McHale, first Expos president, dies at 86

Updated: January 17, 2008, 2:51 PM ET
Associated Press

PALM CITY, Fla. -- John McHale, who played on the Detroit Tigers team that won the 1945 World Series and went on to become a longtime baseball executive, has died. He was 86.

McHale died Thursday morning in a hospice unit near his home in Palm City.

A first baseman who played 64 games for the Tigers from 1943-48, McHale made more of an impact in the front office. He was president of the Montreal Expos when they debuted as an expansion team in 1969, and was their general manager.

McHale also was the GM for the Tigers and Braves, and worked in the commissioner's office.

"Both personally and professionally, John McHale was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "He was a longtime mentor of mine, and I had the pleasure of serving with him on the board of directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Baseball has lost one of its most respected figures."

McHale's son, John Jr., is an executive vice president in the commissioner's office.

McHale was hired in 1968 as the Expos' first president and was their GM from 1978-84. Montreal made its only playoff appearance in 1981.

McHale was succeeded by Claude Brochu as president of the Expos in 1986.

Born in Detroit, McHale made his big league debut in 1943. He had just one at-bat the next season and got his first two career hits in 1945. He went 0-for-3 in the Tigers' seven-game win over the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Overall, he hit .193 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 114 at-bats, all with Detroit.

McHale had one at-bat in 1948, the year he began his front office career as the Tigers' assistant farm director. He later was their director of minor league operations and GM.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press