How Stuff Works
George Weiss when elected to the Hall of Fame
George Martin Weiss
- Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown
- Born June 23, 1894 in New Haven, CT USA
- Died August 13, 1972 in Greenwich, CT USA
Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1971
George Martin Weiss (June 23, 1895 – August 13, 1972) was an baseball executive. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
Weiss was one of Major League Baseball's most successful farm system directors and general managers. Working as the director of the New York Yankees' farm system from 1932 to 1947, he established it as one of the two best in the game, helping the Bombers win nine American League pennants and eight World Series championships. Then, during Weiss' tenure as the Yankees' general manager from 1947 to 1960, the team won 10 AL pennants and seven more World Series titles.
Weiss later became the first club president and general manager of the New York Mets from 1961 to 1966 after that expansion franchise was formed.
Early Life and career
George Weiss was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and attended Yale University. In 1915, he got his start in baseball when at age 20 he founded the New Haven MaxFeds in the independent Colonial League, an "outlaw" minor league associated with the Federal League. In 1919, Weiss borrowed $5,000 to acquire the New Haven franchise in the established Class A Eastern League, which was immediately nicknamed the Weissmen by local baseball writers. He operated the New Haven club, eventually nicknamed the Profs in homage to Yale, for a decade. Then, in 1930, Weiss took over the Baltimore Orioles of the Class AA International League for two seasons.
New York Yankees and the farm system
In 1932, at 37, he was hired by the Yankees to create a farm system, which had been pioneered in the National League by the St. Louis Cardinals and was the linchpin of the Cardinals' dominance of the Senior Circuit. Weiss grew the Yankee system from four farm teams in 1931 to 16 by 1939 and 20 by 1947. The Yankee farm system churned out many of the players who would lead the Bronx Bombers to their four consecutive (1936–39) World Series titles in the 1930s, their five straight titles (1949–53), and their six other championship clubs sprinkled throughout the rest of the 1940s and 1950s.
In October 1947, just after the 1947 World Series championship, Weiss was promoted to general manager of the Yankees, after the team's newly reconstituted ownership tandem of Dan Topping and Del Webb bought out original partner Larry MacPhail, who had also been general manager. Weiss led the Yankees to 10 AL pennants and seven world titles in 13 seasons. But after the Yanks were defeated in the 1960 World Series, Weiss and his longtime manager, Casey Stengel, were forced to retire.
A few years after their defeat in the 1960 World Series, the Yankees went into a very sudden decline. One reason was probably their reluctance to sign Black and Latin ballplayers. It is now widely accepted that George Weiss was a bigot. When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, a wide array of talented Negro League players (such as Willie Mays and Hank Aaron) became available. It has been widely speculated that these players were ignored purposely because of Weiss' racial attitude. The Yankees brought their first black ballplayer, catcher Elston Howard, up to the majors in 1955, eight years after Jackie Robinson began the integration of big league baseball with the Dodgers in 1947.
New York Mets
Weiss and Stengel would both return with the New York Mets. Weiss was named president and de facto general manager of the Mets in May 1961, and Stengel followed as skipper in 1962.
In Weiss' five seasons as Met general manager, the team escaped the NL basement only in Weiss' last year. He was succeeded by former Cardinal GM Bing Devine. He was named The Sporting News' Executive of the Year in 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1960. He was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1982.
Weiss died in Greenwich, Connecticut, at age 78 in 1972.By The Baseball Page