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John Mahon (baseball)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Mahon
John J. "Sonny" Mahon.jpeg
Mahon, c. 1902
BornAugust 1851
DiedJune 19, 1928(1928-06-19) (aged 76)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Ellen Ward, Annie Berry

John J. "Sonny" Mahon (August 1851 – June 19, 1928)[1][2] was an American politician and professional baseball executive. He served as president and principal owner of the Baltimore Orioles of the American League in 1902. He was also a notable political boss in Baltimore, affiliated with the Democratic Party.

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Mahon succeeded Sydney Frank as team president of the American League's (AL) Baltimore Orioles in 1902.[3][4] The franchise would later relocate to New York City, becoming the New York Highlanders, and have been known as the New York Yankees since 1913.

Baltimore's owners felt that AL president Ban Johnson was hurting the team's fortunes. When John McGraw left the Orioles for the New York Giants of the National League (NL), Mahon and his co-owners supported McGraw.[5] In the meantime, Mahon purchased McGraw's shares in the Orioles.[6]

With the team in financial straits, reportedly owing $12,000 ($354,600 in current dollar terms),[7][8] Mahon purchased shares in the team from players John McGraw, Joe Kelley, and Wilbert Robinson, becoming principal shareholder of the Orioles.[7] Mahon then sold controlling interest in the Orioles to Andrew Freedman, principal owner of the Giants, and John T. Brush, principal owner of the Cincinnati Reds, on July 17.[7] In the day they owned the franchise, Freedman released the best players on the Orioles from their contracts so that they could be signed by National League teams: Kelley and Cy Seymour signed with the Reds, while McGraw, Joe McGinnity, Roger Bresnahan, Dan McGann, and Jack Cronin signed with the Giants.[9][10] Johnson, along with Orioles minority owners, took control of the Orioles franchise, which had to forfeit their game that day as they did not have enough players.[7][11]

Mahon was born in Baltimore in 1851; his parents had emigrated to the United States from Ireland.[2] He became a political boss associated with the Democratic Party,[12][13] serving 14 years as a member of the Baltimore City Council.[14][15] He was considered a Democratic political leader of Baltimore during his career.[16] Mahon was the father-in-law of Joe Kelley,[4][17] a major league outfielder between 1891 and 1908. Mahon died in his home city in 1928, having been married twice, and was survived by several children.[2]


  1. ^ "Sonny Mahon, Former Boss, Dies at Hotel". The Baltimore Sun. June 20, 1928. p. 1. Retrieved August 27, 2020 – via
  2. ^ a b c "Sonny Mahon, Once Political Leader of Democrats, Dies". The Baltimore Sun. June 20, 1928. p. 3. Retrieved August 27, 2020 – via
  3. ^ "President John J. Mahon". The Baltimore Sun. March 29, 1902. p. 6. Retrieved August 27, 2020 – via
  4. ^ a b "Baltimore's New Baseball President". The New York Times. February 18, 1902. Retrieved April 19, 2012 – via
  5. ^ The Pittsburgh Press – Google News Archive Search
  6. ^ Baltimore Morning Herald – Google News Archive Search
  7. ^ a b c d Keenan, Jimmy. "Joe Kelley". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  8. ^ The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search
  9. ^ Baltimore American - Google News Archive Search
  10. ^ Dewey, Donald; Acocella, Nicholas (2005). Total Ballclubs: The Ultimate Book of Baseball Teams. Sportclassic Books. p. 37. ISBN 1-894963-37-7.
  11. ^ "Freedman Buys Baltimore Club: President, Mahon Sells Out American Magnates to National League. Players Go To New York: Ban Johnson Organizing New Club to Retain Maryland City in Circuit. Johnson Discusses the Deal". Chicago Daily Tribune. July 17, 1902. p. 6. Retrieved March 22, 2012. (subscription required)
  12. ^ "John J. Mahon, Boss". March 10, 1910. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  13. ^ "Mahon's Pull Still Good". July 23, 1918. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  14. ^ Mahon, John J. (October 15, 1922). "Politics Is My Business And I Make It Pay". The Baltimore Sun. p. 95. Retrieved August 27, 2020 – via
  15. ^ "John J. Mahon Elected To City Council Seat". April 26, 1916. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  16. ^ "Mayor Disputes O'Conor's Claim To A. F. Of L. Backing". August 18, 1938. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  17. ^ The Pittsburgh Press
This page was last edited on 27 August 2020, at 20:15
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