How Old is Jack McKeon?

You know Jack McKeon is old — for a MLB manager, anyway. He’s 80, turning 81 in November.

But do you really grasp how old he is, and how long he’s been a manager?

Consider this: when Jack McKeon took his first managing job, leading the Fayetteville (NC) Highlanders to a 70-67 record,

– Dwight D. Eisenhower was President
– a gallon of gas cost 29 cents
– minimum wage was 75 cents an hour
– a postage stamp was 3 cents
– UHF TV had just been invented
– the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, and the Giants in Harlem
– Chevrolet just introduced the V-8 engine; it had an oil filter that couldn’t be changed
– The Tappan Zee Bridge did not yet exist
– The Wizard of Oz had never been shown on TV
– Rosa Parks had not yet sat in front of the bus
Johnny Sain and Bob Feller were still pitching, and Ralph Kiner and Phil Rizzuto still playing

The Honeymooners TV show had not yet debuted (though it started in October, right after the season ended)

And of course, there was no such thing as the Mets or the Marlins back then, either.

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Joe July 23, 2011 at 11:57 am
    “No one had yet seen The Wizard of Oz”

    I’m not sure what this means.

  2. Tom July 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm
    Actually, the Wizard of Oz movie came out in 1939 – I don’t think Jack is that old!
  3. Joe Janish July 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm
    Sorry, I meant no one had seen the Wizard of Oz on TV. It wasn’t shown on television until 1956.

    But glad someone is paying attention!

  4. murph July 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm
    The first big league team he managed was the 1973 Royals. He was 42.
    They won 88 games, finishing 6 games behind the World Champion A’s.
    The team included:
    – now-retired manager Lou Piniella.
    – The father of current major leaguer John Mayberry.
    – Rookies George Brett and Frank White
    Plus Cookie Rojas, Freddie Patek, Amos Otis, Hal McCrae.

    6 players from that team are deceased:
    Joe Hoerner, Jerry May, Bruce DalCanton, Paul Splittorf, Ed Kirkpatrick, Steve Mingori.