblings. One of the adopted Robertson children, Sherrard, played parts of ten seasons for the Senators, and two of his adopted daughters married ballplayers (Mildred married Joe Cronin and Thelma married Joe Haynes). The eldest two children, Calvin and Thelma, were given 25.5% of the club upon Clark's death in 1955, and Calvin ran the team for many years.


In 1912, Griffith became the first man in baseball history to face one and only one batter in a season, and give up a home run to that batter. The feat was later matched by Milwaukee's Dave Koslo in 1955.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL ERA Leader (1898)
  • AL Winning Percentage Leader (1901)
  • NL Complete Games Leader (1897)
  • 2-time League Shutouts Leader (1900/NL & 1901/AL)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 8 (1894-1899, 1901 & 1902)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 7 (1894-1899 & 1901)
  • 25 Wins Seasons: 1 (1895)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 11 (1891 & 1894-1903)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 5 (1895-1899)
  • AL Pennants: 1 (1901)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1946

Preceded by
Chicago White Sox Manager
Succeeded by
Nixey Callahan
Preceded by
Wilbert Robinson
New York Highlanders Manager
Succeeded by
Kid Elberfeld
Preceded by
John Ganzel
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Hank O'Day
Preceded by
Jimmy McAleer
Washington Senators Manager
Succeeded by
George McBride

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1901 Chicago White Sox American League 83-53 1st Chicago White Sox League Champs
1902 Chicago White Sox American League 74-60 4th Chicago White Sox
1903 New York Highlanders American League 72-62 4th New York Highlanders
1904 New York Highlanders American League 92-59 2nd New York Highlanders
1905 New York Highlanders American League 71-78 6th New York Highlanders
1906 New York Highlanders American League 90-61 2nd New York Highlanders
1907 New York Highlanders American League 70-78 5th New York Highlanders
1908 New York Highlanders American League 24-32 -- New York Highlanders replaced by Kid Elberfeld on June 25
1909 Cincinnati Reds National League 77-76 4th Cincinnati Reds
1910 Cincinnati Reds National League 75-79 5th Cincinnati Reds
1911 Cincinnati Reds National League 70-83 6th Cincinnati Reds
1912 Washington Senators American League 91-61 2nd Washington Senators
1913 Washington Senators American League 90-64 2nd Washington Senators
1914 Washington Senators American League 81-73 3rd Washington Senators
1915 Washington Senators American League 85-68 4th Washington Senators
1916 Washington Senators American League 76-77 7th Washington Senators
1917 Washington Senators American League 74-79 5th Washington Senators
1918 Washington Senators American League 72-56 3rd Washington Senators
1919 Washington Senators American League 56-84 7th Washington Senators
1920 Washington Senators American League 68-84 6th Washington Senators

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ted Leavengood: Clark Griffith: The Old Fox of Washington Baseball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2011.

Related Sites[edit]