Frank Selee

Frank Selee

Frank Gibson Selee

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown
  • Born October 26, 1859 in Amherst, NH USA
  • Died July 5, 1909 in Denver, CO USA

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1999

Frank Selee was the skipper of the Boston Beaneaters for twelve years and led the club to five pennants; three times in succession, 1891-1892-1893, and two-in-a-row, 1897-1898. The 1892 Beaneaters were the first major league club to win 100 games in a season. Selee later managed the Chicago Cubs for four seasons (1902 - 1905) and was responsible for assembling the famous Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combination.

Selee was born in Amherst, New Hampshire. Selee was a native of Melrose, MA and played ball with an amateur team in that city. He first played professionally in 1884 with the Waltham Club but finished the season with Lawrence. He left a factory job in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1884, to start his Haverhill Team and managed them in 1885 and 1886 seasons they played in the New England League. On the club were such players as Mike Slattery, Cooney, and Elmer Foster. In 1887 Selee managed the Oshkosh team which won the championship of the Northwestern League. In 1888 and 1889 he managed the Omaha Omahogs which won title championship of the Western Association in his second year with the club.

He has been described as a "balding little man with a modest demeanor and a formidable mustache that gave his face a melancholy cast", and shy and reticent in public. 

His was success in the minors, which led his eventual move to the Major Leagues in 1890.

Noted for having a keen ability to assess talent, Selee managed the Boston Beaneaters (1890–1901) and the Chicago Cubs (1902–1905). His Beaneaters captured five NL pennants during his tenure (1891–93, 1897–98). His 1892 team, aided by the first 150-game schedule in history, became the first team to win 100 games in a season.

Selee was highly respected for his knowledge of ballplayer ability - his 1890s Boston teams were made up of many future Hall of Famers such as Kid Nichols, John Clarkson, Hugh Duffy, Tommy McCarthy, and Jimmy Collins, Billy Hamilton, and Vic Willis.

With the Cubs, he created the famous Tinker to Evers to Chance infield combination, by converting Frank Chance from catcher to first base, Joe Tinker from third base to shortstop, and Johnny Evers from shortstop to second base. In all, twelve of his players went on be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In June, 1905, he became too ill to manage and surrendered his team to Chance, who went on lead the Cubs to four National League titles and two World Series victories. The last Cubs' title under Chance in 1910, eight of top thirteen players from the 1905 team were still major contributors. In total, he had 1,284 victories in 2,180 games as manager during his 16 year career, with a winning percentage of .598.

Selee died of consumption (tuberculosis) at the age of 49 in Denver, Colorado, and was interred at Wyoming Cemetery in Melrose, Massachusetts. In 1999, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee for his achievements as a manager. He is one of only two people from New Hampshire to inducted into the Hall of Fame. The other was Carlton Fisk, who was enshrined in 2000.

Cultural references
An animated representation of Selee appeared, as a speaking role, by name, in the 1991 episode "Batter Up" in Back to the Future: The Animated Series, which involved Marty and the Brown children traveling back to 1891 to help one of Marty's ancestors, a player for the Beaneaters, to improve his game.

He and Sid Farrar operated a clothing store together after Sid's major league days.

    "He has never failed, in minor or major leagues, to get together a team of winners." - Sporting Life, 1893

By The Baseball Page

1999 Hall of Fame, Frank Selee


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