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Lee Magee

Second Base
  • Series: Jim Dandie Feds
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Tip-Tops
  • League: Federal League

Leo Christopher Magee (1889-1966) started his major league career in dramatic fashion as he and his Cardinal teammates helped rescue dozens of fellow passengers when their train wrecked in Connecticut. His manager Roger Bresnahan liked what he saw despite Magee's weak hitting, putting him in for the injured Miller Huggins at second and then moving him to left where he acquired the nickname “Flash.” Magee finished that 1911 season with a much improved batting average--.290--good for third on the team. Leo was a hothead, encountering numerous run-ins with umpires, squabbling with management over salary and even getting ejected mid-game for fighting—with teammate Ted Cather. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of his fiery style, John McGraw chose Magee as a member of a world-tour exhibition competing with Charles Comiskey's American Leaguers. He showed his flair for the dramatic could work on the field in a match in Medford, OR, when in pouring rain, he glided toward the line in left to make a grab while carrying an umbrella. The teams ended their circumnavigation of the globe aboard the Lusitania after their last games in England in March 1914. He was courted by the new Federal League Chicagos but remained with Mordecai Brown's Terriers for a fine season before finally jumping to the Brooklyn Tri-Tops in '15 where he also became, at 25, one of the youngest managers. He wasted no time demonstrating his temper, getting ejected in the first inning of the home opener. The experiment of trying such a youngster in the pilot's role failed as Lee's tough style alienated his veteran players and fans alike. His skill at bat and afield caused old mate Huggins, now managing the Yankees, to bring Magee aboard for the 1916 season. Huggins termed Lee “the prize of the Federal League collection.” Salary disputes, unsavory associations and union activity all combined to cast a long shadow over Magee's latter years. Finally, in 1919, he was ousted from the game with Hal Chase for allegations of throwing a game.

  • Despite a fine career average of .276 in nine seasons, Magee's tenure ended ignominiously due to a jury verdict that proved the precursor to MLB's crusade against gambling which culminated the next year in the Black Sox affair

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