The "Knute Rockne" of college baseball, as Barry has been called many times, was born in Meriden, Conn. As a player at Holy Cross (1905-08), Barry was named captain of the 1908 Crusader team and helped lead his team to their first 20-win season. His speed, glove, arm and bat qualify him as the greatest shortstop in Holy Cross history.
As a coach, Barry returned to coach the Crusaders in 1921 after playing eight years of professional baseball. Barry led the Crusaders to glory as a player in the early 1900s and sought to do the same as a coach. He returned to Holy Cross in 1921 and started a career that earned him the reputation as the No. 1 man among college baseball coaches.
In his first season, he guided the team to a school record 30-win season. Barry would continue to coach the Crusaders for an unprecedented 39 seasons (1921-1960), finishing with a 616-150-6 (.802) record. He stands as the all-time winningest coach (by both number of wins and winning percentage) in Holy Cross athletics history. Holy Cross had 68 consecutive non-losing seasons from 1893-1960. Barry coached the Crusaders from 1921-60 (40 years) and had two .500 seasons. He never lost more than eight games in a season (and then only once), and his best seasons were 1924 (19-0), 1935 (22-1) and 1940 (15-1). He coached 25 players who played in the Major Leagues.
His 1924 team was undefeated at 19-0. Two other teams finished with only one loss, and eight others had just two losses. His teams recorded eight Eastern Intercollegiate Championships and made six NCAA College World Series appearances. The 1952 team was the NCAA champion. The Crusaders made the NCAA tournament the next three seasons ('53-56), but lost their first game each year. Holy Cross returned to the College World Series in 1958, winning its first two games before dropping two straight to Missouri and USC, ultimately finishing as the third-ranked team in the nation. It was Holy Cross' highest ranking since the 1952 national championship team. The 1960 club went 12-5 and returned to the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in nine years in Jack Barry's final season at the helm of the Crusaders. Barry was inducted into the Holy Cross Hall of Fame in 1956.
As a professional, Barry started his career with the Philadelphia A's when he was drafted by the legendary Connie Mack, who stated that Barry was "the greatest shortstop there ever was." Mack traveled to Worcester, Mass., personally to sign him up for the A's in 1908. As the starting shortstop, Barry figured prominently with his defensive play as a member of the old "$100,000 infield" of the Philadelphia Athletics. This "Baseball Hall of Fame" infield had Stuffy McInnis at first, Eddie Collins at second, Jack Barry at short and Frank "Home Run" Baker at third. They led the A's to the World Series in 1910, '11, '13 and '14. Jack was then traded to the Red Sox and led them to the World Series in 1915 and '16. He became player-manager in 1917 and managed the team to a second-place American League finish that year. He was in the Navy in 1918, the year the Red Sox won the World Series. He returned in 1919 to the Red Sox but retired after being sold back to the A's and suffering a career-ending knee injury. Although his lifetime batting average was only .243, it was his defensive skills and timely clutch hitting that determined his greatness.