Jack McKeon

From BR Bullpen


John Aloysius McKeon
(Trader Jack)

BR Manager page

Biographical Information[edit]

Jack McKeon was a catcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, beginning in 1949. He debuted with the Greenville Pirates, hitting .251 with 49 RBI. In 1950, McKeon hit .333 in a brief sample with the York White Roses but spent almost all of the year with the Gloversville-Johnstown Glovers, earning $225 per month. He only hit .215/~.284/.239 in 72 games. He was hit in the head by one pitch and needed stitches and also badly injured his knee at second base. McKeon almost lost his life that year. After his knee injury, he was ordered home to recuperate and missed the Friday train the team wanted him to take. The train arrived two minutes before an explosion claimed 33 lives.

In 1951, Jack was in the military and was player-manager for the Sampson Air Force Base team, which won the Air Force championship. The next year, he returned to pro baseball and batted .218/~.352/.285 for the Hutchinson Elks and showed improved walk ability and defense (.987 fielding) from his 1950 season.

In 1953, with the Burlington-Graham Pirates, he caught 139 of the team's 140 games, but hit only .181. The next year, he hit just .133 for Burlington-Graham and .207 with Hutchinson.

In 1955, McKeon managed the Fayetteville Highlanders for two months between Aaron Robinson and Jack Sanford. He was only 24 and hit .169 as a part-time player. He managed in the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins chain from 1956 to 1964. He continued to play throughout the 1950s. He hit .170 with the Missoula Timberjacks in 1956, .217/~.357/.281 in 1957 and .263 with a career-high 8 homers and 51 RBI in 1958, his best offensive season. He hit .100 for the 1959 Fox Cities Foxes. From 1965 to 1967, he scouted for the Twins organization for three years. In 1968 he was the manager of the co-op High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms.

He managed the Omaha Royals for four years, before taking over the Kansas City Royals. He piloted the Richmond Braves in 1976. McKeon began 1977 as the Oakland A's manager, but was replaced by Bobby Winkles in June, then replaced Winkles in May of 1978.

He was the skipper of the Denver Bears in 1979, then scouted for the San Diego Padres in 1980. Nicknamed "Trader Jack" from his days as the Padres General Manager from 1981 to 1988, he then managed the team from May 1988 to July 1990.

President George W. Bush shakes hands with Marlins' skipper Jack McKeon while hosting the 2003 World Series champs

McKeon managed the Cincinnati Reds from mid-1997 to 2000, then took over the Florida Marlins in 2003. He became the oldest manager (72) to win a World Series when his Marlins won the championship in 2003. He resigned as the club's manager after the 2005 season.

His name came up as a potential replacement as soon as Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez announced his resignation on June 19, 2011 with the team in a 1-17 tailspin. At 80, McKeon became the second-oldest manager in in major league history, after Connie Mack, who was 88 when he managed his last game. He was expected to finish out the season, with a new manager to take over in 2012 when the Marlins moved to a new ballpark. "I'll probably manage until I'm 95," he quipped after his return to the dugout, His first move was to bench star SS Hanley Ramirez, who had infuriated previous managers with his sometimes lackadaisical play, because "(I) didn't like the way he was running yesterday." The Marlins were losers in his first game, 2-1 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 20th for their franchise-record 11th straight loss, and their 19th in their last 20 games. He won for the first time the next night, 5-2 over the Angels as Ramirez was back in the line-up. As expected, on September 26th, he announced he would not be returning the following season; his announcement preceded by a few hours the appointment of Ozzie Guillen as manager of the renamed Miami Marlins for the following year. He retired with 281 wins as manager of the Marlins, which was the most in franchise history until he was passed by Don Mattingly in August 2020.

In January 2019, he was still active at the age of 88 as he was hired by the Washington Nationals to serve as a senior adviser to GM Mike Rizzo.

In 17 years as a minor league manager his teams were a collective 1,105-1,177, while his major league teams have gone 1,011-940.

His brother, Bill McKeon, was a minor league catcher in the Milwaukee Braves system, and his son, Kasey McKeon, is a former minor league player and served as an executive with the Colorado Rockies and the Nationals. Another son, Kelly McKeon, was a scout. He is also the Father-In-Law of Greg Booker and grandfather of Zach Booker an d Avery Booker.


On June 8, 1977, McKeon's A's defeated Frank Robinson's Cleveland Indians. It was McKeon's last game as the A's manager, while Robinson lasted only ten more days with the Indians. Nearly 26 years passed before the two men next opposed each other as managers: this is a major league record. That next encounter was on May 20, 2003, when Robinson's Montreal Expos began a sweep of McKeon's Florida Marlins.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Preceded by
Bob Lemon
Kansas City Royals Manager
Succeeded by
Whitey Herzog
Preceded by
Chuck Tanner
Oakland A's Manager
Succeeded by
Bobby Winkles
Preceded by
Bobby Winkles
Oakland A's Manager
Succeeded by
Jim Marshall
Preceded by
Bob Fontaine
San Diego Padres General Manager
Succeeded by
Joe McIlvaine
Preceded by
Larry Bowa
San Diego Padres Manager
Succeeded by
Greg Riddoch
Preceded by
Ray Knight
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Bob Boone
Preceded by
Jeff Torborg
Florida Marlins Manager
Succeeded by
Joe Girardi
Preceded by
Edwin Rodriguez
Florida Marlins Manager
Succeeded by
Ozzie Guillen

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1955 Fayetteville Highlanders Carolina League 30-22 -- Baltimore Orioles replaced Aaron Robinson (27-23) on June 11 /
replaced by Jack Sanford (13-22) on August 6
1956 Missoula Timberjacks Pioneer League 61-71 7th none
1957 Missoula Timberjacks Pioneer League 62-64 4th Washington Senators
1958 Missoula Timberjacks Pioneer League 70-59 2nd Washington Senators
1959 Fox Cities Foxes Three-I League 59-67 4th Washington Senators
1960 Wilson Tobs Carolina League 73-65 2nd Washington Senators
1961 Wilson Tobs Carolina League 83-56 1st Minnesota Twins none League Champs
1962 Vancouver Mounties Pacific Coast League 72-79 7th Minnesota Twins
1963 Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers Pacific Coast League 79-79 5th (t) Minnesota Twins
1964 Atlanta Crackers International League 19-42 -- Minnesota Twins replaced by Pete Appleton on June 21
1968 High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms Carolina League 69-71 7th Co-op League Champs
1969 Omaha Royals American Association 85-55 1st Kansas City Royals League Champs
1970 Omaha Royals American Association 73-65 1st Kansas City Royals League Champs
1971 Omaha Royals American Association 69-70 5th Kansas City Royals
1972 Omaha Royals American Association 71-69 4th Kansas City Royals
1973 Kansas City Royals American League 88-74 2nd Kansas City Royals
1974 Kansas City Royals American League 77-85 5th Kansas City Royals
1975 Kansas City Royals American League 50-46 -- Kansas City Royals replaced by Whitey Herzog on July 24
1976 Richmond Braves International League 69-71 4th Atlanta Braves Lost League Finals
1977 Oakland Athletics American League 26-27 -- Oakland Athletics replaced by Bobby Winkles on June 10
1978 Oakland Athletics American League 45-78 4th Oakland Athletics replaced Bobby Winkles (24-15) on May 23
1979 Denver Bears American Association 62-73 7th Montreal Expos
1988 San Diego Padres National League 67-48 3rd San Diego Padres replaced Larry Bowa (16-30) on May 28
1989 San Diego Padres National League 89-73 2nd San Diego Padres
1990 San Diego Padres National League 37-43 -- San Diego Padres replaced by Greg Riddoch on July 11
1997 Cincinnati Reds National League 33-30 3rd Cincinnati Reds replaced Ray Knight (43-56) on July 25
1998 Cincinnati Reds National League 77-85 4th Cincinnati Reds
1999 Cincinnati Reds National League 96-67 2nd Cincinnati Reds
2000 Cincinnati Reds National League 85-77 2nd Cincinnati Reds
2003 Florida Marlins National League 75-49 2nd Florida Marlins World Series Champs replaced Jeff Torborg (16-22) on May 11
2004 Florida Marlins National League 83-79 3rd Florida Marlins
2005 Florida Marlins National League 83-79 4th Florida Marlins
2011 Florida Marlins National League 40-50 5th Florida Marlins replaced Edwin Rodriguez (32-39) and
Brandon Hyde (0-1) on June 20

Record as a General Manager[edit]

Draft Picks[edit]

1st Round

Other Notable Selections

Significant Trades[edit]

Significant Signings[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Thomas Boswell: "Trader Jack, Whitey the Rat and Other Good Ideas", in Why Time Begins on Opening Day, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1984, pp. 61-76.
  • Jack McKeon and Kevin Kernan: I'm Just Getting Started: Baseball's best storyteller on old school baseball, defying the odds, and good cigars, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2005 (ISBN 1-57243-711-1)

Sources include 1951 and 1958 Baseball Guides, Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database, Baseball's Canadian-American League by David Pietrusza, MLB.com

Related Sites[edit]