Connie Mack Style

Just a quick link, I wrote a blog post over at AlwaysBeSuited.com, a new men’s fashion and style concern from my friend Dave. The subject is Connie Mack, for 50 years the uber-manager of the Philadelphia Athletics and since then the baseball legend, and his preference for suits in the dugout:

Connie Mack remains an icon of style in an otherwise uniform environment. Mr. Mack, as everyone called him, was a businessman and a baseball man who coached the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 years. No coach has won more games, over 3,500, and no coach has looked better doing it.

He wore a tailored suit and the hat to match in the dugout, for every single game. He was rarely, if ever, known to waver from that uniform, a gentleman among the brawlers and ruffians of the early century. Only the baseball scorecard that he kept at hand and used to direct his outfielders suggested his occupation.

Here are a few facts and quotations, Mack-related and detachable collar-related, not all of which made it into that post:

  • Mack managed the same team, the Philadelphia Athletics, for 50 years. His attire matched the respect he required of his players, who referred to him only as Mr. Mack. He managed five teams to a World Series victory.
  • “[Baseball] is a game which is peculiarly suited to the American temperament and disposition; … in short, the pastime suits the people, and the people suit the pastime.” – Charles A. Peverelly I enjoyed the reference to suits, if only for the pun
  • Columnist Red Smith wrote: “Many people loved Mack, some feared him, everybody respected him, as far as I know nobody ever dislike him. There may never have been a more truly successful man. He was tough, human, clever, warmly wonderful, kind and stubborn and courtly and unreasonable, proud, humorous, demanding, unpredictable.” According to the stories, he was as willing to offer up as ass-kicing as he was to extend a helping hand.”
  • 1912: The Yankees introduce pinstripes for the first time, though it’s a myth that they added the stripes to thin the ample figure of star hitter Babe Ruth, who didn’t play for the Yankees until some years later.
  • The detachable collar was invented by a woman in Troy, New York, in 1827. Hannah Lord Montague, frustrated at the gnarliness of her husband’s shirt collars, decided to cut one of them off, wash the crap out of it, and sew it back on. A friend noticed the innovation and made it into a product. When a collar is detached, you can starch it until its the hardness of a pine board, and thereby gain the sternness of appearance that a commanding presence like Connie Mack would prize.
  • “I remember: Connie Mack always in same dugout seat in business suit, with high-starched collar, scorecard in hand, waving his outfielders into position.” – Allen Lewis, from the Philadelphia Inquirer, featuring memories of Connie Mack Stadium upon its closure

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