Francis Joseph (Shag) Shaughnessy was born on April 8, 1883 in Amboy, Illinois and died on May 15, 1969 in Montreal, Quebec. Shaughnessy played football, baseball and ran track at the University of Notre Dame from 1901 to 1904, and served as football captain for the Fighting Irish in his senior year. Shaughnessy had a brief major league baseball career playing for the Washington Senators in 1905, all-be-it for only one game and for the Philadelphia A’s in 1908. He managed in the minor leagues from 1909 – 1936 and had a 1,148 – 1,012 record and he often served in a player/manager role. In 1928, he was also a coach for the Detroit Tigers. Shaughnessy was General Manager for the Montreal Royals from 1932 to 1934. As the Royals GM in 1933, Shaughnessy introduced night baseball to the city and a revised playoff system that saw the league’s top four teams advance to the post-season. This format became known as the “Shaughnessy Plan” and was quickly adopted by other minor leagues.
A respected and experienced baseball man, Shaughnessy was named president of the International League in 1936, a position he held until 1960. It was under his reign that baseball’s color barrier would finally be broken when the Montreal Royals signed Jackie Robinson in 1946. Shag was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1983. In addition to Shaughnessy, other inductees in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame with ties to the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins franchise include Reno Bertoia (1988), Frank O’Rourke (1996), Dave McKay (2001), Sherry Robertson (2007), and Calvin Griffith (2010).
Shaughnessy was also a widely respected in football and his many innovations in that sport both in the United States and in Canada made him a Canadian Football Hall of Fame charter inductee in 1963.