McGraw broke into the big leagues in 1891 with the now-defunct Baltimore Orioles. They were of the American Association that year, and moved to the National League in 1892, McGraw's second season. McGraw played third base and developed a reputation as an excellent contact hitter. He played with the Orioles through 1899, moved to the St Louis Cardinals in 1900, to the new Baltimore Orioles of the American League (soon to become the New York Yankees) in 1901 and 1902, and to the New York Giants in 1902. He would play for the Giants through 1906, but not full-time; after 1902, he would never get more than twelve at-bats, and in 1906 retired from playing altogether. Over the course of his career, McGraw hit for a .334 average, 13 home runs, and 462 RBI. Despite his anemic power output (which was not quite so humble by nineteenth century standards) McGraw's offensive value is perhaps best attested to by his career .466 on base percentage. This was the all-time record when McGraw retired and remains third all-time as of 2010, with only Ted Williams and Babe Ruth having achieved higher OBP.
In 1899, he was player-manager for the Orioles. He did not manage the 1900 Cardinals but did manage the 1901 and 1902 AL Orioles. He came to the Giants as a manager and continued to serve as skipper long after his retirement from his playing career, only retiring from the post in 1934. Over his long managing career, he compiled a 2736-1948 record, good for a .586 winning percentage. His 2736 wins are second all-time among Major League managers, behind only Hall of Famer (and longtime McGraw nemesis) Connie Mack.
In 1919 McGraw became part-owner of the Giants, as well as vice president and general manager, in addition to manager. This gave him total control over the Giants' baseball operations. Over the course of his thirty years with the Giants, McGraw's teams finished in first or second place 21 times and had only two losing records. They appeared in nine World Series (and refused to appear in a tenth), winning three. From 1921 through 1924, McGraw became to date the only manager to win four consecutive National League championships.
McGraw retired from baseball at the end of the 1932 season and died at age 60 a little over a year later. He was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.
John McGraw in The War That Came EarlyEdit
On July 4, 1937, an amateur baseball team made up of United States Marines stationed in Peking challenged another amateur team of their Japanese counterparts to a double-header. The two teams split the games, which Pete McGill remembered as being "rougher than any John McGraw's Orioles had played back in the '90s."
John McGraw in Joe SteeleEdit
As a consequence of the New York Giants' poor season in 1932, their manager John McGraw finally resigned after 30 years at the helm.
In the hours before an arson fire killed Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, reporter Mike Sullivan attended a minor league game between the New Haven Profs and the Albany Senators. Sullivan reflected on McGraw's recent resignation when he realized that the crowd at the game was probably larger than the ones attending New York Giants games.