Inductee — Max George Carey

Carey1_5Max George Carey

Class of 1979




CAREY, Max George (“Scoops”) – born Max George Carnarius on Jan. 11, 1890, Terre Haute; died May 30, 1976, Miami, Fla. Pittsburgh (NL) 1910-1926, Brooklyn (NL) 1926-1929. OF. 2,476g, 9,363ab, 69hr, .285. MGR, Brooklyn (NL) 1932-1933 (146-161). Debuted Oct. 3, 1910. 5-11 1/2, 170, BB, TR. Hall of Fame 1961.

One of the game’s fastest runners, Hall of Famer Max Carey led the NL in stolen bases ten times between 1913 and 1925. His career total of 738 steals was a league record until Lou Brock broke it in 1974. Carey stole home 33 times in his career, second only to Ty Cobb’s lifetime total of 54. Carey was also an excellent center fielder who set several defensive records. His total of 339 career assists is the modern NL mark and his league record 6,363 career putouts stood until it was eclipsed by Willie Mays. A consistent hitter and a fine bunter, Carey was one of baseball’s first great switch hitters.

Carey became a professional baseball player almost by accident. He played for Concordia College in Fort Wayne, where he was studying for the Lutheran ministry. After graduating in 1909 Carey planned to enroll at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He tried out for the South Bend (Central) team, adopting the name ‘Carey’ to protect his amateur status. After the 1909-1910 school year, Carey rejoined the South Bend team and his baseball career began to blossom. Carey’s plans for the ministry ended, but his alias stuck.

Carey joined Pittsburgh late in 1910 and took over as the Pirates’ leadoff hitter a year later. In 1922 Carey stole 51 bases in 53 attempts. His record of 31 consecutive steals without being caught stood until 1975. Carey batted over .300 seven times with a career high of .343 in 1925. He hit for the cycle against Brooklyn on June 20, 1925. That fall Carey batted .458 in the Pirates’ World Series triumph over the Washington Senators.

In 1926 Carey teamed with two other future Hall of Fame outfielders, KiKi Cuyler and Paul Waner. That season Carey was involved in a squabble that led to his exile from Pittsburgh. Bill McKechnie managed the Pirates, but team stockholder Fred Clarke had appointed himself as a managerial assistant. Clarke, a former Pittsburgh field boss, kept second-guessing McKechnie’s decisions. Carey and several other players asked the front office to remove Clarke from the bench. The move backfired and Carey and the others were dispatched. In mid-August he went to Brooklyn for the waiver price.

Carey remained with the Dodgers through 1929, but in 1930 he rejoined Pittsburgh as a coach. In 1932 he became manager of the Dodgers. Brooklyn fired Carey after the 1933 season and offered the job to Carey’s first base coach, Casey Stengel. At Carey’s urging, Stengel accepted the job and began his legendary managerial career.
Carey served as a scout for the Baltimore Orioles in 1955 and briefly managed minor league teams in 1955 and 1956. Between 1944 and 1952 he was involved with several teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Carey was league president from 1945 to 1949.

After leaving baseball in 1957, Carey worked as a dog-racing official in Miami Beach. In 1961 the Veterans Committee elected him to the Hall of Fame. He was part of the original group inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. In 2001, a 6-foot-tall bronze and marble statue of Carey was dedicated at Terre Haute’s Memorial Stadium.

Carey inherited his nickname from George “Scoops” Carey, a big league first baseman at the turn of the century. The two Careys were not related.

From The Encyclopedia of Indiana-Born Major League Baseball Players, copyright (c) 2007 by Pete Cava. Reproduced with the author’s permission.