The Connie Mack’s of Florida

The name “Connie Mack” has been part of Florida Irish history and heritage for 122 years.

 

1910 Connie Mack Baseball Card

 

The first “Connie Mack” was Cornelius McGillicuddy, born in 1862 at East Brookfield, Massachusetts to Irish immigrant parents, Michael and Mary (McKillop) McGillicuddy.  He became Baseball Hall of Fame legend “Connie Mack” of the Philadelphia Athletics.  Mack played for the Washington Senators in Jacksonville, Florida’s first major league baseball game in 1888.  In 1903, as then manager-owner of the American League champion Philadelphia Athletics, he was the first to bring a major league baseball team to Florida for an entire spring training season.  "Mr. Mack" managed the Philadelphia Athletics for the club’s first 50 seasons of play, before retiring at age 87, following the 1950 season.  He was the longest-serving manager in Major League Baseball history, and holds the all-time records for wins (3,731) and games managed (7,755), with his wins total being almost 1,000 more than any other manager.  In addition to his Hall of Fame election in 1937, the former Connie Mack Field in West Palm Beach was named in his honor in 1952.  Connie Mack died on February 8, 1956.  In 2008, he was the first person inducted into the New York City based Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

Three generations of Connie Mack’s:

Connie Mack Sr. and Cornelius McGillicuddy Jr.

w/inset of Connie Mack III

 

His son, the second “Connie Mack”, was born in 1912 at Philadelphia, but he preferred to be known as Cornelius McGillicuddy, Jr.  He lettered in baseball as a pitcher and co-captain at Germantown Academy (where he also played basketball and football), but lettered in basketball while he was at Duke University.  He married Susan Sheppard, daughter of Morris Sheppard, Congressman and US Senator from Texas, and step-daughter of Tom Connally, the junior US Senator to Morris Sheppard for 12 years (Sheppard’s widow married Connally the year after Sheppard died).  After 15 years as an executive with the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team, Cornelius McGillicuddy, Jr. and his family settled in Fort Myers in 1951. He was a prominent real estate developer and philanthropist there until is death on April 17, 1996.

 

Former US Senator Connie Mack III

 

His son, Connie Mack III, was born in 1940 at Philadelphia, moved to Fort Myers with his parents in 1951, and graduated from Fort Myers High School in 1959 and from the University of Florida in 1966.  He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Florida’s 14th District (representing Fort Myers and Naples) from 1983 to 1989, then as United States Senator from 1989 to 2001.  He was considered by Bob Dole to be his Vice-Presidential nominee on the GOP ticket in 1996, but Jack Kemp was nominated instead.  He served as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference from 1997 to 2001.  In 2005, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as Chairman of the President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform.  He remains active in state and national politics.

 

US Congressman Connie Mack IV

 

His son, Connie Mack IV, was born in 1967 at Cape Coral and graduated from the University of Florida in 1993.  He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 to 2003, representing the 91st District (Fort Lauderdale).  In 2004, he moved back to Fort Myers, where he’d grown up, and entered the Republican primary for the 14th Congressional District (his father’s old US House seat). He narrowly won a four-way primary, but won easily in November.   He was reelected to Congress in 2006 and 2008.  He serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, where he is the Ranking Republican on the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  He is also a member of the Congressional Cuba Democracy Caucus.  He has two children by his first wife, and since 2007, has been married to Congresswoman Mary Bono of California (the widow of Sonny Bono).

   

Congressman Connie Mack IV and

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack

 

And YES, there is a Connie Mack V, who is also known as "Cinco de Macko".

 

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