Harry Francis Craft
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- School Mississippi College
- High School Throckmorton High School
- Debut September 19, 1937
- Final Game July 14, 1942
- Born April 19, 1915 in Ellisville, MS USA
- Died August 3, 1995 in Conroe, TX USA
“When Craft took over the center field job in 1938, he showed all sorts of promise. His fielding was the best that pasture had seen since Edd Roush departed, and it was felt that if only his stick work would improve he would surely reach stardom. Instead, Harry’s work at bat seemed to grow less and less impressive.” - Lee Allen, 1948
Harry Craft played center field with pretty good range for six years with the Cincinnati Reds. He was later the first manager in the history of the Houston Astros franchise, when they were known as the Houston Colt .45s.
Following a ten-game look with the Reds in 1937, Harry's best year was his official rookie season in 1938. Patrolling center field at Crosley Field, Harry batted .270/.305/.418 with 15 home runs and 83 RBI, the latter two figures both in the top 10 of National League leaderboards. On June 15th, he caught the final out of Johnny Vander Meer's second consecutive no-hitter (). Craft was part of the pennant-winning Reds teams of 1939 and 1940, hitting for the cycle while scoring 4 runs and driving in 6 in a 5-for-5 day on June 8, 1940 part of a 23-2 stomping of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He suffered from diminishing returns following his top notch 1938 season, seeing his last action in the bigs in 1942. He went on to play for the Kansas City Blues from 1942 to 1948, missing the entirety of the 1944 and 1945 seasons due to military service.
After his playing career, Harry became a manager in the New York Yankees system, managing Mickey Mantle in his first years of pro ball. He managed the Independence Yankees (1949), Joplin Miners (1950), Beaumont Roughnecks (1951-1952), and Kansas City Blues (1953-1954). Craft joined the new Kansas City Athletics coaching staff in 1955 and replaced Lou Boudreau as the team's manager in 1957. He remained with the team through the 1959 season and became a Chicago Cubs coach in 1960. He managed the Cubs for part of 1961 as a member of the club's infamous College of Coaches. He left the Cubs the next season to manage the expansion Houston Colt .45s, getting fired near the end of the 1964 season. He remained in the game as a scout for the Yankees (1967-1972), Houston Astros (1975-1977), Yankees again (1978-1982), and the San Francisco Giants (1983-1991), as well as a farm system official, retiring in 1991.
|Kansas City Athletics Manager
|Houston Colt .45s Manager