One of baseball’s first self-made men, Frank Selee used that acumen to also lead his charges on the field. He never played baseball, but at the age of twenty-five he quit his job and spent his life savings to start his own team. By 1890, just five years later, he was managing the National League Boston Beaneaters. Selee would win the pennant in just his second year of managing, and then repeat the feat three more times in a row. After another pennant winning season in 1897, baseball expanded the schedule an extra twenty games helping him build the first 100 game winner in 1898. In 1902 he became the manager of the Chicago Orphans and was on his way to building that club to a level of respectability, raising them from 5th to 2nd place, before he had to leave the game at the young age of 45 for health reasons. Just four years later he died of tuberculosis. 110 years after he managed his last game, Selee still has the fourth highest winning percentage in Major League history.
Among his other contributions, Selee was the Chicago manager who put the final piece in place for Franklin Pierce Adams. When he moved Frank Chance from catcher to first base, he made the Cubs infield “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
July 20, 2011