Joe Cronin was an established All-Star shortstop when the Red Sox acquired him from the Washington Senators in an October 1934 trade, with Lyn Lary and $225,000 going to Washington in exchange.
It was a good deal.
Cronin was installed as the Red Sox manager at age 28 and the manager put himself in the lineup at shortstop for most of the next seven seasons, earning five All-Star berths and leading the American League with 51 doubles in 1938.
He became a part-time player in 1942. He played in only three games in 1945 and had not appeared in any in 1946 before being released — as a player only — in June of that year.
In 11 seasons with Boston, Cronin hit .300/.394/.878, an OPS+ of 122, with 119 home runs, 737 RBI and 645 runs.
While he never played in the postseason for the Red Sox, he managed them to the 1946 pennant and is the winningest manager in team history, going 1,071-916 in 13 seasons.
Cronin stepped down as manager after the 1947 season to replace Eddie Collins, who had fallen ill, as Boston’s general manager, a role he held until 1958.
He was named American League president in 1958 and held the job until 1973, resigning because he did not want to move to New York, where Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was moving both league offices.
His No. 4 was retired in May 1984 along with Ted Williams’ No. 9 — the first two numbers officially placed out of service by the Red Sox, per the Society for American Baseball Research. Cronin was selected for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the writers in 1956.
He died Sept. 7, 1984 at the age of 77, following a long bout with cancer. He played two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and seven with the Senators before coming to Boston and hit .301/.390/.857 in his 20-year career.