Brockton Times Obituary
Friday, March 10, 1899
Veteran Base Ball Player and Manager Passes Away.
A Notable Career Ended
Had Piloted Many Clubs to Victory and Was Known All Over the Country
William Henry McGunnigle died at his home, 35 Arch Street, shortly after 5 o'clock Thursday afternoon, after a long illness, resulting from a general breaking up of the system. His mourners are legion, scattered over the entire country. He was popular everywhere, and expressions of sympathy reach the family from the north, south, east, and west. His illness dates back a number of years. The end was slow in coming and had been expected for some time. About eight weeks ago he was obliged to give up the business and remain at home, going out only once or twice after that, then only on an errand concerning his store, located on East Elm Street.
On the evening of July 22, 1897, Mr. McGunnigle was thrown out of a carriage in Salisbury Square and sustained severe injury to a hip, causing him to go lame and seeming to hasten the close of his career. He was riding with three other men when an electric car struck the wagon, throwing all to the ground. Finding that he had become badly hurt Mr. McGunnigle notified Manager Rogers of the Brockton Street Railway Company of a claim for damages. It was expected a settlement would be made, but it did not come about. The case is now in the hands of Lawyer L.A. Bennett of Boston for entry in Plymouth County Superior Court.
"Billy", "Cap", or "Mack", as the deceased was generally called by his friends, and aquaintances, won fame as a baseball player and manager, and during 22 years of service probably did as much, if not more, than any man in the Country for the advancement of the sport. He was a liberal, kindly fellow and his big heart gained him the admiration of the hundreds who played under him, as well as those with whom he came in contact outside of the game, all of whom now hasten to vouch for his geniality and whole soulednouss. He retired from the diamond only a short time ago, after being rather roughly handled by the Louisville club owners for whom he was manager in 1896, the circumstances of which are familiar to the public.
His experience on the field was brightened and rendered remarkable by his many successes, than which no greater were ever scored by a manager or player. He was born in Boston 44 years ago. His family moved to Avon when he was a young man, and he was employed for several years in shoe factories of this city. He first played ball with the Howard Juniors of Brockton. The team was in the Masachusetts League. In 1875 he went to Fall River and remained there three years, pitching, catching, and playing about every position on the diamond during the season. In 1876 and until 1880 he was with Buffalo as pitcher and catcher. He went to Saginaw, Mich., in 1883, and played right field and pitched some, beside captaining the team. In 1884 he was with the Bay City team of the Northwestern league, and caught to the pitching of John Clarkson. In 1885 "Mac" played in Brockton as captain and manager, and the team won the New England league championship, though a curious vote of the league awarded the pennant to Lawrence. He also played in Brockton in 1886.
The following year he went to Lowell as manager and captain and won the pennant. The next year "Mac" got into a bigger league and managed the Brooklyn team in the American association, and his club came in second. He remained there in 1889 and landed his team first. Then, in 1890, the club went into the National League and won the pennant.
In 1891, McGunnigle returned to this city and remained a short time. There was no team here then, and he left during the season and went to Pittsburgh as manager, and his club was pulled up from a poor position and finished fifth. In 1882, he was again in Brockton. When he took hold in the middle of the season the club was at the foot in the New England league race. With "Mac's" advent 12 straight games were won, and the club was soon at the top, but did not finish first. In 1893, he was in Lowell. In '94 and '95 he was interested in polo, the first year in Providence and the latter in Pawtucket.
In 1896 he went to Louisville and the team showed much improvement under his handling.
He returned to this city, and had remained here ever since. As a player McGunnigle was picturesque, and as a captain probably never had a superior. He became famous throughout the country for his aggresiveness. Who of us followers of New England baseball in the 80's does not remember that favorite move of the Mac's of running in from centre field to plate to lay down the law? "Jim" Cudworth was then his right hand man, and they made a remarkable duo. McGunnigle then wore side whiskers.
He was a strict manager, yet a kind one, and brought out many men who now figure as stars of the diamond. No complete history of McGunnigle has been written so far as is known. He seldom talked of his record and achievements, and the details of one of the most interesting careers in the baseball world passes with its subject. While his life work has never been fully penned, he had always been kept before the public through the newspapers, for stories about him seem to never cease and will serve to keep his memory fresh for time to come.
He is survived by a wife, and seven children, four boys and three girls. The funeral service will take place at 9 o'clock Saturday morning at his home with high mass at St. Patrick's Church at 9:45