History: The Gene Mack Story

Growing Up in Medford
He grew up on Paris Street in Medford. As a young boy, he would look out the window of his grammar school to watch the Medford High School baseball team in practice. It was his dream to one day be a member of that team. Although he tried, he never made the high school team. However, many years later as a sports cartoonist for the Boston Globe he gained nationwide fame, especially for his drawings of the fourteen National League baseball parks that are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, at Cooperstown, NY.


Sports Cartoonist
Eugene McGillicuddy, best known as Gene Mack, went to work immediately following graduation from Medford H.S. in 1908. Gene’s father had passed away when he was only eleven years old, so his work experience began early with a job for an engraving firm on Atlantic Avenue. It was long hours, working six days a week for $3.00 a week.

Following this experience, Gene began working for the Boston Globe, which led to his fame as a nationally acclaimed sports cartoonist. In the early 1900’s, artists like Gene Mack drew illustrations for advertisements in newspapers. Later, through his love of sports, and in particular local schoolboy athletics, he began creating his popular sports cartoons. His drawings had great detail of the subjects. One of his most widely read features were his famous “bus” cartoons which followed the progress of the football season in the 1940’s. Gene Mack was known and admired by the most prominent athletes of the sports world including Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, but his heart was always here in Medford. (Click here for a large version of the cartoon shown just above.)


Wife of Eugene McGillicuddy
and family at the gymnasium dedication.
Gymnasium Dedication (1953)
In 1953, five months after his passing away, the gymnasium in the high school on Forest Street was named in his memory. At the dedication ceremony on December 29, more than 800 persons from the sports world and journalism came to pay tribute to this beloved citizen of Medford.

Gene Mack Clubhouse (2001)
When the high school on Forest closed its doors in 1970, the prospect of any future use of the Gene Mack Gymnasium was dim. Thanks to the support of Mayor McGlynn, the City Council and the Friends of Chevalier Auditorium and Gene Mack Gymnasium, the gymnasium was remodeled as a youth center offering social, recreational and educational activities. On February 26, 2001, after being closed for thirty years, the gymnasium was reopened as the Gene Mack Clubhouse operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middlesex County.

Today, Gene Mack would be pleased about the rebirth of the gymnasium, especially since it has once again come alive with young people whom he loved so much and who will become our next generation.

Ruth McGillicuddy Murphy at the
2001 reopening of the Gene Mack Clubhouse.

 

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