The Most Underrated Phillie Ever: Sherry Magee


Perhaps the greatest Phillie of the 1900s was Sherry Magee, a left fielder from tiny Clarendon, PA. Though his statistics during his 11 years with the Phils aren’t overwhelming (.299 BA, 75 HRs, 886 RBIs), he played in the deadball era, and led the NL in RBIs five times. He was also an expert diamond thief, stealing 387 bases for the Phils, 3rd all time. In their excellent 100 Greatest Phillies piece, Phillies Nation had him ranked #11. He was actually nominated to join the Hall of Fame last year through the Veteran’s Committee, but was not voted in. He made the jump directly from the sandlots to the Big Leagues, starting his first game when was but 19 years old.

Magee was also a notorious hothead, and his violent temper may have cost his team the pennant in 1911. This is from an excellent bio of Magee on bioproj.sabr.org: magee_sherry

Sherry was enjoying another banner year in 1911, but his season-and career-were marred by his actions in the third inning of a game in St. Louis on July 10. With the Phils leading, 2-1, Magee came to bat with one out and Dode Paskert on second and Hans Lobert on first. With two strikes, rookie umpire Bill Finneran called Magee out on what appeared to be a high pitch, prompting Magee to turn away in disgust and throw his bat high in the air. Finneran yanked off his mask and threw him out of the game. Sherry, who had been heading to the bench, suddenly turned and attacked the umpire, clutching him for a second before hitting him with a quick left just above the jaw. With blood spurting from his face, Finneran fell to the ground on his back, apparently unconscious.

He missed 29 games due to the ensuing suspension, and the contending team fell to pieces, finishing in 4th place. Magee was traded to the Braves in 1914, and in 1915, without him, the Phillies won their first pennant. Magee would finally get his chance to play in a World Series in the infamous 1919 clash as a pinch hitter for the Reds.



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