July 20, Heinie Manush 114 years later

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Born Henry Manush, the baseballer known as Heinie made up some of the best outfields in baseball history. Today would be his 114th birthday.

A native of Alabama, the Detroit Tigers signed Manush at age 20. The Tigers finished in with dismal records at that time. Even with Ty Cobb in 1920, they finished 14th out of 16 teams in Major League Baseball. The 61-93 record put them 7th out of 8 in the American League.

Technique-wise, Manush and Cobb shared the same approach at the plate – with a short, quick motion to the baseball. Cobb, who made choking up on the bat famous along with Honus Wagner, played and coached with Manush until 1926.

This is a great link about Cobb’s approach at the plate and how he passed it down to Manush. Must read.

Detroit rattled off five straight winning seasons after Manush joined the Major League squad, in large part due to their four-man outfield rotation.

Veterans Bobby Veach and Henry Heilmann joined Cobb and newcomer Manush to the Navin Field (not an easy outfield to navigate).

The group of position players is still considered by some fans the best hitting outfield of all time. When you factor in Fatty Fothergill, each player batted over .300 that season. They finished with a combined batting average of .350.
As a player-coach, Cobb led the team to an 83-71 record in 1923. Manush doubled his at bats as a starter the next season, with a .289 average at the end of the year.

His best season at the plate came in tandum with Heilmann and Fothergill. On the last day of the regular season, Manush went 6 for 9 to take the batting title away from his teammates. And Babe Ruth.

In 1928, Heinie doubled his salary in St. Louis. He posted a .378 batting average, tying his career high, and led the American League with 47 doubles.

It was in Washington where he reached his only World Series and All-Star Game. He shared the outfield with Goose Goslin (HoF 1968) and led the team to a 93-59 American League pennant in 1933. Lefty batter Manush led the AL with 221 hits and 17 triples that year.

At 32-years-old, Heinie batted .349/.392/.523 on an otherwise disappointing 1934 squad. All in all, he totaled six years with the Senators and wears their cap in the Hall of Fame.

Manush hit .330 for his career, which is tied for 30th best all time and five points above Fothergill.

Also on this day, this awesome story unfolded.

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