Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, July 16, 1995, pg. 20
Last week here in our Historical Notebook we featured a horse head token issued by the McGuire Brothers Saloon in Albion. This week we are featuring information about the most famous of the brothers, James “Deacon” McGuire (1863-1936). Originally a native of Youngstown, Ohio, James came to Albion to live in 1893.
James was a professional ball player for 265 years from 1883 to 1909. He would help his brother operate the business during the off season, while the rest of the time he was making major-league history holding the record for most consecutive games by a catcher.
James McGuire began his career in 1883 with the Cleveland Nationals. In 1885 he joined the Detroit Nationals, and then from 1886 to 1888 caught for the Philadelphia Nationals. In 1895 McGuire set a major league record for catching in every inning of 132 consecutive games played by the Washington Nationals. In 1903 he played for the Detroit Tigers and from 1904 through 1906 he caught for New York. James managed the Boston Red Sox in 1907-08, and also appeared as a pinch hitter. From 1909 to 1912 he managed the Cleveland Indians.
He returned to the Tigers organization as a coach in 1912, where he played his last major league game after Ty Cobb was thrown out of a game. McGuire had to field a team when the regular players walked off in a dispute and ended up getting a hit, although Detroit lost 24-2. James retired from the Tigers organization in 1924. He coached the Albion College baseball team in 1926.
“Deacon Jim” as he was known, held the major-league catching record, and caught virtually bare handed with a fingerless glove. This was quite evident by his gnarled, broken, bent, split and crooked fingers. His wife May (Husford) McGuire once remarked, “The only precaution I ever saw Jim take, was to put a piece of beefsteak in the glove when he caught the powerful balls. At game’s end it would be hamburger.” Such was the type of catching in those days.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of “Deacon” Jim McGuire in his Detroit Tigers uniform, 1906. This is part of a lifesize photo of McGuire which hung in the saloon here in Albion. There is another photograph of McGuire in his catcher’s uniform, in my book “History of Albion” which is [long SOLD OUT].
“Deacon” Jim McGuire
Next: MCGUIRE BROTHERS, PART 3
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic