Atlanta Braves Top-Ten Franchise Managers– #3 Frank Selee

The forerunners of the Atlanta Braves were the 1890 Bostons managed by Frank Selee.
The forerunners of the Atlanta Braves were the 1890 Bostons managed by Frank Selee. / Transcendental Graphics/GettyImages
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Next up on my list of the Atlanta Braves best managers is a slightly built man with a glorious mustache, who held the franchise record for most games managed and won until 1993.

As my list of the Atlanta Braves Franchise’s best managers, we permanently enter Hall of Fame territory. Six former managers have plaques in Cooperstown, but only one never played a Major League game, Frank Selee.

Watch Maker to Team Builder

Frank Gibson Selee was born in Amherst, New Jersey, on October 26, 1859, and grew up in Melrose, Massachusetts. He played ball for the Melrose Alphas and had more will than skill.

Selee decided he wanted to run a team rather than play the game badly. His journey began in 1884 when he quit his paying job at Waltham Watches to create a new team for the city. He rounded up players and convinced local businesses to put $1,000 for a fence and seating. His new team didn’t last long, but Selee was undeterred,

He convinced Haverhill to hire him to manage their team in 1885 and performed well enough that Oshkosh two years later. It’s apparent that Selee had a good eye for talent and a knack for persuading owners to spend their money.

Innovation and success

In 1887, Oshkosh signed a 23-year-old player who had a few games in the NL but never didn’t impress teams enough to earn a contract, Tommy McCarthy, and a pitcher who made 16 starts for the Athletics in 1885, Tom Lovett.

Selee got word of an outfielder named William Hoy, a gifted outfielder and speedy base runner who threw out three baserunners attempting to score from second base. Hoy was the center fielder. But there was a problem; Hoy was deaf.

Hoy had taught teammates to use sign language, but he couldn’t hear the umpire call balls and strikes. He still hit .219 but had to turn around to see the call after every pitch.

Selee supported Hoy by giving him ball/strike calls from the third base coaches box, and Hoy asked umpires to give a signal when it was too dark to see Selee. Hoy batted .367, McCarthy 345. and Selee won his first pennant.