Joseph Leo Birmingham (December 3, 1884 – April 24, 1946) was a baseball player. Birmingham was an outfielder who occasionally played the infield for the Cleveland Naps. He was named the manager of the Naps in 1912 at the age of 28 after Harry Davis was fired, and he stayed at the helm for three more seasons.
His tenure was marked with a bit of controversy in 1913 which would be his best finish as manager (86-66, 3rd place). Nap Lajoie, who was Birmingham's former manager, struggled through a hitting slump in mid-season and Birmingham decided to bench the future Hall of Famer at one point. Lajoie who had no love for Birmingham was outraged and cursed out the young manager to his face and in the press. The feud only ended when Lajoie was sold back to Philadelphia after the 1914 season.
His next season would be a disaster, as the newly-named Indians lost 102 games, and in 1915, he was fired after only 28 games. He managed the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League in 1916, but was replaced late in the season.
By Dean Hanley
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