A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Joseph J. "Iron Man" McGinnity was born in Illinois on March 19, 1871. In 1890 he migrated to the coal mines of McAlester, Indian Territory, where he became a muleskinner. Mining was dangerous work, he discovered. He almost died in the 1892 Krebs Number Eleven Mine disaster, after which he found another line of work.
McGinnity made it to the major leagues in 1899. He was dubbed "Iron Man" because of his off-season job in a McAlester iron foundry. The first twentieth-century pitcher to "work both ends" of a doubleheader, McGinnity averaged forty starts per year. He won 247 games in his ten-year major league career for the Baltimore Orioles, Brooklyn Superbas, and the New York Giants.
After retiring from baseball, McGinnity built a home in McAlester and used baseball bats to decorate the interior. His wife, Mary, died in 1926. "Iron Man" McGinnity died November 14, 1929, in Brooklyn, New York, from complications from surgery. His body was returned to Oklahoma by train and lay in state at the Elks Lodge in McAlester before being buried beside his wife at Oak Hill Cemetery. His pallbearers were all former teammates.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bob Burke, Kenny Franks, and Royse Parr, Glory Days of Summer, The History of Baseball in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1999). "Joseph McGinnity," Vertical File, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, Ohio.
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