Eddie Basinski then
Basinski was born on 11/4/1922 in Buffalo, NY. He wore uniform #3 for the Dodgers.
Eddie was signed after a tryout by the Dodgers out of the University of Buffalo even though he hadn’t played baseball in either high school or College.
Eddie debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944. He was the Dodgers regular shortstop while Pee Wee Reese was in the military in 1945 but lost his job when World War II ended an Reese returned.
According to Baseball-Refernces:
He made a prototypical rookie mistake when first coming up to the National League: hitting .389 after two weeks, he told a reporter that “Any man who can’t hit .300 in this league ought to go get a lunch bucket.” Opposing pitchers never let him live down those words.
Eddie spent the off-season as a violinist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Eddie Basinksi now
Here is a video of Portland Baseball history with Eddie Basinski and Vince Peski. Eddie tells some wonderful stories that had me cracking up.
Ad here is a another video. A wonderful interview of Eddie Baskinksi by KrisPorterSports. In there he talks about Branch Richie & Leo Durocher.
Ref: NewYorkTimes.com, Oregonlives.com, KrisPorterSports
Chuck Kress then
Charles Steven Kress was born in Philadelphia on December 9, 1921. He wore uniform #5.
Chuck Kress served in the U. S. Army from 1943 to 1945. Kress was a first baseman 17 seasons from 1940 to 1959, four in the Major Leagues and 16 in the minors.
He played first base for the Cincinnati Reds in 1947 & 1949.
With the Chicago White Sox from 1949 to 1950.
Detroit Tigers 1954.
On 06-09-1954, The Brooklyn Dodgers traded Wayne Belardi to the Detroit Tigers for Ernie Nevel, Johnny Bucha and Chuck Kress. Kress had 12 at bats with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and batted .083.
Kress managed the following teams in the Minor Leagues:
1957: The Erie Sailors from the New York-Pen League of the Detroit Tigers.
1958: Durham Bulls from the Carolina Leagues of the Detroit Tigers.
1959: Des Moines Demons of the Three-I Leagues of the Philadelphia Phillies
1960: Asheville Tourists of the South Atlanta League of the Philadelphia Phillies
1961: Des Moines Demons of the Three-I Leagues of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Chuck Kress now
From Kentuckybaseball.blogspot as posted on November 2, 2009:
Chuck Kress, who played with the Reds, White Sox, Tigers and Brooklyn Dodgers responded to some questions for me.
He mentioned that his favorite team is the Mariners. His favorite recent player is Edgar Martinez.
Chuck did say that he had a lot of great memories relating to his time with that legendary Brooklyn team. Mr. Kress notes that he is proud of the fact that he got to play with Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snyder, and manager Walter Austin.
He does remember playing in Louisville when he was with Columbus of the American Association.
ref: baseball-fever.com, fangraph, kentuckybaseball.blogspot, baseball-reference, OOtbaseball, WalterOMalley.com, baseball-almanac
Marvin E. Rackley then
|Marv Rackley||07/25/1921||Seneca, SC||35|
At age 19, Marv Rackley was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1941. He played for the Valdosta Trojans, the Durham Bulls and the Dayton Ducks.
On October 5, 1942, Rackley entered the military service with the Army Air Force at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He spent the next three years in service.
Sergeant Rackley returned to the Dodgers organization in 1946. He joined the Montreal Royals where he played alongside Jackie Robinson. Rackley batted .305 with the Royals and was in the Dodgers line-up for the second game of the season in 1947. In 18 games as a pinch-hitter and runner he batted .222 before joining the St. Paul Saints where he batted .316.
In 1948, Rackley played 88 games with the Dodgers, batted .327, but with Hermanski, Reiser, Furillo, Snider, Shuba and Whitman all vying for outfield positions there was little room for him.
On May 18, 1949, Rackley was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for first baseman/outfielder Johnny Hopp plus $25,000. Rackley reported to the Pirates with a sore throwing arm. Pirates complained they had traded for a player who was unfit. Hopp was returned to the Pirates and Rackley went back to the Dodgers (wonder what happened to the 25K) where he played in 54 games, batted .291 and appeared in two World Series games against the Yankees.
Gene Hermanski, Pee Wee Reese, Marv Rackley and Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers base stealers of 1948
In October 1949, the 28-year-old was purchased by the Reds for $60,000 but appeared in just five games the following season, spending most of the year with the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. He spent most of 1952 with the Birmingham Barons and joined the Baltimore Orioles of the International League in 1952. 1953 he batted .320 in 111 games with the Orioles. 1954 he batted .328 with the Richmond Virginians. He ended his career with the Atlanta Crackers in 1955 when he also managed for part of the year.
Marv Rackley now
Marv Rackley still lives in his native South Carolina. I could not find a current picture of Marv Rackley.
I just noticed this is my blog post #500 !!
|Andy Pafko||02/25/1921||Boyceville, Wi||22,48|
Andy Pafko then
During a 17-year career Andy Pafko was one of the handful of players to appear in four World Series with three different teams, the 1945 Cubs, 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers, and the 1957 and 1958 Milwaukee Braves.
Andy’s first year with the Dodgers ended on a sad note. That’s him in left field, dwarfed by the huge wall at the Polo Grounds, looking up in vain at Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning home run off Ralph Branca. His luck changed in 1952, however, when he got into his second World Series, playing in all seven games for the Dodgers against the Yankees.
From Baseball- reference:
- 1943 MVP Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels
- 5-time NL All-Star (1945 & 1947-1950)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1948, 1950 & 1951)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1950 & 1951)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1945 & 1948)
- Won a World Series with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957
Andy retired as a player after 1959 and coached for the Braves from 1960 to 1962. He began his minor league managerial career the following year, and by 1968 he had skippered teams in New York, North Carolina, and Florida for the Braves organization. He did some scouting for the Braves for a few years after that and then he his wife moved to Chicago.
Andy Pafko now
Widowed in 2002, Pafko is active at charity events, golf outings, baseball appearances and banquets, and is the 2005 President of the Chicago Old Timers Baseball Association. He attends Cubs games frequently and shuns the spotlight, but is usually hounded by fans and media. He recently found time to write the foreword for “Wrigley Field’s Last World Series: The Wartime Chicago Cubs and the Pennant of 1945,”
Ref: Baseballsavvy, baseballreference
Pat McGlothin then
|Pat McGlothin||10/20/1920||Coalfield, TN||23|
Ezra Mac “Pat” McGlothin was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He pitched in 8 games during the 1949 and 1950 seasons. His major league debut was April 24, 1949 and his final game on April 18, 1950.
He spent time in the Minors with Mobile, St Paul and Montreal, pitching three career no-hitters in those venues. The Dodgers had 26 farm clubs in those days.
In a heroic effort, Pat pitched 19 innings in a 5-4 game, knocked in three runs including the game-winner in the bottom of the 19th, and held Ted Williams without a hit in seven tries. Pat had a hit to tie the score in the 17th before ending the contest in the 19th.
Pat McGlothin now
Pat McGlothin, owner of Mutual Insurance company has been serving customers in Tennessee since 1954. He enjoys exercising and watching baseball games.
Pat showing his collection of baseballs:
Jean-Pierre Roy Then
|Jean-Pierre Roy||06/26/1920||Montreal, Canada||34|
I went straight to SABR to read about Jean-Pierre Roy because I had read the bio project in the SABR website http://sabr.org. Rory Costello wrote this one two just like the prior one on Olmo.
What interesting lives these men have led. They played in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and let’s not forget serving their country. If they were not holding other jobs in the offseason they were off to play elsewhere in the Winter Fall, any time!
This French-Canadian played just three big-league games in his career but he like Rory Costello says “hopscotched” around Cuba, Mexico, Brooklyn and Montreal
I would like to read more about this Mexican magnate Jorge Pasquel and his brother who raided the American leagues luring players to jump to the Mexican leagues. Roy jumped but he never played because he was not eligible. But back in Cuba, other men were. Guilty by association got him suspended from Organized Baseball in 1947.
For this “Ladies Man” it was joining and rejoining teams in Canada, US, Cuba (one of his favorite places), Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and even Panama. From this SABR Biography project at: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/154a8e59
For the 1950 summer season, Roy rejoined Hollywood, where he went 2-2, 4.09. Off the field, he was also performing for a different crowd. The suave crooner’s nightclub act included numbers in English, Spanish, and French — “things like ‘Bésame Mucho,’ which was popular at the time, and ‘La Vie en Rose.’” Jean-Pierre recalled to Ronald King in 2004, “The manager, Fred Haney, didn’t like that. So I bought back my contract and went elsewhere.” 
Even Luis Olmo then Manager in Santiago, Cuba invited him but he slipped in the dugout and hurt his elbow. He went back to Montreal where he made one last fling with the Provincial League in 1955.
from the SABR article:
In 1956, Roy did some TV broadcasting for the Royals on CBF-TV.  He’d previously noted his intention to continue his nightclub singing career. Perhaps it was on a related note that he moved to Las Vegas, where he spent roughly 10 or 11 years in jobs ranging from croupier to real-estate agent.
In 1968 when the Montreal Expos joined the National League, Jean-Pierre became an analyst on both radio and Television.
From the same SABR Biography project on Roy:
Since retiring, the elder statesman of Montréal baseball has received several honors. In July 1995, he was inducted into the Expos Hall of Fame, and the Québec Sports Pantheon did likewise that September. In April 2001, the Québec Baseball Hall of Fame followed suit.
These days Roy spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. He and his wife, Jane Duval Roy (his prior marriage ended with no children) head back north to Canada from May to October. There they live in the town of Nicolet, across the St. Lawrence from Trois-Rivières. Jean-Pierre has been working on an autobiography, and it will surely be a pleasure to hear this raconteur tell his own stories in full.
Read the rest of the Biography Jean-Pierre Roy from SABR. Is a fascinating read.
Luis Olmo Then
Jackie Robinson, Senate president of Puerto Rico, Luis Munoz Marin and Luis Olmo.
|Luis Olmo||10/11/1919||Puerto Rico||21|
I googled Luis Olmo and noticed I had an old post where I dedicated the post to Luis Olmo because my blog came in at #21 and in addition to Olmo wearing #21 it was his birthday that day. I had posted the above picture.
Luis Francisco Rodríguez Olmo known as El Jíbaro – The Hillbilly, was the second Puerto Rico to play in the Major Leagues. The first one was Hiram Bithorn who played with the Cubs in 1942.
El Jibaro played for the Dodgers from 1943 to 1945 then again in 1949. Luis Olmo became the first Puerto Rican to play in a World Series, during which he hit a home run and three hits in one game
Olmo lead the National League in triples in 1945. On May 18 of that year he hit a grand slam home run and a bases loaded triple in the same game. No other player accomplished that feat in the 20th century.
Olmo jumped to the Mexican League in 1946 because one Mexican team owner offered a higher salary than what Branch Rickey Sr. was offering. Olmo and several other jumpers were banned by MLB Commissioner Happy Chandler for going to the Mexican League. For Olmo the suspension lasted three years. Olmo returned to the Dodgers in 1949.
From the SABR bioproject by Rory Costello:
After his return in late June, Olmo got into 38 games for Brooklyn, batting .305/1/14 in 105 at-bats as he backed up Tommy Brown and Duke Snider. He got off to a hot start, getting 12 hits in his first 27 at-bats (.444), capped by a game-ending homer at Ebbets Field on July 17. Yet perhaps his most memorable contribution to the 1949 pennant winners was a sensational catch that he made at Ebbets on August 24 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Brooklyn was up 2-0 in the fifth inning, but St. Louis had the tying runs in scoring position, and at the plate was the feared batter whom Ebbets fans dubbed “The Man” – Stan Musial. Olmo, always known as a fine outfielder, needed every foot of the old ballpark’s cozy dimensions, including the extra afforded by the corrugated exit gate in left field. He leaped and made the catch, snuffing out the rally, and the Dodgers went on to win, drawing to within one game of first. Brooklyn did not overtake St. Louis until late September, but the complexion of the race might have changed if the Cards had won that day. Baseball Digest wrote up the play in August 1961, and as late as 2009, it earned an entry in a book devoted to great outfield catches, Going, Going . . . Caught!
Olmo played for the Boston Braves in 1950 & 1951. In ’51 he only played in 21 games before being sent to the Triple-A Milwaukee Brewers. There he concluded his US career.
He joined Licey of the Dominican League. The remainder of Olmo’s playin career consisted of four Winter season in Puerto Rico. He was also scouting for the Braves. He was manager for several teams in Puerto Rico. The PRWL named him Manager of the year seven times.
Luis Olmo now:
Luis Rodriguez Olmo celebrating 90 years.
from SABR biography by Rory Costello:
Olmo began playing golf since 1968 and in 2011 still got out on the links twice a week, one of the reasons he remained so fit in his 90s. At one point, though, he was carrying more weight than was good for him – he dropped 50 pounds on doctor’s orders. In August 2009, after SABR’s Puerto Rican chapter and the Museum of Sports of Guaynabo celebrated his 90th birthday, Olmo said, “I just turned 90. I hoped to reach 80 and that has passed. I am playing extra innings. And I recall as if it were yesterday when I arrived in the majors. The baseball of today is the same as what I played. The only thing that has changed is the salaries.” Four days after his 92nd birthday, I asked Luis to what he attributes his long life. He said simply, with a little chuckle, “I been lucky. Living good.”
ref: pic, Colleccion Luiz Munoz Marin, baseball-fever, http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/a26bda17
Lee Pfund then
|Lee Pfund||10/18/1919||Oak Park, IL||14|
His full name is Le Roy Herbert Pfund.
1939 – 1941 Signed by the St. Louis Cardinal and sent to the Columbus, Ohio and Mobile, Alabama farm teams. Played in the minor leagues for three seasons while teaching junior high and coaching during the off season.
1941 Broke into professional baseball in the Georgia/Florida League
1942 – 1943 During off season taught math at Longfellow Junior High School and coached grade school baseball teams
On November 1, 1944 he was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers from the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1944 rule 5 draft, and played for the Dodgers in 1945.
Pfund made his debut against the New York Giants. Playing for Leo Durocher he had a very successful first season. While with the Dodgers, Lee chose not to play on Sundays, citing religious convictions. As a pitcher, it was easy for the team to adjust the rotation to comply with this request.
1945 Rather than play in Baseball All-Star game, Lee played in a Red Cross charity game
Pfund compiled a 3-2 record with 2 complete games in 10 starts over 621/3 innings pitched. Returning to the minors in 1946, the right-hander never returned to the big leagues and his pro career ended in 1950. A knee injury ended hsi career.
Pfund, a 1949 graduate of Wheaton College, his influence was dramatically more profound as a father, teacher and coach. Sons John, Kerry and Randy played basketball for him at Wheaton College, Randy becoming a longtime National Basketball Association executive and coach. All four men earned enshrinement in the Wheaton College’s Hall of Honor, Lee inducted in 1985.
From baseball reference:
Lee Pfund pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945, but is more famous as a baskeball coach. He compiled a 362-240 (.601) career record as head coach at Wheaton College from 1951-75. During his tenure as head basketball coach he won five conference championships and captured the 1956-57 Small College National Championship while guiding Wheaton to a 27-1 record.
His son Randy Pfund is general manager of the NBA basketball team the Miami Heat. His sons John and Kerry were basketball stars at Wheaton College.
Lee Pfund was an assistant football and basketball coach in 1943-44 for Wheaton College. A knee injury kept him out of the service during World War II, and he pitched for the Dodgers with a “no Sunday” contract.
Lee Pfund now
At Dodger Stadium August 3, 2012 with Maury Wills
Here is Mr. Pfund again
Baseball References, http://athletics.wheaton.edu/sports/2010/10/25/pfund. http://www.wheaton.lib.il.us/whc/Baseball_Greats_Players.htm, photos from Dodger Stadium from Jon SooHoo http://Dodgersphotog.mlblogs.com
Ray Hathaway Then
|Ray Hathaway||10/13/1916||Grinville, OH||22|
Ray Wilson Hathaway wore uniform #22 like our young Clayton Kershaw.
After three years in the minors and three more with Uncle Sam, Hathaway got his chance in the big leagues in 1945, when many players were still in the service.
“We could get spaghetti for 19 cents, 29 cents with meatballs,” Hathaway said with a smile. “We lived on pasta.”
He pitched two other times in relief before being sent down to Montreal. Of Jackie Robinson, Hathaway said “”He was an outstanding player.” “After I saw him play the first game, I knew he was going to be a star. He fielded well, ran well and hit well. I thought he was ready. I thought he would be up in Brooklyn before the season was over.”
Of himself, he did not foresee a return to the major leagues. “I had already been there, and I had arm trouble. I saw the writing on the wall.” At the end of Spring Training in 1947, he approached Branch Rickey about becoming a manager. “We went to a game in Cuba. Mr. Rickey was there. I asked to speak to him. About the 5th inning, he asked, “What’s on your mind?” I told him I would like to manage. He (Rickey) asked, “How do I know you can manage?” I said “You don’t and neither do I. All I can promise is that we’ll work.” Rickey’s response was “If you are going to manage a team for me, be on my plane. I’m leaving in the morning for Miami.”
Hathaway spent his early seasons as a player/manager for the minor league affiliates of the Brooklyn Dodgers. After 1952, Hathaway took himself out of the rotation to focus primarily on running the ballclub. “The only time I pitched after that (1952) was if the pitching staff was getting their butt beat. I tried to save them.”
Hathaway managed many legends including Hall of Famers Dick Williams, Willie Stargell and Bill Sharman.
Ray Hathaway was the manager of the 1961 Asheville Tourists, champions of the South Atlantic League with an 87-50 record and considered to be the best team in Asheville history. Hathaway’s managerial career started in 1947, when he guided the Santa Barbara Dodgers to the California League Championship Series, losing to the Stockton Ports. He won the Ohio-Indiana League title as skipper of the Zanesville Dodgers in 1948. His other managerial stints include the Pueblo Dodgers in the Western League (1949-50, 1956-57), Asheville Tourists in the Tri-State League (1951, 1953-54), Newport News Dodgers in the Piedmont League (1953), Elmira Pioneers in the Eastern League (1955), Tri-City Braves in the Northwest League (1958), Columbus/Gastonia Pirates in the South Atlantic League (1959), Savannah Pirates in the South Atlantic League (1960), Asheville Tourists in the South Atlantic League (1961-64), Gastonia in the Western Carolinas League (second half of 1964), Raleigh Cardinals in the Carolina League (1965), Lewiston Broncs in the Northwest League (1967), Arkansas Travelers in the Texas League (1969), Savannah Indians in the Southern League (1970), Jacksonville Suns in the Dixie Association (1971), Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League (1972) and the Wilson Pennants in the Carolina League (1973). Throughout his 25-year managerial career, Hathaway won 1,441 games.
Hathaway retired as a manager in 1973, settled in Asheville and worked construction.
“I saw a lot, got to do a lot because of baseball,” he said with a wink.
Mr. Hathaway lives in Weaverville. NC
ref: Sportspool.com, citizen-times.com, Baseballhappening.com, Fairviewtowncrier.com, MLB
This year I decided to do a post for each of the Brooklyn Dodger players that are alive giving us a little history of their playing day and If possible, where they are now.
This is going to be fun and is a way for me to learn more about the Brooklyn Dodger players and at the same time pay tribute to them.
We will start with Mike Sandlock who is the oldest one at 97.
|Mike Sandlock||10/17/1915||Old Greenwich,CT||1, 4|
When I look at the uniform numbers Mr. Sandlock wore, I think of the retired numbers of #1, Pee Wee Reese & #4, Duke Snider.
Mike Sandlock Then
Mike Sandlock professional career began back in 1938 for the Huntington Bees of the Mountain State League. He spent 14 years in the minors and played parts of five seasons in the majors.
Mike made his major league debut as a September call-up for the Braves in 1942. He came in late in the game and collected his first big league hit, a single off of Giants reliever Bill McGee. Mike’s roommate in the Minors, Warren Spahn, was also called up that September.
In 1943 Mike missed the entire season due to his services in WW II.
On August 12, 1944, the Braves traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in exchange for minor league second baseman Frank Drews. Sandlock went back to the minors with their Triple-A affiliate in ST. Paul where he batted over .300 and added switch hitting to his offensive repertoire.
Sandlock, a catcher, was a shortstop early in the season, Pee Wee Reese was still in the Navy. When Mickey Owen joined the service in May, the Dodgers were forced to use their backup catchers, but it wasn’t until July that they moved Sandlock back behind the plate and gave him regular playing time.
That 1945 season would end up being his best season in the majors. He played a career high 80 games, hitting .282 with 17 RBI’s in 195 at-bats.
His 1946 season would be his last in the majors for awhile.. He lasted with the Dodgers until July before he was sent to St Paul. Despite the fact he barely played and hit just .147 in 19 games, Sandlock has a funny story about that year. Here is the account as reported by John Dreker of http://blogs.piratesprospects.com:
The Dodgers had a young hard-throwing pitcher named Rex Barney at this time. He threw hard but it was anyone’s guess where the ball would go once it left his hands. Long after their retirement, Sandlock kidded Barney about how wild he was and Barney came back with “The reason the Dodgers got rid of you was because you couldn’t catch me.” Mike said that he couldn’t catch him because he never threw anything close to the plate. Yogi Berra once asked Mike what Barney threw, knowing he was his catcher for one season and Mike said ” I don’t know because I was never able to catch anything from him. I’ll let you know when I do.”
In 1947 Mike was the backup catcher for a young Roy Campanella, while playing for the Montreal Royals. He also met Jackie Robinson. They both shared a love for Golf.
With his time in Brooklyn done, Mike embarked on a career in the minor leagues that brought him to Hollywood for four years and many great memories.
Mike Sandlock joined the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League in 1949, spending four seasons with the team before his return trip to the Majors with the Pirates.
Mike playing for the Hollywood Stars.
Two people were very influential in getting Mike back to the Majors: The team manager, Fred Haney and knuckelball pitcher Johnny Lindell.
Mike developed a reputation for being an excellent receiver of knuckleball pitchers. When Johnny moved to the Majors so did Mike.
The Pirates had 3 to 4 pitchers who threw knuckleballs. Mike shared catching duties with Joe Garagiola and Heisman Trophy Winner Vic Janowicz. Late in the season the Pirates sold Lindell to the Phillies. the following year Sandlock was a Phillie but it was not to be for Mike as he was involved in a home plate collision during a Spring Training game. Phillies shipped him to San Diego. That 1954 was his final year of his baseball career.
Mike Sandlock Now
Here is a video from Nick of Examiner.com
Mike still follows the game. Recently he said ” The Mets guy(R.A. Dickey) now, throws his harder, but Lindell’s broke more.”
Sandlock offered this advice to catchers trying to contain the knuckler ”You have to have good reflexes to be a knuckleball catcher. You can’t go reaching for it, you have to wait for it.” but even he was quick to admit it was a difficult task “It was like catching flies, I called it a butterfly.”
Sandlock feels the modern game moves too slowly compared to when he played.
He feels too much time is spent today with pitchers walking around the mound, the catcher going to the mound then the entire infield going to the mound and guys constantly adjusting their batting gloves and stepping out of the batter’s box.
He attended a Yankee game recently when Freddy Garcia was on the mound and said he could not wait to leave because of how long Garcia took to deliver each pitch.
“Do you see how slow he goes?” he asked. “He gets the ball, walks around the whole mound then throws a pitch, gets the ball back and it’s the same damn thing. There is no desire.”
Mr Sanlock was honored at Citi Field when the Dodgers were playing the Mets last July, 2012
Mike Sandlock with Don Mattingly at Citi Field. Mr. Sandlock still lives in the place where he was born. As of last year, Mike was still playing Golf once a week .