On November 24, 1953, Dodger owner Walter O’Malley announced that Walter Alston would be the new manager of the Brooklyn team, replacing Chuck Dressen. The announcement came as a shock to reporters, as the leading candidate for the job had been the fan-favorite Pee Wee Reese. Alston would go on to win seven pennants and four World Series during his 23 years with the team.
Pee Wee Reese’s induction speech for the Baseball Hall of Fame is short and sweet, which I find kind of nice on this slow Monday morning. Reese was a 10-time All Star with two World Series championships (1955 and 1959). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
In order to protect his own job on the Boston infield, Red Sox player-manager Joe Cronin filed a scouting report on Pee Wee Reese that understated the 21-year-old’s abilities. As a result of this report, on July 18, 1939, the Red Sox traded Reese to the Brooklyn Dodgers for $35,000 and a player to be named later (Red Evans), as well as three minor league players. Reese would go on to help Brooklyn win seven pennants during his 16 seasons with the team.
On March 7, 1941, during Spring Training, Brooklyn Dodgers Pee Wee Reese and Joe “Ducky” Medwick both slipped plastic inserts inside their caps during an exhibition game. The previous year, in 1940, both men had missed playing time do to injury after being hit by pitches. This is believed to be the first instance of players wearing protective headgear when going up to bat. Major League Baseball would not make helmets mandatory until 1971.