Jan. 10, 2007
LUBBOCK, Texas. - Holy Cross baseball legend John "Jack" Barry has been selected as a member of the first-ever Veteran Class inducted into the new National College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Texas. Barry will join Lou Gehrig of Columbia, Joe Sewell of Alabama and Christy Mathewson of Bucknell as the four pre-1947 candidates that will be inducted. The ceremony will take place as part of a two-day celebration on July 3-4 in Lubbock. The announcement comes after the conclusion of a voting process that began with nominations of 300 candidates in last February and two elimination ballots over the past year.
The "Knute Rockne" of college baseball, as Barry has been called many times, was born in Meriden, Conn. As a player at Holy Cross (1905-08), Barry was named captain of the 1908 Crusader team and helped lead his team to their first 20 win season. His speed, glove, arm and bat qualify him as the greatest shortstop in Holy Cross history.
As a coach, Barry returned to coach the Crusaders in 1920 after playing eight years of professional baseball. Barry led the Crusaders to glory as a player in the early 1900s, and sought to do the same as a coach. He returned to Holy Cross in 1921 and started a career that earned him the reputation as the number one man among college baseball coaches.
In his first season he guided the team to a school record 30-win season. Barry would continue to coach the Crusaders for an unprecedented 39 seasons (1921-1960) finishing with a 616-150-6 (.802) record. He stands as the all-time winningest coach (by both number of wins and winning percentage) in Holy Cross Athletics history. Holy Cross had 68 consecutive non-losing seasons from 1893-1960. Barry coached the Crusaders from 1921-60 (40 years), and had two .500 seasons. He never lost more than 8 games in a season (and then only once), and his best seasons were 1924 (19-0), 1935 (22-1) and 1940 (15-1). He coached 25 players who played in the major leagues.
His 1924 team was undefeated, 19-0. Two other teams finished with only one loss and eight others had just two losses. His teams recorded eight Eastern Intercollegiate Championships and made six NCAA College World Series appearances. The 1952 team was NCAA Champion. The Crusaders made the NCAA Tournament the next three seasons ('53-56), but lost their first game each year. HC returned to the College World Series in 1958, winning its first two games before dropping two-straight to Missouri and USC, but finished ranked third in the nation. It was HC's highest ranking since the 1952 National Championship team. The 1960 club went 12-5 and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in nine years in Jack Barry's final season at the helm of the Crusaders. Barry was inducted into the Holy Cross Hall of Fame in 1956.
As a professional, Barry started his career with the Philadelphia A's when he was drafted by the legendary Connie Mack who stated that Barry was "the greatest shortstop there ever was." Mack traveled to Worcester personally to sign him up for the A's in 1908. As the starting shortstop, Barry figured prominently with his defensive play as a member of the old "$100,000 infield" of the Philadelphia Athletics. This "Baseball Hall of Fame" infield had Stuffy McInnis at first, Eddie Collins at second, Jack Barry at short and Home-Run Baker at third. They led the A's to the World Series in 1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914. Jack was then traded to the Red Sox and led them to the World Series in 1915 and 1916. He became player-manager in 1917 and managed the team to a second place American League finish that year. He was in the Navy in 1918, the year the Red Sox won the World Series. He returned in 1919 to the Red Sox but retired after being sold back to the A's and suffered a career-ending knee injury. Although his lifetime batting average was only .243, it was his defensive skills and timely clutch hitting that determined his greatness.