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Al Mamaux

Sport: Baseball

Born: May 30, 1894

Died: December 31, 1962

 

Albert Leon Mamaux was born May 30, 1894 in Dormont, Pennsylvania. He would earn the devotion of New Jersey baseball fans some four decades later as a highly successful pitcher and manager for the Newark Bears and coach of the Seton Hall Pirates.

Al’s father, John, was a man of substantial wealth, the owner of the leading awning business in Pittsburgh. Al’s father and grandfather were big baseball “bugs” so when he showed some talent on the pitching mound they encouraged him. A family friend, Barney Dreyfuss, owned the Pirates baseball team and he signed Al at the end of the 1912 season at the age of 18. By 1915, Al had tamed his lively fastball, sharp-breaking curve and deceptive changeup. He finished the year 21–8 and put off appendicitis surgery so he could make it through the end of the campaign.

Al was a sharp dresser and a noted bon vivant among his baseball peers. During the off-seasons, he pursued a professional singing career, going on vaudeville tours and starring in local productions. His taste for the finer things in life rankled his managers, however, and in 1916 he was briefly suspended. Even so, he turned in a second straight 21-win season. When Al’s weight ballooned in 1917 and his curfew-breaking continued, the Pirates shut him down in July and he ended the year with just two victories.

Mamaux2Al was through as a major-league star. He was traded to Brooklyn and won a grand total of 26 games between 1918 and 1923. He appeared in one game for the Robins during the 1920 World Series. Al continued to pitch in the International League, and was one of the better minor league hurlers of the late 1920s for the Newark Bears. In 1930, he agreed to serve as player-coach of the Bears. In one year, he turned the team from a .500 club to a 99-win team. In 1932, the Yankees purchased the Bears and made them their top farm team. Al skippered Newark to IL crowns in 1932 and 1933.

Al became a year-round Newarker during this time. He managed the liquor department of local department store during the off-seasons, and continued to perform professionally. In 1937, he took the job as baseball coach at Seton Hall. The Pirates played .795 ball during his six years at the helm, and Al coached an undefeated team in 1942 that starred Alfred Booth, John Ruthenburg, Lou Welaj and future actor Chuck Connors.

Seton Hall suspended its baseball program during World War II, so Al became the recreation director for Federal Telephone & Radio in Newark. He also ran baseball camps and performed at winter banquets. Al and his wife moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950s. He was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame in 1951 and the Seton Hall Sports Hall of Fame in 1975, 13 years after his death from a heart attack in 1962.

 

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