Joe “Iron Man” McGinnity began his big league career when Cy Young was in his prime. He was still firing away in the minors when Lou Gehrig joined the Yankees.
Like Rickey Henderson, Julio Franco and Manny Ramirez, some guys just can’t get baseball out of their system.
Our Photo of the Day from RMY Auctions is an original August 1922 newspaper photo of the Hall of Fame pitcher at age 51, sitting for a portrait as he dons the uniform of the Dubuque team in the Mississippi Valley League. The 5×7 image is currently among more than 300 offered at auction this month. It includes the dated International Newsreel caption, still attached to the back.
McGinnity may have been making up for lost time. He didn’t get to the major leagues until he was 28 but once there, he became one of baseball’s best. The original Iron Man was durable, averaging over 344 innings pitched per season. He teamed with Christy Mathewson in the early part of the 20th century to form a terrific one-two pitching punch that baffled National League hitters.
He won 246 games in the majors—then 240 more in the minor leagues before finally retiring in 1925 at age 54. Despite the amazing workload, McGinnity told writers he never had a sore arm, crediting, in part, a variety of pitching motions (overhand, sidearm and occasionally his underhanded curve, “Old Sal”).
A year after this picture was taken, McGinnity logged 206 innings for Dubuque, while managing the team.
Sadly, he wouldn’t live to see 60, dying of bladder cancer in 1929.
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