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"There has been only one manager-and his name is McGraw."-Connie Mack. "Diligently researched and artfully written, John McGraw illuminates not only the man but the transformation of America and its national pastime between 1890 and 1930."-San Francisco Chronicle. "Absorbing...Alexander is a lively writer and a crisp storyteller."-New York Times. "From a historian of Alexander's stature one can expect more than just another sports book, and the result is not disappointing. With great erudition and meticulous research, he brings to life not only a game and its competitors but a whole period of U.S. history."-America. "Sports biography at its best: an entertaining, scholarly treatment of the life and times of a legendary figure...Alexander portrays famed Giant manager John McGraw without sentimental bias."-Library Journal. "He ate gunpowder every morning," complained one umpire, "and washed it down with warm blood." That described John McGraw, who in the 1890s was the rowdiest member of the ferocious Baltimore Orioles, the club that pioneered the hit-and-run, the cutoff, the squeeze play, and the "Baltimore chop."
In 1902 he began his thirty-season reign as manager of the Giants, winning ten pennants-a record matched only by Casey Stengel. His career in baseball spanned forty years and two eras-from the game's raucous early days to its emergence as big business. Charles C. Alexander, a professor of history at Ohio University, Athens, and the author of Ty Cobb, calls John McGraw "perhaps the single most significant figure in baseball's history before Babe Ruth transformed the game with his mammoth home runs and unparalleled showmanship."