This Day In D.C. Baseball History: Washington Senators' Owner Clark Griffith Dies

On October 27, 1955, "The Old Fox" Clark Griffith died in Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C. Griffith had played in Washington since 1912, buying a controlling interest in the franchise in 1920 and owning the team for 35 years before passing it on to his son, Calvin, who relocated the team to Minnesota.

Clark Griffith's playing days ended in 1914. The 5'6'' right-hander out of Clear Creek, Missouri played twenty seasons in the American Association, National and when it was formed in 1901, the American League between his big league debut with the St. Louis Browns on April 11, 1891 and his final game as a Washington Senator on October 7, 1914. Griffith managed the Washington Senators from 1912-1920 when he left the bench for the front office, having purchased a controlling interest in the franchise with the help of a Philadelphia-based business man named William Richardson the previous year.

As the Senators' manager, Griffith, known as "The Old Fox", led Washington to a 693-646 record overall, but never finished better than second in the American League. Four years and four managers after Griffith left the bench, however, Bucky Harris took charge of the 1924 Senators and guided them to the first AL Pennant and the only the World Series Championship in the franchise's history. Over the next nine seasons, the Senators would return to the Fall Classic twice, but they would never again win the World Series.

The last postseason appearance before the 2012 Nationals brought playoff baseball back to D.C., took place in 1933, when the Joe Cronin-led and managed Senators finished first in the American League before getting beat 4-1 by the New York Giants in the '33 Series. In 1934, Washington won 33 less games than they had the previous season and finished seventh out of eight teams in the AL. Cronin, who finished his career as a Senators with a .304/.387/.455 line was traded to Boston that year for infielder Lyn Lary and $225,000 that the cash-strapped Griffith needed to remain in business.

Griffith remained owner of the Washington Senators until his death in 1955, but the Senators would never again return to the World Series.

On October 27, 1955 the 85-year-old "Old Fox" died in Georgetown Hospital. According to his obituary in the New York Times, he entered the hospital for treatment of neuritis and three days later, "... suffered stomach hemorrhages and was put on the critical list." After rallying, Griffith passed away.

Ownership of the franchise was passed on to his adopted son, Calvin Griffith, who would move the team to Minnesota six years later. Clark Griffith's New York Times' obituary notes that he was considered by many the "shrewdest player-trader in the game."

When then-President Harry Truman attended a Senators game in 1948, he referred to Calvin Griffith as, "... a shining example of what this great country of ours can produce." Griffith was buried in Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Brentwood, Maryland.

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