MULE HAAS OF PHILADELPHIA A'S, STAR OF '29 WORLD SERIES, DIES
George William (Mule) Haas, an 11 year veteran of the major leagues and a hero of the Philadelphia Athletics' World Series success in 1929, died last Sunday night in New Orleans while visiting his son, George Jr. Haas enjoyed his finest moment in the 1929 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. In the fourth game at Philadelphia, with the Cubs leading 8-0, Haas hit a three-run, inside the park home run as the A's rallied for 10 runs and 15 hits in the seventh inning to win 10-8. Two days later, in what was to be the final game of the series, Haas hit a two run homer in the ninth inning to bring the Athletics into a 2-2 tie, and they later won the game on Bing Miller's double.
In 1935, when Haas's former Philadelphia teammate, Gorden (Mickey) Cochrane, was managing Detroit, Haas was being considered as an additional outfielder for the Tigers. Cochrane's outfielders were performing somewhat less than spectacularly at the time. However, during a Tiger-White Sox game, the two former Athletics tangled in a debate, and Cochrane said he wouldn't have a useless player like the Mule on his team. The Mule was then covering the outfield in his old style and hitting .336 or so. A study of the Detroit outfielders revealed that Goose Goslin was hitting .243, Pete Fox .265, Gerald Walker .297, and Jo-Jo White .198.
Mule Haas was probably one of the finest and certainly one of the most underrated major league baseball players to come down the pike. He died at the age of 70 on June 30, but his accomplishments will be talked about for a long, long time. When Mule was known as "Eggs" he was playing for the old Clairmont Baseball Club, which was organized in 1915 by George Perrin. The Clairmonts played at the rear of Baldwin Street School (now Mt. Carmel School) and it was there that Mule's hitting prowess drew attention from baseball fans.
Mule was known as a hitting star and delighted fans on many occasions by depositing home runs on the roof of the school. Mule was with the Clairmonts in 1920 when the team went semi-pro and clinched the Town championship by beating the Nishuane Club. The Clairmonts, sparked by Mule, also took the town title in 1921 and 1922 by beating the Whirlwinds. During the three-year span, the team won 105 games while losing just 31. In 1922, Mule left the Clairmonts to play with Caldwell on Saturdays and High Bridge on Wednesdays. From there he went on to play for the Orange Baseball Club. It was while playing for Orange that he attracted the attention of two major league scouts, Jim Johnson of the Pirates and Mike Dremon of the Athletics. Johnson was the lucky one and signed Mule up.
After starring for Atlanta for two seasons, Mule was purchased by Connie Mack for $10,000. Mule sat out the first half of the 1928 season, but went into center field when Mack decided to bench Tris Speaker. From that point, the A's began winning. Mule finished the season with a .286 batting average for 91 games. During his five years with Connie Mack's A's, Mule put together three seasons with .300 plus batting averages including the 1931 campaign where he played in 102 games and ended the year with a lofty .323 average. During Mule's stint with the A's, he appeared in three World Series and it is for his play in the Series that he is probably most remembered.
He played a major role in the 1929 Series where the A's beat the Cubs in five games. Going into the fourth game of the 1929 Series, Philadelphia held a slim two games to one margin. The fourth game looked like a lost cause for the A's who trailed 8-0, going into the seventh inning. Philadelphia, triggered by Mule's three run, inside-the-park homer, came back to stage one of the most incredible rallies in major league history, scoring 10 runs on 15 hits in the seventh to win 10-8!
Two days later, in the fifth game of the set, the Cubs were ahead, 2-0, going into the bottom of the ninth. Mule, again, proved to be "Mr. Clutch" as he slammed a two-run homer to tie the game. Bing Miller doubled in the Series-winning run later in the inning. The two clutch homers were the highlights of the 1929 Series for Mule who clouted 16 that year while building a .313 average.
After five years in Philadelphia, the left hand hitting outfielder went to the Chicago White Sox before returning to the A's in 1938. He ended his pro career in 1939. He ended his major-league career with a respectable .292 lifetime batting average. In 1939, Mule managed Oklahoma City before returning to the White Sox in 1940 as a coach. He managed the Sox at the beginning of one season in the absence of Manager Jimmy Dykes who was ill. 1948 found Mule coaching at Hollywood in the Pacific Coast League. He managed the team for the final week of the season. The following year, Mule signed to manage Montgomery (Ala) in the Southeastern League and held that post until 1951 when he signed on as Athletic Consultant at Fort Monmouth.
The climax to Mule's athletic career came in 1967 when he was inducted into the New Jersey All Sports Hall of Fame. Joining him was pitcher George Earnshaw, of Upper Montclair, who also starred with the A's.
While Mule is dead, his memory will live on in the minds and hearts of baseball fans everywhere.