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Joseph Edward Cronin (October 12, 1906September 7, 1984) was a Major League Baseball player from to and manager from to . He was a shortstop and was an All-Star seven times. Born in the Excelsior district of San Franciscomarker, Cronin broke into the majors in 1926 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and moved to the Washington Senators in .

Major League career

Baseball promoter Joe Engel, who scouted for the Senators and managed the Chattanooga Lookouts at Engel Stadiummarker got a steal of a deal on Cronin. When Engel first spotted Cronin playing in Kansas City, "I knew I was watching a great player. I bought Cronin at a time he was hitting .221. When I told Clark Griffith what I had done, he screamed, "You paid $7,500 for that bum? Well, you didn't buy him for me. You bought him for yourself. He's not my ballplayer - he's yours. You keep him and don't either you or Cronin show up at the ballpark." Cronin led the Senators ball club to the 1933 World Series and even married Griffith's niece, Mildred Robertson.

In , Cronin had a break out year, batting .346 with 13 home runs and 126 RBI. Cronin won both the AL Writers' MVP (forerunner of BBWAA official MVP established in 1931) and the AL Sporting News MVP for his work in 1930. His 1931 season was also outstanding, posting a .306 average, 12 home runs and 126 RBI.

Cronin assumed managerial duties in , a role he would continue with the Boston Red Sox, the team he was traded to prior to the season, by Senators' owner Clark Griffith - his own uncle-by-marriage. Cronin retired as a player in (though he was only a part-time player after ), but remained as manager of the Red Sox until .

Over his career, Cronin batted .300 or higher eight times as well as knocked in 100 runs or more eight times. He finished with a .301 average, 170 home runs and 1424 RBI. As a manager, he compiled a 1,236-1,055 record and won two American League championships (in 1933 and 1946). His 1933 Senators dropped the 1933 World Series to the New York Giants in six games, and his 1946 Boston Red Sox lost the 1946 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven contests.

At the end of the 1947 season, he succeeded Eddie Collins as general manager of the Red Sox and continued in that post through mid-January . The Red Sox challenged for the AL pennant in -49 (finishing second by a single game both seasons) thanks to Cronin's aggressive trades, but they began a slow decline during the 1950s and did not seriously contend after . While most attention has been focused on the Red Sox being the last major league team to integrate its roster (Cronin once passed on signing a young Willie Mays and never traded for an African-American player during his GM tenure), another factor was a large number of "bonus babies" who never panned out. In January 1959, Cronin was elected president of the American League, the first former player to be so elected. Six months later, on July 21, , infielder Pumpsie Green was recalled from the AAA Minneapolis Millers, becoming the first African-American to wear a Red Sox uniform.

Cronin served as AL president until the end of 1973, when he was succeeded by Lee MacPhail. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Famemarker (with Hank Greenberg) in 1956. Joe Cronin died at the age of 77 on September 7, 1984 in Osterville, Massachusettsmarker, and is buried in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in nearby Centerville.

His jersey number 4 was formally retired by the Red Sox on May 29, 1984. In 1999, he was named as a finalist to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

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