The Brooklyn Dodgers: An Informal History

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SIU Press, 1945 - Sports & Recreation - 256 pages
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First published in 1945 as part of the acclaimed Putnam series of team histories, Frank Graham’s colorful chronicle presents the Brooklyn Dodgers in “all their glory and all their daffiness” from the team’s beginnings as the Atlantics in 1883 through 1943, with a short summary of the 1944 season.

            

In his foreword, Hall of Fame sports writer Jack Lang writes that “in an era that produced for New York sports fans such outstanding sportswriters as Grantland Rice, Sid Mercer, Bill Slocum, Bob Considine, and Tommy Holmes, one of the very best was Frank Graham, whose columns appeared in the New York Sun and later the Journal-American.”

            

Graham covers every aspect of the Dodgers—games, fans, players, managers, executives. And these Dodgers produced their share of legends: Wee Willie Keeler, Mickey Owen, Dazzy Vance, Babe Herman, Charles H. Ebbets, Wilbert Robinson, Charles Byrne, Casey Stengel, Leo Durocher, Zack Wheat, Burleigh Grimes, Steve McKeever, Ed McKeever, Larry MacPhail, Max Carey, Dixie Walker, Branch Rickey, Dolph Camilli, Hugh Casey, Nap Rucker, Van Lingle Mungo, and the voice of the Dodgers, Red Barber.

            

Dealing with the various executives, Graham notes that in the beginning, Charles Ebbets did everything from selling tickets and scorecards to helping out in the front office. In the 1930s, the inept Dodgers provoked laughter until Larry MacPhail moved from Cincinnati to Brooklyn in 1938; one year later, the Dodgers were contenders. When MacPhail departed for the Army after the 1942 season, Branch Rickey succeeded him. Rickey’s scouts signed every youngster who could hit, run, or throw, even though many of them were headed for the war. “When they came back in 1946,” Lang explains, “Rickey had cornered the market on the nation’s young talent—more than six hundred ballplayers.”

            

This history of the Brooklyn Dodgers contains eighteen black-and-white illustrations.

 

  

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Contents

Professional Baseball Comes to Brooklyn
3
The Great Ned Hanlon Arrives
10
Ginney Flats and Growlers of Beer
18
A Vision of a New Park
22
The McKeevers to the Rescue
33
Uncle Robbie Takes Command
39
The Federal League Digs In
48
A Pennant Is Won in Flatbush
53
The Fight on Robbie
118
The New Manager Max Carey
125
Is Brooklyn Still in the League?
132
The Return of Grimes
140
Enter Larry MacPhail
149
Full and Complete Authority
157
Larry Picks His Man
169
The Snatching of Kirby Higbe
189

Ebbets Takes a Scouting Trip
62
Pfeffer Takes a Scouting Trip
73
Another Pennant Out of Nowhere
77
A Wanderer of the Trail
86
So Near and Yet So Far
91
Death Strikes the Dodgers Twice
95
A Break Between Robbie and Steve
100
The Daffiness Boys
109
Everybody Could See It Coming
193
Two Bad Breaks in a Series
208
The End of an Era
214
The Coming of Rickey
231
The Future Seems Bright
244
Index
249
Copyright

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About the author (1945)

Beginning his career in 1946, Jack Lang covered baseball for the Long Island Press and the New York Daily News for six decades. He covered the Brooklyn Dodgers until they left for Los Angeles in the late 1950s, when his beat switched to the Yankees and the Mets. He witnessed Jackie Robinson’s major-league debut and covered the careers of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Lang received the prestigious J. G. Taylor Spink Award from the Baseball Writers of America in 1986, which placed him in the writers’ wing of the Hall of Fame.

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