Date of birth: 12 October 1906
Primary position: Shortstop
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 1995
Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame: 1956
As manager of the Washington Senators in 1933, at the age of 27, Joe Cronin led his team to a 99-53 record, winning the American League pennant before losing the World Series to the New York Giants in five games; Cronin ended that season with a .309 average and 118 RBI and was second to Philadelphia’s Jimmie Foxx for MVP honors.
Just two years later, Cronin was traded to the Red Sox to replace Bucky Harris as Boston’s field general. During the next seven seasons, Cronin split time between making game-day personnel decisions on the field and playing shortstop at an average rate of 136 games per season, earning MVP consideration in 1937 and 1938. He also drove in better than 100 runs three times in that span and made the American League All-Star roster five times. After years of lackluster teams, Boston improved dramatically in the standings, with winning seasons in all but one year under Cronin during this stretch.
With the arrival of rookie sensation Johnny Pesky in 1942, Cronin started to play fewer games, appearing in just 173 games between 1942 until his retirement from his playing career in 1945. The following season, now serving as full-time manager and with several of his All-Stars back from war, Cronin led the Red Sox to a record of 104-50 and the American League pennant before losing a seven-game World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cronin managed just one more season with the Red Sox, compiling a team-record 1071 wins for Boston, and then moved to the front office, where he served for eleven more years. For his many accomplishments, Cronin was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1956 and is one of only seven former Red Sox players to have his number (4) retired by the team.
Career Batting Statistics through 2018 Season
Memorable Moments for Joe Cronin
- 26 October 1934 - Tom Yawkey ships Lyn Lary and $225,000 to Washington for newlywed Joe Cronin, who had only married the adopted daughter of the Senators owner Clark Griffith.
- 16 April 1935 - Joe Cronin makes his debut as player-manager for the Red Sox and Boston wins 1-0 over the Yankees in New York thanks to a two-hitter fired by pitcher Wes Ferrell.
- 2 September 1935 - In a slugfest with the Senators, Red Sox pitcher Jack Wilson's game-winning home run in the 11th inning gives Boston a 9-8 win over Washington at Fenway Park in the opening game of a doubleheader. Joe Cronin helps the home team's cause with a grand slam.
- 7 September 1935 - Joe Cronin hits into a game-ending triple play with the bases loaded in the ninth as Boston loses 5-3 to Cleveland. Cronin's line drive towards third hits Odell Hale off the side of the head, which caroms to shortstop Bill Knickerbocker. He in turn throws to Roy Hughes covering second, who then throws to Hal Trosky at first to finish the trifecta.
- 28 April 1938 - Boston ends a 6-1 win over New York at Yankee Stadium with a triple play. The base runners off with the pitch, the batter lines out to first baseman Jimmie Foxx, who them throws to Joe Cronin at second base for the second out. Cronin then fires back to Foxx at first to complete the trifecta.
- 30 May 1938 - Boston's Joe Cronin and New York's Jake Powell fight in the middle of the diamond after the Yankees outfielder is hit by a pitch thrown by Red Sox pitcher Archie McKain in the second game of a doubleheader. The fight lasts two to three minutes and both players are ejected, but the fight continues underneath the stands at Yankee Stadium. Both players are eventually separated by Yankee players, fined, and suspended ten days by the league.
- 9 July 1939 - Joe Cronin sets a franchise record by recording an RBI in his twelfth consecutive game.
- 9 July 1940 - Red Sox player-manager Joe Cronin manages the American League to a 4-0 loss against the National League after Yankees manager Joe McCarthy declines the honor. Red Sox All-Stars include Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Finney, and Doc Cramer.
- 2 August 1940 - Joe Cronin hits for the cycle in a 12-9 Red Sox victory over the Tigers in Detroit.
- 17 June 1943 - Player-manager Joe Cronin hits three-run, pinch-hit home runs in each game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park; Cronin would set an American League record that season with five pinch-hit homers.
- 19 April 1945 - Joe Cronin's days as a player end after he fractures his right leg sliding into second base in Boston's 4-3 loss to New York. However, he maintains his role as manager through the end of the 1947 season.
- 23 July 1956 - Joe Cronin, along with Hank Greenburg, is officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
- 15 January 1959 - Bucky Harris becomes the new general manager of the Red Sox after former player-manager Joe Cronin is voted in as American League president the previous day.
- 20 December 1973 - Joe Cronin retires as president of the American League; Lee McPhail takes his place.
- 29 May 1984 - The first two uniforms ever retired by the Red Sox are for former players Ted Williams (9) and Joe Cronin (4) during pre-game ceremonies in a contest eventually called off due to rain.
- 6 August 2013 - The Red Sox rally from a 7-3 deficit to win 15-10 over the Astros in Houston. Ryan Lavarnway ties a major league record by allowing four passed balls in the first inning while Jonny Gomes hits his fourth pinch-hit home run of the season in the sixth inning, one shy of Joe Cronin's record of five in 1943, and Jacoby Ellsbury becomes the third Red Sox center fielder to hit two home runs and score four runs in a game.