Frank Selee

Frank Gibson Selee (October 26, 1859 – July 5, 1909) was an American Major League Baseball manager in the National League (NL). In his sixteen-year Major League career, he managed the Boston Beaneaters for twelve seasons, and the Chicago Orphans/Cubs for four.

Frank Selee
Frank Selee Baseball.jpg
Born: (1859-10-26)October 26, 1859
Amherst, New Hampshire
Died: July 5, 1909(1909-07-05) (aged 49)
Denver, Colorado
MLB debut
April 19, 1890, for the Boston Beaneaters
Last MLB appearance
June 27, 1905, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Managerial record1,284–862
Winning %.598
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

He was noted for his ability to assess and utilize talent, which gave his teams a great opportunity to be successful. His success is measurable in that he won five NL titles with the Beaneaters, including three years in a row from 1891 to 1893. After he left Boston, he went on to manage in Chicago where he built the basis for the Cubs' later success by signing and utilizing the talents of Frank Chance, Joe Tinker, and Johnny Evers. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 for his managerial achievements.


Selee was born in Amherst, New Hampshire.[1] He has been described as a "balding little man with a modest demeanor and a formidable mustache that gave his face a melancholy cast",[2] and shy and reticent in public. He left a factory job in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1884 to form a minor league team. His was success in the minors, which led his eventual move to the Major Leagues in 1890.

Noted for having a keen ability to assess talent,[3] Selee managed the Boston Beaneaters (1890–1901) and the Chicago Cubs (1902–1905). In his first season, the Beaneaters finished with a 76-57-1 record, while finishing 12 games behind the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. In the following year, the schedule increased to 140 games. His team finished 87-51-2, while winning the National League pennant (by 3½ games over the Chicago Colts, their first pennant since 1883. In 1892, the schedule increased to 150 games, while having a split season. The Beaneaters went 102-48-2 overall while winning the first half of the season, with the Cleveland Spiders winning the second half; the two teams played a "World's Championship Series" at the end of the season, with Boston winning five of the seven games played. They were the first team to ever win 100 games in a season. In 1893, the Beaneaters went 86-43-2 while winning the league pennant for the third consecutive year, winning by five games over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 1894 season was a bit of downgrade, though they went 83-49-1 while finishing 8 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. The following year, the team went 71-60-2 while finishing in a tie for fifth place with the Brooklyn Grooms and 16½ overall of the Orioles. The team rebounded a bit the following year, finishing 74-57-1 and in fourth place, although it was 17 games back of the Orioles. The 1897 season was a return to prominence as they went 93-39-3 while winning the National League pennant by 2 games over the Orioles. This was their fourth league pennant. After the season, the two teams played in the Temple Cup, with Boston losing in five games. The 1898 team went 102-47-3 while winning the league pennant once again, doing so by six games over the Orioles. This was the fifth and final pennant for Selee and the Beaneaters. As it turned out, it was the peak of his tenure with the Beaneaters. Although the team finished 95-57-1 in the following year (along with second place behind Brooklyn), the team finished the 1900 season 66-72-4 and in 4th place, the first under .500 season under Selee's tenure and the first for the team since 1886. He closed out his tenure with the Beaneaters in 1901 with a 69-69-2 record and a 5th place finish (20½ games behind the Pirates). On September 20th, he won his 1,000th career game, doing so in the second game of a doubleheader with the Chicago Orphans, winning 7-0. [4] In his tenure with Boston, he had won 1, 004 games, lost 649 while having 24 ties.

In 1902, he joined the Orphans. He managed them to a 68-69-6 record while finishing in fifth place and 34 games behind the Pirates, although it was an improvement from the team's 53–86 record the previous year. He improved the team (rechristened the Cubs) to an 82-56-1 record the following year while getting them a 3rd place finish (and 8 games back of the Pirates). They improved to a 93-60-3 record in his third season, although they finished in second place by 13 games to the New York Giants. With the Cubs, he created the famous Tinker to Evers to Chance infield combination, by converting Frank Chance from catcher to first base, Joe Tinker from third base to shortstop, and Johnny Evers from shortstop to second base.[2] The 1905 season was his last in the majors, as he resigned in June due to illness through after leading them to a 37-28 record. His successor was Frank Chance, who went on lead the Cubs to four National League titles and two World Series victories.[5] The last Cubs' title under Chance in 1910,[5] eight of top thirteen players from the 1905 team were still major contributors.[2] In total, he had 1,284 victories in 2,180 games as manager during his 16-year career, with a winning percentage of .598.[1] In all, twelve of his players went on be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.[2]


Selee died of consumption (tuberculosis) at the age of 49 in Denver, Colorado,[3] and was interred at Wyoming Cemetery in Melrose, Massachusetts.[1] In 1999, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee for his achievements as a manager.[6] He is one of only two people from New Hampshire to inducted into the Hall of Fame.[7] The other was Carlton Fisk, who was enshrined in 2000.[8]

Cultural referencesEdit

Selee appeared as a character in the 1991 episode "Batter Up" of the animated Back to the Future series, which involved Marty McFly and the Brown children traveling back to 1897 to help one of Marty's ancestors, a player for the Beaneaters, to improve his game. He was portrayed without his well-known mustache.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Frank Selee's career statistics". Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Ballplayers: Frank Selee". Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  3. ^ a b "Frank Selee's Obituary". The New York Times, Tuesday. July 6, 1909. Archived from the original on April 19, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Frank Chance's managerial statistics". Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  6. ^ "Frank Selee's Biography". Archived from the original on August 29, 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  7. ^ "New Hampshire Historical Society". Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  8. ^ "Carlton Fisk's career statistics". Retrieved 2008-12-17.

External linksEdit