On February 1, 1928, former playing and managing standout Hugh Jennings dies at the age of 58. The future Hall of Famer batted .311 over a 17-year career, including a career-high .401 in 1896. He also managed the Detroit Tigers to American League pennants from 1907 to 1909.
A lifetime of tragic accidents
Jennings’ life was filled with several tragic accidents. There was the beaning incident in Philadelphia that left him unconscious for three days. While attending Cornell, he fractured his skull diving head-first into a swimming pool at night, only to find the pool had been emptied. In December 1911, Jennings came close to death after an off-season automobile accident. While driving a car given to him by admirers, Jennings’ car overturned while crossing a bridge near Goldsboro, Pennsylvania. In the crash, Jennings again fractured his skull, suffered a concussion of the brain, and broke both legs and his left arm. For several days after the accident, doctors were unsure if Jennings would survive.
The physical abuse and blows to the head undoubtedly took their toll. During the 1925 season, McGraw was ill, and Jennings was put in full charge of the Giants. The team finished in second place and the strain caught up with Jennings, who suffered a nervous breakdown when the season ended. According to his obituary, Jennings “was unable to report” to spring training in 1926 due to his condition. Jennings retired to the Winyah Sanatorium in Asheville, North Carolina. He did return home to Scranton, Pennsylvania, spending much of his time recuperating in the Pocono Mountains. In early 1928, Jennings died from meningitis in Scranton, Pennsylvania at age 58