Every job was a promotion, and he came within a whisker of being baseball's commissioner in 1965. Late in life, reflecting on all his contributions and responsibilities over the years, Joe made it clear where his heart lay. "In the end, " said Joe, the game's on the field. Joseph Edward Cronin was born in San Francisco on October 12, 1906, six months after the great earthquake and fire that devastated his home city. His father, Jeremiah, born in Ireland in 1871, had immigrated to San Francisco in either 1886 or 1887 in search of an easier life, but had found mostly hard work in the years since.His wife, Mary Carolin, was a native of the city, and the couple had two other boys-Raymond b. December 1894 and James b. Jeremiah had a team of horses, which came in handy when it came to rebuilding the city. The family lost its home in the fire and was living with Jeremiah's sister when Joe was born. In early 1907 they moved into a new house in the Excelsior District in the southern part of the city. The Cronins were Irish Catholics, and preached the virtues of family, hard work, and church. Joe's brothers being much older, he was blessed with a lot of time to play sports, which neither of his brothers had done. San Francisco had a well-established system of playgrounds, with directors responsible for organizing teams in different sports, and playing games against other playgrounds. The Excelsior Playground, as luck would have it, was one block from the Cronin house. Joe, a strong youth who grew to nearly 6 feet tall as a teenager, played soccer, ran track, and won the boys' city tennis championship in 1920. But baseball was his first love, as it was for most athletes in the city. Though there were no major-league teams west of St. Louis, the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League became like the major leagues for the local fans.
In addition, many San Franciscans had played for the Seals and then made good in the majors, including George Kelly, Harry Heilmann, and Ping Bodie, one of Joe's early heroes. In 1922 Joe teamed up with Wally Berger to help win the city baseball championship at Mission High. The following summer the school burned down, and while it was being rebuilt, Joe transferred to Sacred Heart, a Catholic school a few miles north of his home.
Joe starred in several sports at his new school, and his baseball team won the citywide prep school title in 1924, his senior year. By this time, Joe was also playing shortstop with summer clubs and for a semipro team in the city of Napa, north of San Francisco. Although Cronin had long dreamed of playing for the Seals, he passed up an offer to join the San Francisco club by taking a higher offer from scout Joe Devine of the Pittsburgh Pirates in late 1924. In the spring, Joe trained with the Pirates in Paso Robles, California, but soon joined the Johnstown club of the Middle Atlantic League, hitting. 313 with just three home runs but 11 triples and 18 doubles in 99 games.
At the end of the season, Joe and his friend and roommate Eddie Montague joined the Pirates, working out with major leaguers and sitting on the bench while Pittsburgh beat Washington in the 1925 World Series. The Pirates were a strong club, especially at the positions Joe would most likely play. Shortstop Glenn Wright and third baseman Pie Traynor were among the best at their positions in the game, and the 19-year-old Cronin had very little hope of playing much in 1926. He traveled with the team early in the season, pinch-running four times and scoring two runs, before being assigned to New Haven in the Eastern League.
This club was operated by George Weiss, near the start of a long career in the game that would eventually land him in the Hall of Fame. By midsummer, Cronin was hitting. 320 and earned another recall to the Pirates. In the latter stages of the season Joe played 38 games, mostly at second base, a position he had never played. 265 for manager Bill McKechnie, a promising start for the youngster.
After the season McKechnie was fired, and the new manager, Donie Bush, moved George Grantham from first to second base, blocking Cronin's best path. Joe stuck with the 1927 club the entire season, but played just 12 games, hitting 5-for-22. The Pirates won the NL pennant again, but Joe had a miserable time and hoped to play in the minors rather than sit on the bench again. He was back in the minor leagues. With Kansas City, Joe played mostly third base and struggled to regain his batting stroke after a year of playing so infrequently.
In July he was hitting just. 245 and feared he might be sent to a lower classification club.Joe Engel, a scout for the Washington Senators, was making a scouting trip in the Midwest when he discovered that Cronin, whom he remembered from the Pirates, was available. Joe reported to Washington in mid-July. When Engel brought him to meet Clark Griffith, the Senators' owner, they first had to meet Mildred Robertson, Griffith's niece and secretary. In fact, Engel had sent a telegram to Mildred before his arrival, warning her that he had signed her future husband. 3 As it turned out, Joe and Mildred soon began a long courtship before being married after the 1934 season. The Senators needed a shortstop, oddly, because of an arm injury suffered by left fielder Goose Goslin which kept him from throwing the ball more than a few feet. The club needed Goslin's great bat so the shortstop, Bobby Reeves, had to run out to left field to retrieve his relay throws.
300 in June, Reeves began to lose weight rapidly in the summer heat, and the team at least needed a capable reserve. Cronin began as Reeves' backup, but eventually manager Bucky Harris began playing the newcomer most of the time. 242 in 63 games but played an excellent shortstop and became a favorite of his manager. After the season Harris was fired and replaced by Walter Johnson. Johnson was a longtime Senators hero, but was not familiar with Cronin at all and said only that he would keep an open mind.
The next spring Johnson moved Ossie Bluege from third base to shortstop and installed Jackie Hayes at third, but an early-season injury to Bluege gave Cronin an opening, and his strong play forced the recovered Bluege back to third base. In 145 games, including 143 at shortstop, Joe hit a solid.
282 with eight home runs and 29 doubles. His 62 errors, due mainly to overaggressive throwing, did not cause alarm. Turning 22 that fall, Cronin was one of the brightest young players in the game.
In 1930 Cronin took his game up another notch, becoming the best shortstop and one of the best players in baseball. 346 for the season, with 203 hits and 126 runs batted in. In fact, the baseball writers voted Joe the league's MVP, ahead of Al Simmons and Lou Gehrig. It was not until 1931 that the writers' award became the "official" MVP award, but Cronin was recognized in the press as the recipient in 1930.
The Sporting News also gave Cronin its Player of the Year award. The Senators' 94 wins were eight shy of the great Philadelphia Athletics' 102-52 record. Other than baseball, the principal excitement in Joe's life was his relationship with Mildred Robertson. Per Joe Engel's prophesy, Joe and Mildred had taken to each other right away, but it was anything but a whirlwind romance. Joe began by dropping in to the office more often than he needed to, but their courtship became more traditional in the spring of 1930 during spring training.
As her uncle's secretary, Mildred accompanied the team to their spring camp in Biloxi, Mississippi, every year. Joe was adamant that the relationship remain a secret lest people write that Joe was trying to get in good with the boss. On the field, Joe maintained his new plateau of excellence.
306 with 12 home runs and 126 runs batted in, as his club won 92 games, again well back of the Athletics. The next year he overcame a chipped bone in his thumb, suffered when he was struck by a pitch in June, to hit. 318 with 116 runs batted in and a league-leading 18 triples.
His club won 93 games, its third straight 90-win season and the third best record in team history. Nonetheless, after the season, Clark Griffith fired Walter Johnson, the team's greatest hero. Griffith surprised everyone by selecting Cronin, just turning 26, to replace him. Not only did Cronin have to gain the respect of the veterans, he still had to worry about hitting and playing shortstop.Of course, there was the extra financial reward. Cronin silenced all of the doubters in 1933 by continuing his fine play on the field.
309 with 118 runs batted in and a league-leading 45 doubles, while simultaneously managing his team to a pennant in his first season, still the youngest manager in World Series history. The Senators finished 99-53, and held off the Babe Ruth- and Lou Gehrig-led Yankees by seven games. In the World Series, they ran up against the New York Giants and their great pitcher Carl Hubbell, and fell in five games.The next season, 1934, was a difficult one for Cronin and the Senators. The club dropped all the way to seventh place, at 66-86, and Joe took several weeks to get on track. At the end of May his average had dropped to. 215, before he finally began to hit. He got his average up to. 284 with 101 runs batted in, but as the team's manager he was more distressed by the showing of his club. On September 3 he collided with Red Sox pitcher Wes Ferrell on an infield single and broke his left forearm, finishing his season. A few days later, at the urging of Clark Griffith, Joe and Mildred pushed up their planned wedding to September 27 with a few days left in the season. When the Cronins landed in California, Joe had an urgent message to call Griffith. The news was a shock. It only needed Cronin's OK. Joe realized what this would mean for Griffith, and also for himself and his new wife. He told Griffith to take the deal. Two hundred fifty thousand dollars? In 1934, during the height of the Great Depression, this was an unfathomable sum. When Cronin joined the Red Sox, dubbed the "Gold Sox" or the "Millionaires" by the nation's press corps, the club was expected to win. When they did not win, the fans and press around the country typically blamed the high-priced help, including Cronin. Even worse, many of the veteran players Yawkey had acquired -- ornery men like Wes Ferrell, Lefty Grove, and Bill Werber -- did not like or respect their manager. This should not have been a big surprise; Grove did not like Connie Mack telling him what to do, and he certainly was not prepared to listen to the rich kid shortstop. The team was filled with temperamental head cases, and Cronin was younger than most of them. On April 26, 1935, just a week into Cronin's first season in Boston, the Senators beat Grove, 10-5, thanks to five Boston errors, three by Cronin, which led to eight unearned runs. Grove did not hide his irritation at each bobbled ball, or his anger when Cronin removed him in the seventh. When Cronin came to bat the next inning the Fenway Park crowd showered him with boos, causing Mildred to leave the park in tears. Cronin tripled, which provided a temporary respite. It was not always this bad, but it was often bad enough. In July 1936, Ferrell called Cronin to the mound and told him he would not throw another pitch until the pitcher warming up in the bullpen sat down. A month later he stormed off the mound and back to his hotel room after a Cronin error. Well, that isn't the end of this. I'm going to punch Cronin in the jaw as soon as I see him. 4 A month later, Werber cursed at Cronin during a game and was ordered off the field. Cronin was not yet 30 years old when all this was going on. Yawkey and general manager Eddie Collins were no help. Lefty Grove hunted and drank with the owner, who looked the other way when his star pitcher openly blasted Cronin in the press. Ferrell apparently never paid his fine for storming off the mound. The Red Sox continued to acquire controversial veterans, players who had had trouble with managers over their careers, and invariably they caused trouble with Cronin.
When Collins finally succeeded in dealing Ferrell (along with his brother Rick, who caused no trouble) in 1937, the club acquired Bobo Newsom and Ben Chapman, two of the bigger managerial challenges in the game. After a fine year at bat in 1935.295 with 95 runs batted in, Joe suffered through a frustrating season in 1936. The acquisition of Jimmie Foxx and others from the Athletics made the Red Sox a supposed pennant contender, but Joe's injury-plagued season a broken thumb limiting him to 81 games and a.
281 average helped the Red Sox finish a disappointing sixth. At this point many observers thought Joe, overweight, struggling in the field, and injured, might be through at just 30 years old. Instead, Joe rebounded to hit. 307 with 18 home runs and 110 RBIs in 1937, then. 325 with 94 RBI and a league-leading 51 doubles in 1938.
In the latter year, the Red Sox finished in second place with 88 wins, their most as a team in 20 years. On May 30 in Yankee Stadium, Joe got in a famous fight with Jake Powell on the field that carried over into the clubhouse runway after they had both been ejected. The runway was behind the Yankee dugout, and Joe had to hold off most of the Yankee team. Cronin started seven All-Star games, including the first three, and would have started a few more had the game existed earlier in his career. In the famous 1934 game, when Carl Hubbell struck out five Immortals in succession, Cronin was the fifth victim--after Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and Al Simmons.Less remembered today is that Cronin managed the AL team, and that the AL won the game. The Red Sox won 89 games in 1939, and Joe had another fine year. 308 and 107 runs batted in.
Joe's biggest problem in these years was the Yankees, who were one of history's greatest teams. It was not any great shame to finish second to the Yankees in this era, and the Red Sox did so four times in five seasons beginning in 1938. 285 with a career-high 24 home runs in 1940, then.
311 with 95 runs batted in 1941. After his All-Star season in 1941, he quietly stepped aside for rookie Johnny Pesky in 1942. Even with Pesky in the Navy for three years beginning in 1943, Cronin was mainly a utility infielder and pinch-hitter (setting a league record with five pinch home runs in 1943) during the war years. In April 1945 he broke his leg in a game against the Yankees, missed the rest of the reason, and hobbled away from his playing career.
In the heavily Irish culture of 1930s Boston, the Irish and personable Cronin remained personally popular with the fans and press. Even otherwise critical stories invariably mentioned what a swell guy he was. By the 1940s, Cronin was no longer the young upstart manager, but was a veteran on a team that was developing young talent.
The new generation, men like Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr, admired and respected Cronin. With his stars back and Cronin a full-time manager for the first time in 1946, the Red Sox cruised to the pennant but lost a seven-game World Series to the Cardinals. With most of the star players save Williams having off-years or hurting in 1947, the club fell back to third place. At the end of the season, Cronin took off his uniform for good, replacing the ill Eddie Collins as the club's general manager. In Cronin's first act in his new role, he hired Joe McCarthy as his new manager.These deals catapulted the team back into contention again, but they lost two heartbreaking pennant races in 1948 and 1949. During Cronin's 11-year tenure running the franchise (as general manager, president, and eventually treasurer), the team evolved from a contender to a middle-of-the-road club. The biggest problem, though by no means the only one, was the club's failure to field any black players. The Red Sox famously had first crack at Jackie Robinson in 1945, and at Willie Mays in 1949. By 1958, Cronin's last season as general manager, more than 100 blacks (either African-Americans or dark-skinned Latins) had played in the majors, 11 of whom went on to the Hall of Fame. None of the 100 played for the Red Sox. Joe and Mildred had four children-Thomas Griffith (named after Yawkey and Clark Griffith, born 1938), Michael (1941), Maureen (1944), and Kevin (1950). They bought a house in Newton, just outside the city of Boston, in 1939 and settled there. In 1946, they bought a second house in Osterville, on Cape Cod, where the family spent most summers once the children got out of school. When Joe was no longer managing, he would work in the team offices during the week and spend most weekends on the Cape with his family. During his years as GM, he had to deal with occasional controversies with Ted Williams, the mental breakdown of outfielder Jimmy Piersall, and the shocking death of young first base star Harry Agganis. He also had to deal with rumors that the Red Sox were going to move to San Francisco, or that he wanted to take over an expansion team in his native city.
Joe would protest these rumors, saying that Boston, not San Francisco, was his home, the only home his children had ever known. Meanwhile, Cronin's power within baseball continued to grow. While running the Red Sox, he also served on the major-league rules committee, pension committee, and realignment committee, and represented Yawkey at all the league meetings.When AL President Will Harridge was first rumored to be stepping down in October 1956, Cronin was thought to be the obvious successor. When Harridge finally quit two years later, Cronin was quickly hired to succeed him.
In deference to Cronin, the league office was moved from Chicago to Boston. Cronin scouted the new offices himself, settling on a location in Copley Square.
His principal role was to preside over league meetings, building consensus to solve the problems of the moment. The leagues had much more power than they do today-leagues had their own umpires, could expand or move teams without consulting the other league, could have their own rules, their own schedules.
During his 15 years running the American League, Cronin oversaw the league's expansion from eight to 12 teams, and orchestrated the relocation of four teams. In 1966, while league president, Cronin hired Emmett Ashford, the first black major-league umpire, nearly seven years before the National League integrated. In a later interview with Larry Gerlach, Ashford praised Cronin for having the guts to hire him: Jackie Robinson had his Branch Rickey; I had my Joe Cronin. Cronin was twice a leading candidate for the commissioner's job: in 1965, when Ford Frick resigned, and again when William Eckert was forced out in 1968. Cronin ran the American League until 1973, the year the league introduced the designated hitter rule, a rule he did not like but which he helped write.
Commissioner Bowie Kuhn wanted to move the two league offices to New York, where the commissioner's offices were. Cronin did not want to move, and he chose to retire instead. At the end of his final season, he was given the ceremonial title of American League chairman.Joe spent a life in the game, and he was renowned for his good works outside the game. He set up the Red Sox' initial connection with the Jimmy Fund, which became the team's signature charity after its original sponsor, the Boston Braves, left town, and worked with the fund for many years. He received dozens of honors for his work outside the game. Joe Cronin entered the Hall of Fame in 1956, with his longtime friend and rival Hank Greenberg-they were rivals as players, and at the time of induction they were rival general managers. The Red Sox retired his number 4 on May 29, 1984; on the same rainy evening they retired Ted Williams' number 9-the first two numbers the Red Sox officially put out of service.
Joe was dying of cancer, and the ceremony was pushed ahead to ensure that he could attend. He made it to that park that night, but was only able to wave to the crowd from a suite high above the field. Williams was there, and praised his former manager and longtime friend. After waving to Joe, he told the crowd how important Cronin was to him. Joe Cronin was a great player, a great manager, a wonderful father.
No one respects you more than I do, Joe. In my book, you are a great man.After a long battle with cancer, Joe passed away on September 7, 1984, leaving his beloved Mildred and their four children. He may be the least known of the honorees on Fenway Park's right field façade, but no man had a greater impact on Red Sox history than Joseph Edward Cronin. Every Day I put on a uniform was a thrill. Just to be a part of the show was a real thrill for me. Every day could have been my first big league game. Joe Cronin had one of the most interesting, multifaceted careers in baseball-he was a player, manager, general manager, American League President, and a member of the Hall of Fame's board of directors and Veteran's Committee. He was born in the basement of his aunt's house in San Francisco in October 1906, the year of the great earthquake. His family was living in the basement because they had been displaced by the quake. A fine-fielding shortstop who hit for power and average, he played briefly for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1926 and 1927.
The following year he became the Senators regular shortstop. He played for the Senators until 1934. During his time there, he led the league twice in games played, and once each in doubles and triples.He became player-manager in 1933, winning the pennant in his first season at the helm. Though the Senators lost the Series to the Giants, Cronin hit.
In October of 1934, the Boston Red Sox traded for Cronin, sending Lyn Lary and a quarter of a million dollars to Washington, an unprecedented sum. Cronin played shortstop for the Red Sox until 1945, and managed the club until 1947.300 for the Red Sox six times, and managed the team to the 1946 pennant, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. A fine fielder, Cronin led the league in putouts and assists three times each, and twice in fielding percentage. As a hitter, he posted a batting average of. 301 over 20 seasons, garnered 2,285 hits, drove in 1,424 runs, scored 1,233 runs, hit 515 doubles, 118 triples, and 170 home runs. He was a 7-time All-Star and finished in the top ten of American League Most Valuable Player voting five times. He was a leader as a player, as a manager, and as an executive, and was lauded for the leadership and other intangibles he brought to his ball clubs. His managerial winning percentage was. From 1948 through 1959, Cronin served in the Red Sox front office in several capacities: General Manager, treasurer, and Vice-President. He was the first former player to become President of the American League in 1959, a position he held through 1973. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956.
When the Red Sox retired Cronin's number 4 in 1984, Ted Williams had this to say about him: Joe Cronin was a great player, a great manager, a wonderful father. No One respects you more than I do, Joe. In my book you're a great man.Joe Cronin, the soft-spoken bank clerk-turned-shortstop who spent 20 sparkling years as a major league player and player-manager and later served two terms as president of the American League, died yesterday at his home in Osterville, Mass. He was 77 years old and had been ill for some time. In his years as an active player - for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Senators and the Boston Red Sox - Cronin gained a reputation as a sure- fielding, hard-throwing infielder, but it was his performance at the plate that assured his election to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1956. Although not a power-hitter (he never had more than 24 home runs a season and usually hit fewer than 10), Cronin was known as one of the great clutch-hitters of his time.'With a man on third and one out,'' the famed manager Connie Mack once said,''I'd rather have Cronin hitting for me than anybody I've ever seen, and that includes Cobb, Simmons and the rest of them. Sign up for Breaking News. Cronin's five pinch-hit home runs with the Red Sox in 1943 established an American League record that still stands, and he ended his playing career in 1945 with a lifetime batting average of. He was also known as one of the most polite players in baseball, a characteristic Cronin attributed to the influence of an early teammate, Pie Traynor, the great Pirate third baseman, whom Cronin described as a perfect gentleman.'I probably caught it from him,'' Cronin once told an interviewer. Joseph Edward Cronin, the son of an Irish-born horse-team driver and an Irish-American mother, was born in San Francisco on Oct. 12, 1906, just a few months after the great earthquake and fire had devastated the city and impoverished his family. He attended local schools, played endless hours of baseball in Excelsior Park across the street from his home and emerged as a star athlete in several sports. As a member of a blue-collar family, he startled local society figures when he was 14 by capturing the city's junior championship in the society sport of tennis. While his brothers worked as manual laborers, Cronin worked as a bank clerk, graduated from high school and then turned down a scholarship from St. Mary's College to continue assisting his family. The Cursed Legacy of the Most Expensive Plot of Land in Los Angeles.
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Baseball was his major love, and while playing semipro ball in Napa, across the bay, he caught the eye of a Pittsburgh scout, Joe Devine, who offered him a professional contract in 1925. Cronin started his career that year with the Pirates' farm club in Johnstown, Pa.
But with Traynor and other star infielders on the Pirate team, Cronin had trouble breaking into the lineup. He played part of the 1926 season in Pittsburgh, but spent most of the time with the New Haven minor league team. Where he was promptly spotted by Joe Engel, a scout for the Senators. The next year he made his mark on the game by hitting. 346 and being selected as the American League's most valuable player.
In 1933, Clark Griffith, the Senators' owner, made Cronin player-manager, and under Cronin, who hit. 309, led the league in doubles and led the league's shortstops in fielding, the Senators won the pennant.
But they lost the World Series to the New York Giants. The next year proved disastrous as the Senators dropped to seventh place, but during the All-Star Game Cronin earned part of a special footnote to baseball history. He was one of five future Hall of Famers, including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who were struck out in succession by Carl Hubbell.
After the 1934 season, Cronin married Griffith's niece and secretary, Mildred Robertson. Cronin continued as an active player until he broke a leg in July 1945, but he had taken himself out of the regular lineup in 1942.
The Red Sox did not win a pennant with Cronin as manager until 1946, when the club won 104 games but lost the World Series to the St. After retiring as field manager in 1947, he served 11 years as a Red Sox executive before being named president of the American League in 1959. In his 14 years in the job, Cronin oversaw the expansion of the league from 8 to 12 teams, stirred controversy when he dismissed two umpires for''incompetence'' after he learned they were trying to form a union in 1970 and ended his career in further controversy when he vetoed the Yankees' effort to hire the Oakland A's manager, Dick Williams, while approving the Detroit Tigers' signing of the Yankees' former manager, Ralph Houk. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons, Thomas, Michael and Hayward; a daughter, Maureen Hayward, and several grandchildren.A funeral service will be held at 11 A. Joseph Edward Cronin (October 12, 1906 - September 7, 1984) was a Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop, manager and general manager. He also served as president of the American League (AL) for 14 years. A seven-time All-Star, Cronin became the first AL player to become an All-Star with two teams; he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956. As a player-manager and manager. Seven of the American League's 1937 All-Star players, from left to right Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg.
All seven would eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame. Cronin was born in Excelsior District of San Francisco, California. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake had cost his Irish Catholic parents almost all of their possessions.  Cronin attended Sacred Heart High School.He played several sports as a child and he won a city tennis championship for his age group when he was 14. As he was not greatly interested in school, Cronin's grades improved only when the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League began giving away tickets to students with good conduct and attendance. At the time, the nearest MLB team was nearly 2,000 miles from San Francisco. Baseball promoter Joe Engel, who scouted for the Senators and managed the Chattanooga Lookouts at Engel Stadium, originally signed Cronin. Engel first spotted Cronin playing in Kansas City. "I knew I was watching a great player", Engel said. I bought Cronin at a time he was hitting. You bought him for yourself. He's not my ballplayer - he's yours.
You keep him and don't either you or Cronin show up at the ballpark. In 1930, Cronin had a breakout year, batting. 346 with 13 home runs and 126 RBI. Cronin won both the AL Writers' MVP (the forerunner of the BBWAA MVP, established in 1931) and the AL Sporting News MVP.
His 1931 season was also outstanding, with him posting a. 306 average, 12 home runs, and 126 RBIs. Cronin led the Senators to the 1933 World Series and later married Griffith's niece, Mildred Robertson. Cronin was named player-manager of the Senators in 1933, a post he would hold for two years. In 1935, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox by Griffith, also as player-manager.Cronin retired as a player in 1945, but remained manager of the Red Sox until 1947. On June 17, 1943, Cronin sent himself into pinch hit in both games of a doubleheader and hit a home run each time. As early as 1938, it was apparent that Cronin was nearing the end of his playing career. Red Sox farm director Billy Evans thought he had found Cronin's successor in Pee Wee Reese, the star shortstop for the Louisville Colonels of the Triple-A American Association. However, when Yawkey and Evans asked Cronin to scout Reese, Cronin realized he was scouting his replacement. Believing that he was still had enough left to be a regular player, Cronin deliberately downplayed Reese's talent and suggested that the Red Sox trade him. Reese was eventually traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he went on to a Hall of Fame career.  As it turned out, Evans' and Yawkey's initial concerns about Cronin were valid. His last year as a full-time player was 1941; after that year he never played more than 76 games in a season. Over his career, Cronin batted. 300 or higher eight times, as well as driving in 100 runs or more eight times. 301 average, 170 home runs, and 1,424 RBIs. As a manager, he compiled a 1,236-1,055 record and won two American League pennants (in 1933 and 1946). His 1933 Senators dropped the 1933 World Series to the New York Giants, and his 1946 Boston Red Sox lost the 1946 World Series to the St. At the end of the 1947 season, Cronin succeeded Eddie Collins as general manager of the Red Sox and held the post for over 11 years, through mid-January 1959.
The Red Sox challenged for the AL pennant in 1948-49 (finishing second by a single game both seasons) thanks to Cronin's aggressive trades. In his first off-season, he acquired shortstop Vern Stephens and pitchers Ellis Kinder and Jack Kramer from the St.
Louis Browns; all played major roles in Boston's contending 1948 season, and Kinder and Stephens were centerpieces of the Red Sox' 1949-50 contenders as well. But the Red Sox last seriously contended in 1950, and began a slow decline during the 1950s. With the exception of Ted Williams (who missed most of the 1952-53 seasons while serving in the Korean War), the core of the 1946-50 team aged quickly and the Red Sox faced a significant rebuilding job starting in 1952.
Cronin's acquisition of future American League Most Valuable Player Jackie Jensen from Washington in 1954 represented a coup, but the club misfired on several "bonus babies" who never lived up to their potential. The Red Sox posted winning season records for all but two of Cronin's 11 seasons as general manager, but beginning in 1959 they began a skein of eight consecutive below. Most attention has been focused on Cronin and Yawkey's refusal to integrate the Red Sox roster; by January 1959, when Cronin's tenure as general manager ended, the Red Sox were the only team in the big leagues without an African-American or Afro-Latin American player. Notably, Cronin once passed on signing a young Willie Mays and never traded for an African-American player.
 The Red Sox did not break the baseball color line until six months after Cronin's departure for the AL presidency, when they promoted Pumpsie Green, a utility infielder, from their Triple-A affiliate, the Minneapolis Millers, in July 1959. In January 1959, Cronin was elected president of the American League, the first former player to be so elected and the fourth full-time chief executive in the league's history. When he replaced the retiring Will Harridge, who became board chairman, Cronin moved the league's headquarters from Chicago to Boston. Cronin served as AL president until December 31, 1973, when he was succeeded by Lee MacPhail.During Cronin's 15 years in office, the Junior Circuit expanded from eight to 12 teams, adding the Los Angeles Angels and expansion Washington Senators in 1961 and the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots in 1969. It also endured four franchise shifts: the relocation of the original Senators club (owned by Cronin's brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Calvin Griffith and Thelma Griffith Haynes) to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, creating the Minnesota Twins (1961); the shift of the Athletics from Kansas City to Oakland (1968); the transfer of the Pilots after only one season in Seattle to Milwaukee as the Brewers (1970); and the transplantation of the expansion Senators after 11 seasons in Washington, D. To Dallas-Fort Worth as the Texas Rangers (1972).
The Angels also moved from Los Angeles to adjacent Orange County in 1966 and adopted a regional identity, in part because of the dominance of the National League Dodgers, who were the Angels' landlords at "Chavez Ravine" (Dodger Stadium) from 1962-65. Of the four expansion teams that joined the league beginning in 1961, three abandoned their original host cities within a dozen years (the Pilots after only one season), and only one team-the Royals-remained in its original municipality. Two of the charter members of the old eight-team league, the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, also suffered significant attendance woes and were targets of relocation efforts by other cities.In addition, the AL found itself at a competitive disadvantage compared with the National League during Cronin's term. With strong teams in larger markets and a host of new stadiums, the NL outdrew the AL for 33 consecutive years (1956-88).  In 1973, Cronin's final season as league president, the NL attracted 55 percent of total MLB attendance, 16.62 million vs.
13.38 million total fans, despite the opening of Royals Stadium in Kansas City and the American League's adoption of the designated hitter rule, which was designed to spark scoring and fan interest. While the National League held only an 8-7 edge in World Series play during the Cronin era, it dominated the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, going 15-3-1 in the 19 games played from 1959-73. After the 1968 season, Cronin drew headlines when he fired AL umpires Al Salerno and Bill Valentine, ostensibly for poor performance; however, it later surfaced that the two officials were fired for attempting to organize an umpires' union.
Neither man was reinstated (Valentine became a successful minor league front-office executive), but the Major League Umpires Association was formed anyway, two years later.  However, in 1966, Cronin was hailed for integrating MLB's umpiring staff with the promotion of veteran minor league arbiter Emmett Ashford to the American League.
Joe Cronin's number 4 was retired by the Boston Red Sox in 1984. Joe Cronin was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (with Hank Greenberg) in 1956. In the last months of his life, Cronin struggled with cancer that had invaded his prostate and bones; he suffered a great deal of bone pain as a result.  Cronin came to Fenway Park for one of his last public appearances when his jersey number 4 was retired by the Red Sox on May 29, 1984.
He died at the age of 77 on September 7, 1984, at his home in Osterville, Massachusetts.  He is buried in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in nearby Centerville. At the number retirement ceremony shortly before Cronin's death, teammate Ted Williams commented on how much he respected Cronin as a father and a man.
Cronin was also remembered as a clutch hitter. Manager Connie Mack once commented, With a man on third and one out, I'd rather have Cronin hitting for me than anybody I've ever seen, and that includes Cobb, Simmons and the rest of them. In 1999, he was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
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