|Name||Robert E. "Bob" Short|
, Minnesota , United States
|| July 20, 1917
|Died||November 20, 1982
|Contributor||The Oncoming Storm|
|Last Modifed||Mr. Matt|
Apr 21, 2012 05:18pm
|Info||Robert Earl Short (July 20, 1917 - November 20, 1982) was an American sport teams owner and politician. |
A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Short bought the Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association in the late 1950s and moved the team to Los Angeles in 1960. He later sold the team in 1965 to Canadian magnate Jack Kent Cooke.
Outbidding comedian Bob Hope, Short then bought the Washington Senators Major League Baseball franchise in the autumn of 1968. The Senators had just finished in the American League basement and were last in the majors in attendance. Short immediately installed himself as the team's general manager and hired Hall of Famer Ted Williams - the major leagues' last .400 hitter - as its field manager for 1969.
Miraculously, the '69 Senators improved by 21 games and posted 86 victories en route to the only winning season the expansion-era version of the club would experience in its 11-year lifespan. Williams coaxed career-best batting averages out of a number of Washington hitters. With a winning team, Williams as a drawing card, and the 1969 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, the Senators almost doubled their 1968 attendance, to over 918,000 paid spectators.
But it was a one-year wonder. The 1970 edition won only 70 games and fell into the basement of the American League East Division. Players began to complain about Williams's approach to managing - and batting. At season's end, Short dealt his best starting pitcher and the left side of his infield to the Detroit Tigers for erstwhile 30-game-winner Denny McLain, who had spent most of the 1970 campaign suspended because of gambling allegations. The deal turned the Tigers back into contenders, while McLain was a monumental bust, losing a league-worst 22 games. The Senators' attendance sunk back to near-1968 levels and Short successfully petitioned the AL to move the franchise to Arlington, Texas, where it became the Texas Rangers in 1972. The Senators' move to Texas would make Short one of the most reviled figures in Washington sports. During the final Senators game at RFK Stadium on September 30, 1971, the fans let their feelings known about Short, the most infamous being the unfurling of a giant banner that read "Short Stinks", as well as the fans storming the field near the end of the game, resulting in a forfeit.
In Texas, Short is infamously remembered for drafting high school phenom David Clyde and rushing him into the major to sell tickets, blowing out Clyde's arm within two years. The Rangers remained a cellar-dwelling unit and did not begin to win consistently until he sold them to new, local ownership in 1974.
Short then returned to Minnesota, where he had run unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1966. He was the Democratic candidate for United States Senate in 1978 but lost again. He was a longtime member of the Democratic National Committee.