After a brief major league career with the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics, Frank Shaughnessy moved to Montreal in 1912 to coach the football team at McGill University. The former Notre Dame gridiron star would lead the university to two championships.
In the off-season, “Shag” managed semi-pro baseball clubs in Hamilton and Ottawa. He also coached for the Detroit Tigers and was later hired by the International League’s Montreal Royals. While employed by the Royals in 1933, Shaughnessy introduced night baseball to the city and a revised playoff system that saw the league’s top four teams advance to the post-season. This format – dubbed the “Shaughnessy Plan” – was quickly adopted by other minor leagues.
After serving as interim field manager for part of the 1934 season, Shag returned to the Royals dugout for the 1935 campaign and transformed a sixth-place squad into pennant winners. A widely respected baseball man, Shaughnessy was named president of the International League in 1936 – a post he would hold until 1960. It was under his reign that baseball’s colour barrier would finally be broken, when the Montreal Royals signed Jackie Robinson on October 23, 1945.