This day in baseball: Durocher named Manager for the Year

On October 23, 1951, Associated Press named New York Giants skipper Leo Durocher as the Manager of the Year. Under Durocher’s leadership, the Giants rallied from a 13 1/2-game deficit in mid-August to win the National League pennant. New York’s comeback was capped off against the Dodgers, in a three-game playoff series best remembered for Bobby Thomson’s fabled home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the deciding game at the Polo Grounds.

Leo_Durocher
Leo Durocher (public domain)

This day in baseball: The last bounced home run

In baseball’s early days, a batted ball that bounced once before clearing the fence was considered a home run. The last “bounced” home run in major league history was hit by Al Lopez of the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 12, 1930, at Ebbets Field. At the start of the 1931 season, the National League would join the American League, which had enacted the rule change in 1929, awarding a ground-rule double to the player who hits the ball over the fence on a bounce.

Al Lopez 1956
Al Lopez, 1956 (public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Reading Robinson panel

A few nights ago, in recognition of the 75th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum hosted a panel of authors who discussed the legacy of Jackie Robinson. The discussion covered more than just Jackie Robinson the baseball player. These gentlemen also delved into Robinson’s role in the Civil Rights Movement and what he would think of the Black Lives Matter movement today.

I missed the live stream of the panel, but fortunately, the video is still available through YouTube. It’s worth a listen, if you’re interested. There are a few ads in the beginning of the stream, so if you want to skip right to the content, it begins at 6:10.

RIP Vin Scully

Vincent Edward Scully was born on November 29, 1927 in the Bronx, New York, growing up in Manhattan. He fell in love with baseball when, at the age of eight, he saw the results of the second game of the 1936 World Series at a laundromat and felt a pang of sympathy for the badly defeated New York Giants.

Scully was best known for calling games for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, beginning in 1950 and ending in 2016. His 67-year run calling games constituted the longest tenure of any broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history, and he was second only to Tommy Lasorda in terms of the number of years associated with the Dodgers organization in any capacity. Scully was known for his distinctive voice, his descriptive style, and his signature introduction to Dodgers games: “It’s time for Dodger baseball! Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good afternoon (or evening) to you, wherever you may be.”

He is considered by many to be the greatest baseball broadcaster of all time, with his final game being broadcast from San Francisco’s AT&T Park on October 2, 2016. His many awards and achievements include being awarded the Ford C. Frick Award (1982), the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award (2014), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2016). Scully even has a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star.

Vin Scully passed away August 2, 2022 at the age of 94.

VinScully0308
Vin Scully, March 2008 (Craig Y. Fujii/Wikimedia Commons)

This day in baseball: Charles Ebbets becomes president of the Dodgers

In the wake of the death of Charles H. Byrne, team secretary Charles Ebbets became president of the Bridegrooms (Dodgers) on January 4, 1898. The team’s future owner also managed the Brooklyn team for the last 110 games of the season, finishing tenth among the twelve teams of the National League.

Charles Ebbets, c. 1915 - Wikipedia
Charles Ebbets, c. 1915 (Wikipedia)

Quote of the day

When we played the Dodgers in St. Louis, they had to come through our dugout, and our bat rack was right there where they had to walk. My bats kept disappearing, and I couldn’t figure it out. Turns out, Pee Wee Reese was stealing my bats. I found that out later, after we got out of baseball. He and Rube Walker stole my bats.

~Stan Musial

musial

This day in baseball: Nick Maddox’s no-hitter

On September 20, 1907 at Exposition Park, Pittsburgh pitcher Nick Maddox tossed a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Superbas (Dodgers) to win, 2-1. At the age of 20 years and ten months, the Pirates hurler was the youngest pitcher and only the second rookie to throw a no-hitter. Maddox’s feat would also be the last no-hitter thrown by a Pittsburgh pitcher until 1951, when Cliff Chambers threw one against the Braves.

Nick_Maddox - Wikipedia
Nick Maddox, 1911 (Library of Congress)

This day in baseball: King and Robinson given honorary degrees

On June 7, 1957, Howard University awarded honorary Doctor of Law degrees to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to recently-retired Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson. In the years that followed, the former baseball great and the Baptist minister frequently appeared together at Civil Rights rallies, fundraising events, and demonstrations.

MLK-Jackie-Robinson