Born in Columbus, Ohio, he was a catcher in minor league baseball during the 1890s, also managing some of the teams for which he played. From 1902 to 1917, he served as general manager of the Columbus Senators in the American Association; he was also among the founders of that league. In 1908 he founded and was president of the Ohio State League, a Class D minor league which began operation as a six team league with teams located in Central/Southern Ohio. He became general manager of the St. Louis Browns from 1917–1922, developing the perennially poor team into one which lost the 1922 American League pennant by a single game.
In 1923, Quinn led a group that purchased the Boston Red Sox, and as team president he worked to restore the credibility of a franchise whose best players had been sold off by previous owner Harry Frazee. The group included businessman and former president of the Columbus Senators, Edward Schoenborn and Columbus physician Robert B. Drury, who had put himself through medical school playing and managing in the minor leagues in the early 1900s. However, the most important member of Quinn's ownership group, St. Louis millionaire Palmer Winslow, died in 1927. For the remainder of Quinn's tenure as Bosox owner, the team suffered from lack of finances and plunged into the basement of the American League.
After selling the Red Sox to Tom Yawkey in 1933, Quinn became general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1934-1935. He then joined the Boston Braves as team president and part owner from 1936 to 1945. After his 1945 retirement, he briefly served as a sporting goods executive, and then became president of the Baseball Hall of Fame from 1948 to 1951, leaving that position after suffering two strokes.
Quinn died at age 84 in Providence, Rhode Island, and was buried near Columbus. His son John J. Quinn served as general manager of the Braves following his father's retirement, continuing after the team moved to Milwaukee in 1953, and later served as GM of the Philadelphia Phillies. His grandson Bob Quinn served as general manager of the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, and San Francisco Giants between 1988 and 1996, and his grandson Jack Quinn served as general manager of the St. Louis Blues franchise in the National Hockey League. His great-grandson Bob Quinn (born 1968) is the current executive vice president - finance and administration and chief financial officer of the Milwaukee Brewers.By WIKI
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- Baseball Executive, Boston Braves, Boston Red Sox, General manager, Hall of Fame, St. Louis Browns, Team President