New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Ross Youngs

Ross Youngs (Baseball.  Born, Shiner, TX, Apr. 10, 1897; died, San Antonio, TX, Oct. 22, 1927.)  Of all the players he managed during his lengthy reign (1902-32) at the helm of the New York Giants, John McGraw had no more than three personal favorites.  Christy Mathewson was certainly one, the young Mel Ott was probably another, and Royce Middlebrook Youngs was definitely one.  Thus, the tragedy of Ross Youngs’ death at age 30 was a great blow even to the tough-minded skipper.  During his first seven full seasons with the Giants, Youngs never hit less than .300.  From 1920-24, the lefthanded hitter batted .351, .327, .331, .336, and .356, as the Giants won four straight pennants (1921-24) and two World Series (’21-22).  In 1925, Youngs’ averaged plummeted to .264 and at the end of that season, he was diagnosed as having Bright’s Disease.  This disorder, which produced high blood pressure, kidney malfunction, and nephritis, was also to claim club owner Charles Stoneham in 1936.  McGraw hoped to help Youngs recover and still keep him as a part of the team.  Youngs was used sparingly in 1926 (95 games) and was under constant medical supervision.  McGraw hired a male nurse to accompany him at all times.  Yet Youngs was literally a dead man walking in 1926 despite his .306 batting average.  His 114 hits included only 21 for extra bases.  He had led the N.L. in doubles in 1919 with 31 and in his five best years, 224 of his 941 hits had been for extra bases.  He was simply unable to play in 1927.  Youngs had been a key element in the Giants’ becoming the first N.L. team ever to win four straight pennants with his great seasons.  But his loss was more than just the absence of a quality player.  McGraw’s Giants were never the same, inspired team after Youngs’ illness.  Many observers felt that his loss, coming on top of Mathewson’s death in 1925 of tuberculosis, killed McGraw’s, and the Giants’, spirit.  The team was almost immediately revitalized after Bill Terry  became the manager in 1932.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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