Joe McGinnity

Joe McGinnity

OF, P, 3B, 2B
Iron Man
March 20, 1871
5' 11"
206 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-18-1899 with BLN
Hall of Fame:


Only Cy Young won more professional baseball games than Joe McGinnity, who racked up 480 victories in 35 seasons in the major and minor leagues. Had he not developed a wicked underhanded delivery, McGinnity may have never broke into the major leagues and went on to a Hall of Fame career. As a rookie he won 28 games and never looked back. For the next decade he averaged 25 wins a season, pitching over 300 innings every year but one. Later with the Giants, he and Christy Mathewson formed a feared duo on the mound, helping New York to two pennants. McGinnity paced the NL in innings seven times and games pitched six times. His final year with the Giants was 1908, but he pitched far longer than that, preferring to accept a playing manager role with Newark in the Eastern League. Later he pitched while serving as manager, GM, and league president in various minor leagues. In all, McGinnity pitched in the minor leagues for 20 seasons, racking up 234 wins to go along with his 246 in the majors.

Quotes About

"McGinnity was a magician in the box. It was difficult for a batter to get his measure. Sometimes his fingers would almost scrape the ground as he hurled the ball. He knew all the tricks for putting a batter on the spot." — Connie Mack, in his biography My 66 Years in the Big Leagues

"Nothing can hurt my arm. I can throw curves like that all day. Last year, I pitched a 21-inning game for Peoria that took four hours. I never hurt my arm." - Joe McGinnity

Minor Leages

In an era long before sophistacted scouting systems, McGinnity lay hidden in the bush leagues and did not debut in the majors until he was 28 years old. McGinnity won 480 games (or so, depending on your sources) in his professional pitching career. He tallied 246 in the major leagues and 234 in the minors. With Newark of the Eastern League, for example, he went 87-64. He won 63 games for Tacoma, 27 for Butte or Butte-Great Falls, and 26 with Dubuque. In all, he hurled for ten different minor league clubs in a career that stretched for 30 years.

Replaced By

When John McGraw lost McGinnity in 1909, he had Rube Marquard, another future Hall of Famer, to replace him in the rotation.

Best Season

The 33-year old right-hander led the National League with a 1.61 ERA, 35 wins, 51 games pitched, five saves, 408 innings and nine shutouts.


In 1903, Joe McGinnity set a league record by throwing 434 innings, a mark which still stands. That season he completed 44 of his 48 starts.

McGinnity made 100 errors as a pitcher.


McGinnity was a no-nonsense man. When he arrived in the majors he was one of the biggest players in the league, weighing in at well over 200 pounds. He was just 5' 11" but stocky and thick. He was known to get into a fight once and a while. He fought with teammates, opponents and even umpires, once spitting in the face of arbiter Tom Connolly. When he was 54-years old, McGinnity was still in good shape, winning six games for Dubuque of the Mississippi Valley League.


Notable Achievements

    * NL ERA Leader (1904)
    * 5-time NL Wins Leader (1899, 1900, 1903, 1904 & 1906)
    * 2-time NL Winning Percentage Leader (1900 & 1904)
    * 6-time League Games Pitched Leader (1901/AL & 1903-1907/NL)
    * 3-time NL Saves Leader (1904, 1907 & 1908)
    * 4-time League Innings Pitched Leader (1900/NL, 1901/AL, 1903/NL & 1904/NL)
    * 2-time League Complete Games Leader (1901/AL & 1903/NL)
    * NL Shutouts Leader (1904)
    * 15 Wins Seasons: 9 (1899-1907)
    * 20 Wins Seasons: 8 (1899-1906)
    * 25 Wins Seasons: 6 (1899-1901, 1903, 1904 & 1906)
    * 30 Wins Seasons: 2 (1903 & 1904)
    * 35 Wins Seasons: 1 (1905)
    * 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 9 (1899-1907)
    * 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 9 (1899-1907)
    * 400 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1903 & 1904)
    * Won a World Series with the New York Giants in 1905
    * Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1946

Records Held

    * Hit batters, season (since 1893), 40, 1900

Further Reading

    * Don Doxsie: Iron Man McGinnity: A Baseball Biography, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2009.


Source and Links:

1905 World Series, Baltimore Orioles, Brooklyn Dodgers, Christy Mathewson, Committee on Baseball Veterans, Eastern League, Hall of Fame, Iron Man, Joe McGinnity, John McGraw, New York Giants
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