Jack McAdams

George Decalve "Jack" McAdams, born December 17th, 1886 in Bryant, AR, was a professional baseball pitcher from 1908-1914, a professional manager in 1909, and a professional umpire between 1913-1924. He played 6 major league games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1911.


McAdams House in Bryant, AR. Courtesy of the Saline County Library.
McAdams House in Bryant, AR. Courtesy of the Saline County Library.
Jack McAdams was the youngest of five children born to L.C. McAdams and Laura Elrod1 . The family lived in the small township of Bryant, AR2 and owned a farm about two miles south of there in a rural part of Saline County3 . Jack's father was a staunch Democrat and Methodist whose success in agriculture allowed the McAdams family to own a large amount of land. The McAdams children attended a local school4 , though two of Jack's sisters died before he became a teenager. Two other sisters went on to marry prominent local men. Jack himself grew to be a tall, slender young man with facial features that reflected his rural upbringing.

Jack's athletic physique allowed him to become a skilled baseball player. He began pitching for local teams from nearby Benton and other surrounding communities and soon became well known in the area5 .
McAdams with Memphis, 1907.
McAdams with Memphis, 1907.
It was said he could make a baseball "look like birdshot" when pitching and even throw a ball around a corner from a block or two away. As Jack became more renowned for his pitching abilities, he was given the opportunity to pitch professionally. In fact, he may have made his first appearance in minor league baseball as early as 1906 with Pine Bluff of the Arkansas-Texas League6 . A year later, he was given a tryout with Memphis of the Southern Association7 , and in 1908, he earned a regular pitching job with Argenta of the Arkansas State League. There, he pitched with considerable success, and by mid July had won 18 games and lost only 98 .

McAdams' impressive record with Argenta caught the attention of the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association. The Crackers were in the area that July playing a series with the Little Rock Travelers when they made a deal with Argenta to purchase McAdams9 . On July 19th, the Crackers returned to Atlanta, and McAdams traveled with them, bringing with him much support from his friends and family back in his hometown10 . His father went as far as to offer him one acre of land for every game he won with Atlanta. Unfortunately, McAdams' stay with Atlanta was only brief and he was unable to secure a win during his stay in the league. He made only two appearances with the team, walking 15 batters in 11 innings before Atlanta decided he wasn't ready for Southern League baseball. Instead, McAdams likely returned to Argenta11 , finishing the season in the Arkansas State League with a 21-13 win-loss record12 .

The following season, McAdams was given a tryout with Spokane of the Northwestern League13 . He failed to make the club, however, and went to Butte, MT to play in the small Inter-Mountain League14 . When the league collapsed in mid-season, McAdams returned to Arkansas and earned a position as a player-manager with Marianna of the Northeast Arkansas League15 . His success with Marianna was limited though, and under his leadership, Marianna finished next to last. Fortunately, his luck changed a little the next season when he played with Muskogee in the 1910 Western Association. No longer bearing the duties of a manager, McAdams performed very well. On June 11th, he pitched both halves of a doubleheader against Tulsa, allowing only 6 hits in 18 scoreless innings on the mound16 .

McAdams with St. Louis, 1911.
McAdams with St. Louis, 1911.
McAdams' success with Muskogee garnered the interest of the St. Louis Browns of the American League. That June, it was reported that St. Louis had purchased McAdams from the financially struggling Muskogee club for more than $1,00017 . The deal, however, fell through, likely because Muskogee was only guaranteed the money if McAdams was sold outright, and St. Louis wanted the agreement to be conditional18 . As a result, Muskogee President W.L. Tull sent McAdams to Waco of the Texas League instead. Supposedly, McAdams was given to Waco for the sum of $4.70, the cost of McAdams' railroad fare to join his new team19 . The nature of Tull's decision to give away McAdams when his club was in desperate need of finances is unclear. In any case though, McAdams jumped to Waco and finished the season there.

After the season, McAdams was acquired by Dallas from Waco, keeping him in the Texas League for the opening 1911 season20 . He reported to Dallas for spring training in February, and quickly began impressing the locals21 . On March 4th, he was given the opportunity to start against a squad of New York Giants players in an exhibition game, and after striking out six batters across nine innings, he defeated New York, 3-122 . McAdams' most impressive spring start, however, came on Sunday, March 20th against the Chicago White Sox. In that game, McAdams battled a 1-1 tie with Chicago's pitchers until the 11th inning when the White Sox finally got the best of him and scored the go-ahead run23 . Despite losing, McAdams earned considerable esteem for striking out 14 batters and pitching into extra innings24 . In fact, manager John McGraw of the New York Giants was very much interested in purchasing him, but Dallas decided to hold on to McAdams for the time being25 .

McAdams' early success that spring continued on into the beginning of the season. He was sent in to pitch for Dallas on Opening Day and in turn shut out Oklahoma City on three hits26 . Dallas used him regularly, and on April 27th, he pitched both halves of a doubleheader against Waco, allowing only 1 run in both games combined27 . A month into the season, he had won 7 games and lost only 128 . About that time however, McAdams' busy pitching schedule began to wear on him. He came down with a fever that turned into malaria, and his performance suffered29 . After several disappointing games, McAdams, undoubtedly frustrated by his health and poor pitching, began causing tension within the Dallas club30 . The issue became serious, and manager James Maloney decided in June to suspend McAdams indefinitely for violating club discipline31 . The move came as a surprise to many in baseball, and Dallas soon began receiving many offers to purchase McAdams32 .

McAdams with St. Louis, 1911.
McAdams with St. Louis, 1911.
Meanwhile, McAdams quickly left Dallas, supposedly heading somewhere with a better climate to help him fully recover from his illness33 . In reality, however, McAdams, angered by his suspension, traveled to Huntsville, AL and took a pitching job with the local Southeastern League club under the assumed name of "Allen"34 . He was still under contract with Dallas, and when news broke on July 7th that McAdams had been sold by Dallas to the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League, controversy was started. The deal, worth as much as $3,00035 , left Dallas attempting to locate McAdams36 . When it was discovered that he was in Huntsville pitching illegally, protests from the other Southeastern League teams were filed37 . McAdams had appeared at least twice with Huntsville, and as a result, the protests were sustained by the league president.

Amid the confusion, however, McAdams went to join the Cardinals. He made his big league debut with St. Louis shortly afterward on July 22nd. The game took place in New York against the Giants, and much like his other major league games that followed, it was limited to only a brief appearance late in the game with the Cardinals losing. Yet McAdams remained confident in himself38 , and between then and September 4th, he appeared in five more games. He pitched fairly well in most situations, but not well enough for St. Louis to allow him to start. Summing up his time with St. Louis, McAdams told a Dallas reporter during the offseason, "I didn't make any great sort of show, but I think my work was all right as much as there was of it."39

Upon the close of the season, St. Louis sold McAdams to Springfield, IL, who in turn sold him to Newark of the International League40 . McAdams reported to Newark's training camp at Petersburg, VA the next spring to prepare for the 1912 season. He was met with high expectations41 , but unfortunately, he was largely unable to live up to them. In May, after a rough start to the season, McAdams was sent to Galveston of the Texas League under the conditional agreement that if McAdams failed to perform well, he would be returned to Newark42 . It did not take Galveston long to realize, however, that McAdams was simply unable to pitch as well as he had with Dallas the year before43 . Consequently, Galveston released him back to Newark in June44 , and Newark decided to release him outright45 .

McAdams with Denver, 1912.
McAdams with Denver, 1912.
Now a free agent, McAdams opted to sign with Denver of the Western League46 . In July, a dispute over $70 made between he and former St. Louis teammate Harry Sallee made the papers, but was resolved when he was ordered to pay the debt to Sallee by the National Commision47 . Otherwise, the rest of McAdams' 1912 season was fairly uneventful, save for a shift to Sioux City in mid August. He stayed in the Western League the for remainder of the season and finished with a 5-6 record48 .

After 1912, McAdams' never again played a full season of professional baseball. An arm injury, perhaps suffered as early as when he was with St. Louis, began to plague his career49 . He signed with Fort Worth in 1913 and reported to spring training, but his arm troubles kept him from getting into proper condition and joining the team50 . Instead, he began umpiring college games around the Fort Worth area51 , and may have even briefly played outlaw ball in St. Louis52 . In May, he tried to make an appearance with the Wichita Falls team of the Texas-Oklahoma League, but injuries again kept him from doing so53 . He remained in the league for a time, however, as an umpire.

Over the next couple of years, McAdams attempted several times to make a comeback in professional baseball. In the spring of 1914, he joined the Waterloo club of the Central Association54 . However, on May 14th, in his first start of the season, he walked four batters in only 1 1/3 innings. He was subsequently let go to join an independent team in nearby Mason City, IA, with whom he appeared with in early June55 . In July, he managed to earn a start with Austin of the Texas League, but lasted only 3 2/3 innings in a losing effort56 . As a result, he did not make another start with Austin. In the spring of 1915, he tried again to enter the Texas League, this time with Shreveport. He was the first player to report for spring training, but arm injuries again troubled him and he was released before the start of the season57 . Afterward, he may have tried to earn a tryout with the Chicago Whales of the Federal League, who had trained in Shreveport that spring58 . If he did, he did not succeed in earning a position with the team. Instead, he went to Denver that July looking for a job, and in August appeared with a locally sponsored semiprofessional team known as the Sullivan & Hoffers59 . This is McAdams' last known pitching appearance.

No longer able to pitch professionally, McAdams returned home to Arkansas, and by June, 1917, he was working as a railroad conductor for the Arkansas Short Leaf Lumber Co. in Pine Bluff, AR60 . His baseball career, however, was not entirely over. He umpired for many years in numerous minor leagues, including in the 1921 Mississippi League61 , the 1922 Southwestern League62 , and the 1924 Cotton States League63 . Later, he worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad and eventually moved to California64 .

At some point, McAdams married and had at least one child65 . While in California in 1937, McAdams was admitted to a San Francisco hospital, and on May 21st, he died at the age of 5066 . The remains were returned to Arkansas and a funeral was held at the home of his sister Nancy. He was interred at Bryant Cemetery in his hometown.

McAdams' signature.
McAdams' signature.


For contemporary newspaper excerpts concerning McAdams, see Jack McAdams Excerpts.


The following is a record of teams McAdams appeared with in regular season play:


The following is a gamelog of McAdams' six games with St. Louis in 1911:


1 1900 U.S. Census
2 Steve Purdue, Saline County Library
4 1900 U.S. Census
5 Atlanta Constitution, 7/26/1908
6 Dallas Morning News, 3/23/1911
7 Atlanta Constitution, 7/21/1908
8 Atlanta Constitution, 7/21/1908
9 The Sporting News, 7/23/1908
10 Atlanta Constitution, 7/26/1908
11 McAdams' 21-13 record suggests he pitched 7 more games with Argenta sometime after being sold to Atlanta.
12 1909 Reach Baseball Guide
13 Spokane Press, 3/24/1909
14 Anaconda Standard, 4/23/1909
15 Jonesboro Daily Tribune, 7/22/1911
16 Kansas City Star, 6/12/1910
17 Dallas Morning News, 6/9/1910
18 Dallas Morning News, 3/23/1911
19 Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 7/21/1910
20 Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 12/28/1910
21 Dallas Morning News, 2/19/1911
22 Dallas Morning News, 3/5/1911
23 Dallas Morning News, 3/20/1911
24 Dallas Morning News, 3/23/1911
25 Dallas Morning News, 3/23/1911
26 Dallas Morning News, 4/13/1911
27 Dallas Morning News, 4/28/1911
28 Dallas Morning News, 5/14/1911
29 Dallas Morning News, 5/21/1911
30 El Paso Herald, 6/26/1911
31 Dallas Morning News, 6/23/1911
32 El Paso Herald, 6/29/1911
33 Dallas Morning News, 6/27/1911
34 Jonesboro Daily Tribune, 7/22/1911
35 Dallas Morning News, 2/26/1912
36 Dallas Morning News, 7/9/1911
37 Jonesboro Daily Tribune, 7/22/1911
38 The Sporting News, 8/17/1911
39 Dallas Morning News, 10/25/1911
40 Dallas Morning News, 2/25/1912
41 Dallas Morning News, 2/25/1912
42 Galveston Daily News, 7/24/1912
43 The Sporting News, 5/30/1912
44 Galveston Daily News, 6/15/1912
45 Galveston Daily News, 7/24/1912
46 Denver Post, 6/22/1912
47 Sporting Life, 7/27/1912
48 1913 Reach Baseball Guide
49 Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2/21/1915
50 Dallas Morning News, 4/5/1913
51 Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 5/8/1913
52 Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 5/13/1913
53 Wichita Falls Time, 5/27/1913
54 Waterloo Evening Courier, 3/9/1914
55 Mason City Globe-Gazette, 6/2/1914
56 Dallas Morning News, 7/18/1914
57 Dallas Morning News, 3/28/1915
58 Chicago Daily Tribune, 4/15/1915
59 Denver Post, 8/4/1915
60 McAdams' WWI Draft Card
62 Muskogee Times Democrat, 7/22/1922
64 Benton Courier, 1937
65 McAdams' WWI Draft Card
66 Benton Courier, 1937
67 Official records list McAdams with 5 Runs Allowed