Ralph Branca then
Ralph Theodore Joseph Branca was born on January 6, 1926 in Mount Vernon. He was the fifteenth of seventeen children. He was signed by the Dodgers after a local tryout.
Ralph’s father, John Branca, came to America from Italy. Ralph’s mother, Katherine Berger, was born in Hungary. Ralph married Ann Mulvey in 1951. Her parents owned a share of the Dodgers, and her maternal grandfather had been president of the Brooklyn Club.
The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Branca out of the New York University in 1943, when he was just seventeen years old.
In 1947 the twenty-one-year-old Branca became the second-youngest National Leaguer to win 20 games.
Branca was involved in two of the biggest moments in baseball history. One was the integration of baseball by Jackie Robinson in 1947, and the other was as the man who threw the pitch hit for a home run by Bobby Thompson that won the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants.
In January 2001, joshua Praeger, a reporter for the Wall Street journal published the details of a sign-stealing scheme the Giants rigged in the Polo Grounds. The scheme involved a telescope from windows in the center-field clubhouse, a buzzer rigged under dirt in the bullpen, and a reserve catcher positioning his body and equipment to tip-off the batter as to which pitch was coming.
Branca said his friendship with Jackie Robinson continued after baseball. They played golf together when they worked in Manhattan and saw each other a lot while Jackie was with Chock Full of Nuts.
Ralph Branca now
Check out Ralph’s website at http://www.ralphbranca.com/ and his book:
Ref: SABR.org, book: ‘The Team that forever Changed Baseball and America The 1947 Brooklyn dodgers” Note: I am loving this book!
Thankfully the list of Brooklyn players alive is still the same number as when I updated the list as of January 2013. The only thing is that I updated the list to include the years the players played for the Dodgers. I got a comment asking me if I knew who of the Dodger players that are alive played with Jackie Robinson in 1947. Robert knew Ralph Branca did, but he wanted to know who else. The other two are Don Lund and Marv Rackley.
So here is the updated list with what years each of these players played for the Dodgers.
Clike on the following link to open the worksheet.
Brooklyn players Alive as of Jan 2013 New.xls
the list was not lining up correctly here so I added the link but if anyone can’t open the above link, here is the way is showing up here:
Name Birthplace. Born Uni# Played for Dodgers
Mike Sandlock Old Greenwich, CT. 10/17/1915 1,4 1945 – 1946
Ray Hathaway Grinville, OH. 10/13/1916 22 1945
Lee Pfund Oak Park ILL. 10/10/1919 14 1945
Luis Olmo Puerto Rico. 10/11/1919 21 1943-1945.1949
Jean-Pierre Roy Canada. 6/26/1920 34 1946
Pat McGlothin Coalfield, TN. 10/20/1920 23 1949-1950
Andy Pafko Boiceville, IL. 2/25/1921 22,48 1951-1952
Marv Rackley Seneca, SC. 7/25/1921 35 1947-1949
Chuck Kress Philadelphia. 12/9/1921 5 1954
Eddie Basinksi Buffalo, NY. 11/4/1922 3 1944-1945
Don Lund Detroit, Mi. 5/18/1923 40 1945,1947-1948
Tim Thompson Coalport, PA. 3/1/1924 21 1954
George Shuba Youngstown, OH. 12/13/1924 8 1948-1950,1952-1955
Johnny Rutherford Ontario, CN. 5/5/1925 15 1952
Wayne Terwilliger Clare, Mi. 6/27/1925 34 1951
Chris Haughey Astoria, NY. 10/3/1925 14 1943
Ralph Branca Mount Vernon, NY. 1/6/1926 13,20,28 1944-1953, 1956
Bob Borkowski Dayton, OH. 1/27/1926 27 1955
Randy Jackson Little Rock, AR. 2/10/1926 2 1956-1958
Dick Teed Springfield, MA. 3/8/1926 37 1953 One At Bat
Don Newcombe Madison, NJ. 6/14/1926 36 1949-1951, 1954-1958
Bobby Morgan Oklahoma city. 6/29/1926 2 1950, 1952-1953
Charlie Osgood Sommerville, MA 11/23/1926 20 1944
Carl Erskine Anderson, IN. 12/13/1926 17 1948-1959
Preston Ward Columbia, MO. 7/24/1927 36 1948
Rocky Bridges Refugio, TX. 8/7/1927 9 1951-1952
Tommy Lasorda Norristown, PA. 9/22/1927 2,27,29 1954-1955
Tommy Brown Brooklyn, NY. 12/6/1927 9 1944-1945. 1947- 1951
Joe Landrum Columbia, SC. 12/13/1928 19 1950, 1952
Joe Pignatano Brooklyn, NY. 8/4/1929 58 1957-1960
Roger Craig Durham, NC. 2/17/1930 38 1955-1961
Ron Negray Akron, OH. 2/26/1930 38 1952, 1958
Glenn Mickens Wilman, CA 7/26/1930 46 1953
Don Zimmer Cincinnati, OH. 1/17/1931 23 1954-1959, 1963
Ed Roebuck East Millboro, PA 7/3/1931 37 1956-1958, 1960-1963
Fred Kipp Iqua, KS. 10/1/1931 26 1957-1959
Chico Fernandez Cuba. SS. 3/2/1932 3 1956
Jim Gentile San Francisco, CA 6/3/1934 38 1957-1958
Don Demeter Oklahoma City. OK 6/25/1935 2 1956, 1958-1961
Sandy Koufax Brooklyn, NY. 12/30/1935 32 1955-1966
Bob Aspromonte Brooklyn, NY. 6/19/1938 28, 34 1956, 1960-1961
Rod Miller Portland, OR. 1/16/1940 50 1957 One at Bat
P.S. The next Brooklyn Dodger from this list that I will post about is Wayne Terwilliger.
This is a great article on Clayton Kershaw:
So in honor of the article and Kershaw pitching tonight here are some more haikus for today:
Kershaw and Ryu
Then what do the Dodgers do?
I don’t know, do you?
Nino de Oro
he reminds us of Koufax
and of El Toro
The basement is cold
The losing streak is at six
but Kershaw is gold!
13 and 19
The Dodgers current record
Let’s get to 14!
attendance last night
was only 33K
with shirt giveaway
My bet for tonigh
attendance will be higher
With Kershaw all right!
Let’s go Dodgers! Let’s start a winning streak tonight!
Happy birthday to El Titan Adrian Gonzalez! He turns 31 tonight! @Dodgers, Make sure you play “El Mariachi Loco” for all his at bats! We like to dance to his at bat song.
Dodger news: Justin Sellers has been sent down and Tim Federowicz has been called up!
I was surprised that again I came in at #14 for the month of February in the latest MLBBlog latest leaders.
Great! Thank you those that visit my blog and those that found it while searching something I had here!
Last month when I came in at #14 for the month of January I dedicated the post to Gil Hodges.
This time I will dedicate it to #14 Mike Scioscia!
A skinny Mike Scioscia with a skinny Tommy Lasorda
I got this signed by Mike prior to a game.
Mike was the best blocking home plate! I sat behind home plate in the Loge level for two years (1981 & 1982) watching him play.
Here ist to you Mike! Wish you were still with the Blue!
I am missing my lemonade from Camelback Ranch
Again, thank you everyone that stops by here. Thank you Mark for doing the Latest Leaders list.
I am getting back to honoring the Brooklyn Dodgers that are alive so here is #12 in my list from oldest to youngest.
Don Lund then
Donald Andrew Lund was a backup outfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers, St Louis Browns and Detroit Tigers. He was born in Detroit on May 18, 1931. He shares a birthday with my dear aunt Nora and my friend Sandi who is a St. Louis Cardinal fan.
From Baseball Reference.com:
Outfielder Don Lund earned nine letters at the University of Michigan and was also drafted by the Chicago Bears. After his playing career ended, he was a Detroit Tigers coach in 1957 and 1958. He was then the Tigers’ farm director in 1963, Scouting director in 1964, and director of player development from 1965 to 1970.
The young Lund attracted attention in 1947, a pennant-winning year for the Brooklyn Dodgers, when he went 6 for 20, slugging .700 with 2 doubles and 2 homers. He did not appear in post-season play. Lund was one of 11 players used in left field by the Dodgers that season, who never did pick a regular left-fielder in the late 1940s.
His year with the most major league at-bats was 1953, when he hit .257 in 421 at-bats with the Tigers. Al Kaline was an 18-year-old rookie that year, and the following year Kaline became a regular, while Lund was a backup.
checking the Dodgers media guide, Mr. Don Lund wore uniforms #8 #17 #25 #40. He was in 4 games in 1945, 11 games in 1947 and 27 games in 1948. He went to the Tigers in 1948.
Don Lund now.
I did not know that there is a SABR chapter called Don Lund Chapter! the Don Lund Chapter serves the Southeastern Michigan area. Very nice!
Also in 1997 SABR conference #27 in Louisville, Kentucky saw a player panel highlighted by Pee Wee Reese that also featured Ed Stevens and Don lund. Jim Bunning was the keynote speaker.
Found this book also about Don Lund:
James Robert Irwin
Saint James Books, 2009
From everything I read about Mr. Lund, he is another terrific person.
Ref: Baseballreference.com mgoblue.com, Annarbor.com
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
February 13 is my MLB Fan Blog 4th anniversary. During these four years my blog has ranked between #16 to #52 in the monthly ranking. I was surprised that I came in at #14 for the month of January 2013!
Thank you everyone that visits my blog and if you just happen to stumbled up on it well welcome!
I dedicate my blog coming in at #14 to Gil Hodges
Hodges was the Major League premier first baseman making eight career All-Star teams.
He had 370 career home runs, which by 1962 ranked second all-time for right-handed hitters behind Jimmie Foxx.
From 1949 to 1959 he averaged 30 homeruns and 101 RBI’s
The only players in his time to drive in 100 runs in seven straight season.
He had five straight season with 30 homeruns and eleven straight with 20 homers tying a league record.
He had at least 23 doubles and 23 homeruns for nine straight years.
For the 1950s, he ranked second in the majors in homers and RBIs behind Duke Snider, and third in total bases behind Snider and Stan Musial.
Hodges was the recipient of the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1959, the perfect credential for a Hall of Fame member.
He ranked in the top 10 in runs, hits, and walks
He also received the first three Gold Glove awards given to a first baseman
he helped the Dodgers capture seven pennants and two world titles.
Hodges’ managed the Miracle Mets and in 1969, led them all the way to the World Series Championship.
His managerial career was prematurely cut short when, while golfing in Florida, he suffered a massive heart attack two days before his 48th birthday.
Vin Scully said this about Gil Hodges:
“I can’t understand why Gil Hodges isn’t in the Hall of Fame.”
From Mark Langill, Dodger historian: http://dodgershistory.mlblogs.com/2012/07/18/gil-hodges-and-the-hall-of-fame/comment-page-1/
Here is the 2012
I came in at #22 in the 2012 Top 100 MLB Blogs in the Fan category! I dedicate the number to #22 Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw and to his organization http://www.kershawschallenge.com/
Behind a great guy is a great woman: Ellen Kershaw
Kershaw hard at work:
Give $100 to Kershaw’s Challenge & receive a signed 8×10 Photograph – Plus a Dodger blue, Kershaw shirt to wear to games this season
Thank you to Mark and all from the MLB Blogs for doing the Top 100 MLB Blogs every year. Thank you to commenters, readers and anyone else that stumbles on my blog! Thank you to Clayton & Ellen Kershaw for their wonderful work giving back to the community. Is no wonder that Clayton Kershaw was the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award winner.
p.s. lost my original post here so I had to redo this. No problem, learned something.
We lost two Brooklyn Dodgers in 2012 so we have 42 Brooklyn Dodgers alive as of 2013.
Here is Mike Sandlock, the oldest Brooklyn Dodger holding a 1945 picture
Here is the updated list with a new column for Uniform number:
|Mike Sandlock||10/17/1915||Old Greenwich,CT||1, 4|
|Ray Hathaway||10/13/1916||Grinville, OH||22|
|Lee Pfund||10/18/1919||Oak Park, IL||14|
|Luis Olmo||10/11/1919||Puerto Rico||21|
|Jean-Pierre Roy||06/26/1920||Montreal, Canada||34|
|Pat McGlothin||10/20/1920||Coalfield, TN||23|
|Andy Pafko||02/25/1921||Boyceville, Wi||22,48|
|Marv Rackley||07/25/1921||Seneca, SC||35|
|Chuck Kress||12/09/1921||Philadelphia, PA||5|
|Eddie Basinski||11/04/1922||Buffalo, NY||3|
|Don Lund||05/18/1923||Detroit, MI||40|
|Tim Thompson||03/01/1924||Coalport, PA||21|
|George Shuba||12/13/1924||Youngstown, PA||8|
|Johnny Rutherford||05/05/1925||Ontario, Canada||15|
|Wayne Terwilliger||06/27/1925||Clare, MI||34|
|Chris Haughey||10/03/1925||Astoria, NY||14|
|Ralph Branca||01/06/1926||Mount Vernon, NY||13,20,28|
|Bob Borkowski||01/27/1926||Dayton, OH||27|
|Randy Jackson||02/10/1926||Little Rock, AR||2|
|Dick Teed||03/08/1926||Springfield, MA||37|
|Don Newcombe||06/14/1926||Madison, NJ||36|
|Bobby Morgan||06/29/1926||Oklahoma City, OK||2|
|Charlie Osgood||11/23/1926||Sommerville, MA||20|
|Carl Erskine||12/13/1926||Anderson, IN||17|
|Preston Ward||07/24/1927||Columbia, MO||36|
|Rocky Bridges||08/07/1927||Refugio, TX||9|
|Tommy Lasorda||09/22/1927||Norristown, PA||2,27,29|
|Tommy Brown||12/6/1927||Brooklyn, NY||9|
|Joe Landrum||12/13/1928||Columbia, NC||19|
|Joe Pignatano||08/04/1929||Brooklyn, NY||58|
|Roger Craig||02/17/1930||Durham, NC||38|
|Ron Negray||02/26/1930||Akron, OH||38|
|Glenn Mickens||07/26/1930||Wilman, CA||46|
|Don Zimmer||01/17/1931||Cincinnati, OH||23|
|Ed Roebuck||07/03/1931||East Millboro, PA||37|
|Fred Kipp||10/01/1931||Iqua, KS||26|
|Jim Gentile||06/03/1934||San Francisco, CA||38|
|Don Demeter||06/25/1935||Oklahoma City, OK||2|
|Sandy Koufax||12/30/1935||Brooklyn, NY||32|
|Bob Aspromonte||06/19/1938||Brooklyn, NY||28,34|
|Rod Miller||01/16/1940||Portland, OR||50|
ref: SABR, Baseball Reference, 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers guide, Pic from Greenwichtime.com