Sunday, April 26, 2009

Muggsy, part one

Mickey and Johnny McGraw, two young Irish brothers, arrived at New York some time in the 1850s, like so many others, to escape the awful famine and poverty of the old country. Then, like other poor immigrants, they were drafted to fight in the Civil War. Shortly after the war, Johnny got married but his young wife died in childbirth. The surviving baby girl was named Anna.

Johnny moved from town to town taking whatever jobs he could get, and in 1871 he settled in the town of Truxton, in central New York. He remarried, and on April 7, 1873 a son was born and they named him John Joseph McGraw. The McGraws would go on to have seven more children over the next twelve years.

Tragedy struck the family in the winter of 1884, when a debilitating fever swept through the family. Little Johnny's mother was the first to succumb, and his half-sister Anna, 13, died shortly thereafter. By the time the month of January in 1885 had passed, three more McGraw children had died.

In his despair Mr. McGraw became abusive toward his son and had no tolerance for the lad’s passion for the sport of baseball. Young John ran away from home at the age of 12. From that day onward, he was raised by a kindly neighbor, Mary Goddard, under whose care he did quite well….

Thus endeth the melodramatic prologue to the story of John McGraw, the greatest figure in the history of the Giants.

2 comments:

M.C. O'Connor said...

Irish immigrants and their American children made a huge impact on the early days of baseball, much like the last two or three generations of Caribbean players have made on the modern game.

Bob said...

I knew at least one member of the RMC fraternity would be a sucker for a good Irish sob story.