SABR BIO PROJECT FRANK SHAUGHNESSY
This article was written by Charlie Bevis
Frank Shaughnessy was an outfielder who played nine major-league games in 1905 and 1908, compiling a .281 batting average in 32 at-bats. After more than a quarter-century in the minor leagues as a field manager and then business manager for several clubs, Shaughnessy was elected president of the International League in 1936. He served in the post for 24 years until his retirement in 1960.
Shaughnessy was an unconventional thinker who often proposed novel changes to baseball. His most famous idea was a system of postseason playoffs that was implemented in minor-league baseball in 1933, dubbed the Shaughnessy Plan. This system revolutionized how leagues determined their champions, and led to a radical change in how owners, players, and fans viewed success in professional sports. Abandoned in the Shaughnessy Plan was baseball’s longstanding sacrosanct philosophy that a first-place finish or having the best won-loss record was an absolute requirement to achieve success. Instead, surviving a short series of playoff games was deemed to be the pinnacle of success.
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