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Corp G P Nugent 1918 Page 1.jpg

Gerald Nugent was the owner of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team of the National League from 1931 through 1942.

A leather goods and shoe merchant, Nugent married longtime Phillies secretary Mae Mallen in 1925. Longtime Phillies owner William Baker died in 1930, leaving half of his estate to Mallen and half to his wife. With the support of Baker's widow, Nugent became team president. Baker's widow died in 1932, leaving Nugent in full control.

Unlike Baker, Nugent cared more about winning than saving money. However, he didn't have the financial means to get the Phillies out of the National League basement. He was forced to trade what little talent the team had to make ends meet, and often had to use some creative financial methods to even field a team at all.[1] The one highlight of his ownership was a 78-76 record in 1932—the only time the Phillies finished with a winning record between 1918 and 1948.

Nugent finally reached the end of his rope in 1942, when the Phillies needed an advance from the league just to go to spring training. Unable to find a buyer, he was forced to sell the franchise back to the league early in February 1943. A week later, the league sold the Phillies to a wealthy lumber broker named William B. Cox. A popular legend has it that Bill Veeck had agreed in principle to buy the Phillies from Nugent. As the story goes, Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and National League President Ford Frick quashed the deal and engineered the sale to Cox when they found out that Veeck planned to stock the Phillies with Negro League stars. However, this story is likely false based on press accounts of the time; notably, Philadelphia's black press mentioned nothing about any prospective Veeck purchase.[1]

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