Monday, June 12, 2023

Honoring Connie Mack's Grave


     Baseball is a huge part of my life. Being a Phillies fan means that a lot of my life has been a disappointment in terms of rooting for a successful team. The Philadelphia Athletics have been gone from our city for almost 70 years, yet they may still be the more successful franchise overall. I consider myself a student of the game and particularly love pre-war era baseball. Philadelphia has a rich history in terms of the advent of modern baseball, with Cornelius McGillicuddy being at the forefront of Philadelphia baseball.

    Connie Mack played 11 seasons in the majors. He was a catcher who was known as a smart player who did not do anything particularly well as a player. Mack then managed the minor league Milwaukee Brewers from 1897-1900. It was in 1901 when Connie became manager, treasurer, and part-owner of the Philadelphia Athletics. He managed there through the 1950 season and compiled a 3,582–3,814 (.484) record when he retired at 87. Mack won nine pennants and appeared in eight World Series, winning five.
    Mack's legacy as part of Philadelphia lore is untouchable. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937. Shibe Park was renamed to Connie Mack Stadium in 1953. It was the Phillies' home ballpark from 1938 through the 1970 season. 

    This brings us to why and how we came across Connie Mack's grave and decided to bring it back to beauty. David and his Dad have family buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham, PA. David reached out to his friend Chris H. about the state of the grave and wondered what could be done about it.
Chris H. contacted me and I posted information about our intentions on our social media pages. Ed was the first to reach back out. Ed has experience in cleaning military graves and would make sure we are doing the right things to preserve the stone. Brian also reached out and offered some non-toxic chemicals from the company he works for that are made specifically for Mold, Mildew, and Stone/Granite. I also asked Chris D. fellow DPF admin if he was available and interested to help. I am also Chris, Chris N, so there were a lot of Chris/s helping!

    Ed went out earlier in the month to do a test spot and it came out great. Ed then ordered all the products that we would need to do the cleaning. David tried to contact the Phillies, Athletics and any surviving members of the Mack family. He heard nothing back, so we took it into our own hands and decided to get together at 11am on June 11th to clean the stone ourselves. David did receive permission from the cemetery for us to clean the stone. 

    The major issue was we had NO access to running water. This was a hurdle we overcame by each guy pitching in and bringing around 60 gallons of water. We wet down the stone and started to scrape the stone to free up the moss that had accumulated. We then sprayed down the stone and using nylon brushes on our cordless drills went to work getting the grime off. The total time the 6 of us spent was around 2 hours give or take.

    I am really proud of the work all of us did. It was an honor to give our respects to Mr. Mack and bring his gravestone back to the splendor it deserves. In some small way, I think each of us 6 guys felt like we had a hand in keeping Philadelphia baseball tradition alive and well. We even talked about continuing this cleaning effort for other gravestones in the area that deserve our attention. It was a truly humbling experience that I am proud to have been a part of.