John McGraw was the living embodiment of Old School baseball. Debuting as a player in 1891 with the American Association Baltimore Orioles, he batted better than .300 nine times in his career and led the league in on base percentage three times, in part because of his amazing skill at drawing bases on balls. However, it was his skills as a manager that secured his place in the Hall of Fame. After managing the Orioles for two and a half seasons, he jumped to the rival National League in 1902, taking the helm of the New York Giants. He would manage the Giants for 31 years, winning 2583 games (2763 total-2nd on the all-time list), ten pennants and three World Series. Pugnacious, volatile and clever, McGraw was as well known for his development of “inside baseball” as for his temper. He was ejected from 131 games as a player and manager, a record that lasted until Bobby Cox passed him in 2007.
July 8, 2011