From the sandlots of San Francisco to the power centers of baseball, this book tells the story of Joe Cronin, one of twentieth-century baseball’s major players, both on the field and off. For most of his playing career, Cronin (1906–84) was the best shortstop in baseball. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956, he was a manager by the age of twenty-six and a general manager at forty-one. He was the youngest player-manager ever to play in the World Series, and he managed the Red Sox longer than any other man in history. As president of the American League, he oversaw two expansions, four franchise shifts, and the revolutionary and controversial introduction of the designated-hitter rule, which he wrote himself. This book follows Cronin from his humble beginnings to his position as one of the most powerful figures in baseball. Mark Armour explores Cronin’s time as a player as well as his role in some of the game’s fiercest controversies, from the creation of the All-Star Game to the issue of integration. Bringing to life one of baseball’s definitive characters, this book supplies a crucial and fascinating chapter in the history of America’s pastime.