Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 16

Sherwood "Sherry" Magee was an outfielder for our Phillies from 1904-1914. Long regarded as one of the all-time best Phillies, Magee made a name for himself with his bat, his arm, his speed and his temper.

During his time with the Phillies, Magee led the National League in RBI three times, won a batting title and stole 387 bases, which still stands as third best all-time in team history. Sherry was also the most outstanding run producer on the team for over a decade.

In 1906, Magee swiped 55 bases, which stood as a single season Phils record, until Juan Samuel broke it in 1984. His finest offensive year came in 1910, when he led the National League in RBI, runs scored, total bases, slugging percentage and batting average. Had the MVP award existed then, Magee surely would have been awarded the honor. Magee's RBI total in 1910 was 123...the next highest total in the NL- 88.

Despite that remarkable season, Magee made the most headlines 1911, when his volatile temper got the best of him, and an umpire. In a game against St. Louis in July, when Magee was called out on strikes by umpire Bill Finneran, Magee tossed his bat up in the air and headed back toward the dugout. Finneran didn't appreciate the display, and threw Magee out of the game. When Magee realized he had been ejected, he charged back toward home plate and struck Finneran, knocking him unconscious and drawing blood. The initial punishment for Sherry was to be suspended for the remainder of the season, but this was later shortened to a 36 game ban.

The loss of Magee hurt the Phillies that season, as they were only 1 game out of first place when the incident occurred. They would go on a 13-16 skid, without Magee, over the next month to fall out of the pennant race. They would finish the season in 4th place.

Magee would continue to excel for the Phillies over the next few seasons. In 1914, he would lead the league in RBI once again, but it would mark his final season with the team. That off-season, Sherry was dealt to the Boston Braves, who had just won the World Series. The irony of the deal, of course, was that after spending more than a decade with the lowly Phillies, Magee left and the Phils would go on to win their first pennant in 1915, while the Braves came in second.

Magee finally made it to the World Series with the Cincinnati Reds in 1919, his final season playing in the Majors. Magee played and coached in the minors for the next 6 years. In 1927, more irony- he began umpiring in the New York/Penn League. In 1928, he was hired to umpire in the National League. He worked a single season before dying of pneumonia in 1929 at age 44.
Post a Comment