Burt Shotton

Burton Edwin Shotton (October 18, 1884 – July 29, 1962) was an American player, manager, coach and scout in Major League Baseball. As manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947; 1948–50), he won two National League pennants and served as Jackie Robinson's first permanent Major League manager.

Burt Shotton
(Burt Shotton, St. Louis AL (baseball)) LOC 14626986002 (cropped)
Outfielder / Manager
Born: October 18, 1884
Brownhelm Township, Lorain County, Ohio
Died: July 29, 1962 (aged 77)
Lake Wales, Florida
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 13, 1909, for the St. Louis Browns
Last MLB appearance
April 21, 1923, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average.271
Home runs9
Runs batted in290
Managerial record697–764
Winning %.477
As player

As manager

As coach

Playing career: Fleet-of-foot outfielder

Shotton was born in Brownhelm, a township in Lorain County, Ohio. In his playing days, he was a speedy outfielder — he was nicknamed "Barney" after race car driver Barney Oldfield — who batted left-handed and threw right-handed. The 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 175 lb (79 kg) Shotton compiled a .271 batting average with 1,338 hits in 1,387 Major League games played for the St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators and St. Louis Cardinals (1909; 1911–23).

Although he stole over 40 bases in four consecutive seasons (1913–16), he was also caught stealing over 26 times in each of those seasons. In an American League dominated by speedsters such as Ty Cobb and Clyde Milan, Shotton was never among the top five base stealers in the league, and he had a high rate of being caught stealing, but he pilfered 294 bases during his MLB career. His real talent, however, may be shown in his on-base percentage, in which he finished in the top ten in the league four times in his career. He twice (in 1913 and 1916) led AL batters in walks,[1] and finished in the top ten six seasons.[2]

In the early 1920s, as a player and coach, he was the Cardinals' "Sunday manager", relieving skipper Branch Rickey, who always observed the Christian Sabbath. Rickey and Shotton had formed a longstanding friendship and professional relationship dating back to their years together (1913–15) with the Browns, when Rickey was his manager. After Shotton retired as a player, he was on the Cardinals' coaching staff from 1923–25[3] until he took over as manager of their top farm club, the Syracuse Stars of the International League, in 1926–27.[4]

Baptism of fire in Philadelphia

Shotton's first formal Major League managing opportunity came with the NL's then-habitual tailending team, the Philadelphia Phillies. He lasted six seasons (1928–33) with the Phils, who twice lost more than 100 games during his tenure. The Shotton-era Phillies included two notable teams. The 1930 edition compiled a team batting average of .315 (paced by Chuck Klein's .386 and Lefty O'Doul's .380) and scored 944 runs; but the Phillie pitching staff allowed 1,199 runs and posted a horrendous 6.71 earned run average as the team finished last, at 52–102.[5] Then, only two years later, the 1932 club compiled a 78–76 record, good enough for fourth place in the National League. It would be the Phillies' only winning season and first-division finish between 1917 and 1949. Altogether, Shotton's win-loss mark in Philadelphia was 370–549 (.403).

Shotton then coached for the Cincinnati Reds in 1934. On July 28, he had a one-game stint as interim manager after the firing of Bob O'Farrell and before new skipper Chuck Dressen arrived from Nashville to take command of the last-place Reds; in that game, Cincinnati defeated the Chicago Cubs, 11–2.[6] Then Shotton returned to the Cardinals for a seven-year term (1935–41) managing their top-level Rochester Red Wings and Columbus Red Birds farm clubs, and spent four years (1942–45) on the coaching staff of player-manager Lou Boudreau of the Cleveland Indians.

But prior to the 1946 season, Shotton hung up his uniform and settled into a scouting role for the Brooklyn Dodgers, for whom Rickey was now part-owner, president and general manager.

A stand-in for Durocher

On the eve of the 1947 season, Shotton received a telegram from Rickey; it read: "Be in Brooklyn in the morning. Call nobody, see no one".[4] Flying immediately from his Florida home to New York, not knowing what to expect, Shotton was ushered into Rickey's presence. Leo Durocher, the Dodgers' manager since 1939, had been suspended for the entire 1947 campaign by Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler for "conduct detrimental to baseball."[7] In his search for a temporary replacement, Rickey had been rebuffed by former New York Yankees manager Joe McCarthy, then in retirement, and two of Durocher's coaches, Clyde Sukeforth (who managed the first two games of the season on an emergency basis) and Ray Blades.

Rickey pleaded with Shotton to take over the Dodgers for the remainder of the season. Then 62, and convinced that his on-field career was over, Shotton reluctantly took the reins on April 18, still in street clothes. (Shotton was one of the last baseball managers to wear everyday apparel rather than the club uniform. Unlike Connie Mack, however, he did usually add his team's cap and jacket.)

He inherited a contending Brooklyn team that had finished in a flatfooted tie for the 1946 National League pennant before losing a playoff series to the Cardinals. He also inherited what historian Jules Tygiel called Baseball's Great Experiment — the Dodgers' breaking of the infamous color line by bringing up Jackie Robinson from their Triple-A Montreal Royals farm club at the start of the 1947 season to end over sixty years of racial segregation in baseball. The rookie was facing withering insults from opposing players, and a petition by Dodger players protesting Robinson's presence had only recently been quashed by Durocher.

Shotton's calm demeanor, however, provided the quiet leadership the Dodgers needed. They won the National League pennant by five games, and took the New York Yankees to seven games in the 1947 World Series. In Game 4, Shotton helped to thwart Bill Bevens' no-hit bid in the ninth inning, sending into the game two pinch hitters and two pinch runners in an attempt to overcome a 2–1 deficit. The gambit worked, as Dodger pinch hitter Cookie Lavagetto drove home both pinch runners, Al Gionfriddo and Eddie Miksis, with his opposite-field double — Brooklyn's only hit — for a 3–2 victory.[8]

With Durocher's suspension over, Shotton retired again, this time to a front office post as "managerial consultant" in the Dodgers' vast farm system. But the 1948 Dodgers did not respond to Durocher's return; they even (briefly, on May 24) fell into the NL cellar. Durocher was still under siege by the Catholic Youth Organization because of his extramarital relationship with, and then quick marriage to, actress Laraine Day.

Return to Brooklyn's bench

With the New York Giants also floundering, owner Horace Stoneham decided to replace his manager, Mel Ott, with Shotton. He called Rickey to ask permission to speak with Shotton about the Giants' job, and was stunned when Rickey offered him the opportunity to hire Durocher instead.[9] On July 16, 1948, Durocher moved from Brooklyn to Upper Manhattan to take over the Giants. The following day, Shotton was back in the Dodger dugout — still in street clothes. On that day, Brooklyn was 37–37 and in fourth place, 812 games behind the Boston Braves.

After his return, the Dodgers rallied to take the lead in the 1948 NL standings by the end of August, before they faltered in September to finish third, 712 games behind Boston. Then, in 1949, Shotton won his second pennant, with Brooklyn capturing 97 regular-season victories to finish a game ahead of the Cardinals. Robinson won the National League's Most Valuable Player award and batting championship. But Brooklyn again bowed to the Yankees in the World Series, this time in only five games. Despite Shotton's two pennants in three seasons, he continually faced criticism from Durocher loyalists on the Dodgers, who claimed that Shotton was a poor game strategist and lacked Durocher's competitive intensity. Because he eschewed wearing a uniform, Shotton was prohibited from stepping onto the field of play during games to argue with umpires and make pitching changes; those tasks fell to one of his uniformed coaches.[10]

Shotton also had severe critics within the press, notably New York Daily News baseball writer Dick Young, who came to refer to him in print only by the derisive acronym KOBS, short for "Kindly Old Burt Shotton." Shotton's poor relationship with the New York media partly was self-inflicted: according to author Roger Kahn, he attempted to ban Young from the Brooklyn clubhouse, and alienated and infuriated the New York Herald-Tribune's Harold Rosenthal by repeatedly addressing him as "Rosenberg" and "Rosenbloom."[7][11]

In 1950, despite chronic pitching woes, Shotton guided the Dodgers to within a game of first place on the final day of the season. But Dick Sisler's tenth-inning home run off Don Newcombe won the pennant for the Phillies' "Whiz Kids", and ended both the Dodger season and Shotton's managerial career. Rickey was forced from the Brooklyn front office by new majority owner Walter O'Malley at the end of October. At his home in Bartow, Florida, Shotton ignored O'Malley's repeated suggestions that he fly to Brooklyn to "discuss [his] future", declaring, "I don't intend to go all the way up there just to be fired." Indeed, O'Malley had already decided on Chuck Dressen as his new manager; his hiring was formally announced November 28. In contrast to Shotton, the fiery Dressen would be conspicuous on the field wearing uniform No. 7 and doubling as Brooklyn's 1951 third-base coach.[12]

In retirement

Shotton's last connection with baseball was as a consultant for Rickey's Continental League, the planned "third major league" that ultimately forced expansion of MLB in 1961–62. In 1960, Rickey, the CL president, engaged Shotton to assist and supervise the managers in the Western Carolinas League, a Class D minor league originally set up to groom talent for the CL.[13]

Shotton died in Lake Wales, Florida, from a heart attack at age 77 during the second All-Star break in 1962. Although his career win-loss record as a big league manager was 697–764 (.477), his mark with the Dodgers was 326–215 (.603).

According to an informal study by researchers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the last manager to wear street clothes is believed to be Shotton, who last managed a game on Sunday, October 1, 1950.[14] (Connie Mack, who famously wore a full suit during his 50 years as manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, also retired on October 1, 1950, but his game that day ended earlier.)[15]

In popular culture

In the 2013 film 42, Shotton is played by Max Gail.

See also


  1. ^ McMillan's Baseball Encyclopedia, 10th edition.
  2. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/shottbu01.shtml
  3. ^ Retrosheet
  4. ^ a b http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-story-of-kindly-old-burt-shotton/
  5. ^ ESPN.com
  6. ^ Retrosheet: The 1934 Cincinnati Reds
  7. ^ a b Kahn, Roger (2012). The Era, 1947–1957: When the Yankees, the Giants and the Dodgers Ruled the World. New York: Diversion Books. ISBN 978-1-938120-48-0.
  8. ^ Retrosheet
  9. ^ Durocher, Leo, with Linn, Ed, Nice Guys Finish Last. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975
  10. ^ Spatz, Lyle, The People's Choice. SABR
  11. ^ Kahn, Roger (2014). Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball. New York: Rodale Books. ISBN 978-1-62336-297-3.
  12. ^ Stewart, Mark, Chuck Dressen. SABR biography project
  13. ^ Lowenfish, Lee (2007). Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1103-1.
  14. ^ Major League Baseball's Worst Idea
  15. ^ Baseball Reference

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Harry Myers
Syracuse Stars manager
Succeeded by
Franchise relocated
Preceded by
Eddie Dyer
Rochester Red Wings manager
Succeeded by
Ray Blades
Preceded by
Ray Blades
Columbus Red Birds manager
Succeeded by
Eddie Dyer
1913 St. Louis Browns season

The 1913 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 57 wins and 96 losses.

1923 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1923 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 42nd season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 32nd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 79–74 during the season and finished 5th in the National League.

1928 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1928 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished eighth in the National League with a record of 43 wins and 109 losses.

1929 Major League Baseball season

The 1929 Major League Baseball season.

1929 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1929 Philadelphia Phillies season.

1930 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1930 Philadelphia Phillies season.

1931 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1931 Philadelphia Phillies season.

1932 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1932 Philadelphia Phillies season.

1933 Major League Baseball season

The 1933 Major League Baseball season featured ballplayers hitting eight cycles, tied for the most of any single major league season; all eight cycles in each of those seasons were hit by different players.

1933 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1933 Philadelphia Phillies season.

1934 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1934 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished eighth and last in the National League with a record of 52–99, 42 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Their .344 winning percentage remains the lowest in franchise history since 1900, and the 99 losses were the worst in the franchise history until the 1982 Reds lost 101 games. Because the schedule did not have 162 games at this time, and the Reds only won 52 games this season compared to 1982, when they lost 101 games, when at the same time winning 61 games, nine more than this team, the 1934 Reds are actually a weaker team than the 1982 team, thus making this team the worst in franchise history overall.

1947 Brooklyn Dodgers season

On April 15, Jackie Robinson was the opening day first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball. Robinson went on to bat .297, score 125 runs, steal 29 bases and be named the very first African-American Rookie of the Year. The Dodgers won the National League title and went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the 1947 World Series. This season was dramatized in the movie 42.

1948 Brooklyn Dodgers season

Leo Durocher returned as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers to start the 1948 season but was fired in mid-season. He was replaced first by team coach Ray Blades and then by Burt Shotton, who had managed the team to the 1947 pennant. The Dodgers finished third in the National League after this tumultuous season.

The 1948 Dodgers were very much a work in progress, beginning to coalesce into the classic "Boys of Summer" teams of the 1950s. Gil Hodges was in the opening day lineup, but as a catcher. He would only be shifted to first base after the emergence of Roy Campanella. Jackie Robinson started the season at second base—Eddie Stanky had been traded just before the start of the season to make room for Robinson at his natural position; he had played first base during his 1947 rookie season. Pee Wee Reese was the only "Boys of summer" regular to already be ensconced at his position, shortstop. Billy Cox had been acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason, but as one of nine players who would see time at third for the team that year, he only played 70 games at the position. Carl Furillo was already a regular, but in center field. Duke Snider was brought up to the team in mid-season, and it was not until 1949 that Furillo moved to right field and Snider became the regular center fielder.

Preacher Roe and Ralph Branca were in the starting rotation, but Carl Erskine only appeared in a handful of games, and Don Newcombe would not join the staff until the following year.

1950 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers struggled for much of the season, but still wound up pushing the Philadelphia Phillies to the last day of the season before falling two games short. Following the season, Branch Rickey was replaced as majority owner/team president by Walter O'Malley, who promptly fired manager Burt Shotton and replaced him with Chuck Dressen. Buzzie Bavasi was also hired as the team's first independent General Manager.

Vin Scully joined the Dodgers' radio and television crew as a play-by-play announcer in 1950; in 2016, Scully entered his 67th consecutive season with the club, the longest such tenure in the history of sports broadcasting, that season was the first wherein his voice, as well as of Red Barber's, was broadcast on television station WOR-TV, making the Dodgers the last New York City MLB team to introduce regular television broadcasts, 11 years following the first broadcasts of 1939.

Bill Bevens

Floyd Clifford "Bill" Bevens (October 21, 1916 – October 26, 1991) was a right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher. He stood 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) and weighed 210 lb (95 kg). He signed with the New York Yankees at 20 in 1937, and spent seven seasons in their minor league system, throwing two no-hitters for the Wenatchee Chiefs before finally making his major league debut with the Yankees on May 12, 1944 at the age of 27.

In his third minor league season, he pitched his first no-hitter on September 21, 1939, against the Tacoma Tigers, winning 8-0 with the only opposing baserunner reaching on an error, giving his Wenatchee Chiefs their first playoff win after losing the first three games of the series to Tacoma.He pitched four years for the Yanks when they finally brought him up to the majors, amassing a career record of 40–36 with a 3.08 ERA. His best year was 1946, when he went 16–13 and 2.23. Although in the regular 1947 season, his last year in the majors, he won only seven and lost 13.

For 8​2⁄3 innings in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series Bevens had held the Dodgers hitless despite giving up a Series record ten walks. The Yankees were nursing a 2–1 lead. With one out to go for the first no-hitter in Series history, he walked right fielder Carl Furillo and then (intentionally) pinch-hitter Pete Reiser. Dodger manager Burt Shotton sent in Al Gionfriddo to pinch-run for Furillo and Eddie Miksis for the injury-slowed Reiser, and aging Cookie Lavagetto to pinch-hit for leadoff man Eddie Stanky. With two outs and two on in the bottom of the ninth, Lavagetto swung and missed for strike one but then on Bevens' second (and last) pitch lined a double off the right field wall scoring both runners and winning the game for the Dodgers 3-2 with their only hit.On October 6, Bevens returned to the mound for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in the deciding Game 7, winning the world championship for the Yanks. It was the last major league game for the thirty-year-old Bevens.

"I do not use anything odd or unorthodox. I have a sinker, but it is a natural delivery. Fast ball, curve, change, and change in speeds. That is my repertoire." – Bill Bevens in Baseball Magazine (June 1947, Daniel M. Daniel)

He eventually landed another major league job with the Cincinnati Reds in 1952, but was sold to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals before he could see any action for the Reds.

Bevens died of lymphoma on October 26, 1991, five days after his 75th birthday.

Elmer Sexauer

Elmer George Sexauer (May 21, 1926 – June 27, 2011) was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He was an alumnus of Wake Forest University.

Sexauer made his Major League Baseball debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 6, 1948, and appeared in his final game on September 12, 1948.

The book Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodgers Dugout: Extra Innings (2004) includes short stories from former Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine. Sexauer is prominent in one of these stories, entitled "Elmer and Jocko". The story chronicles a memorable interaction between Sexauer and Hall of Fame umpire Jocko Conlan. An unknown Dodger had thrown a towel on the field towards Conlan, however, Conlan did not spot the culprit. The umpire approached Dodger manager Burt Shotton, informing him that someone was going to be ejected for the incident. Although Shotton was also unaware of who threw the towel, he offered up Sexauer to Conlan, since Sexauer was a rookie who had just been brought up from the minors. Before having thrown a single pitch in the majors, Sexauer had been ejected. Although he had not thrown the towel, Sexauer left the field to a chorus of boos from the opposing crowd.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers managers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball team that plays in the National League Western Division. The Dodgers began play in 1884 as the Brooklyn Atlantics and have been known by seven nicknames since (including the Grays, Grooms, Superbas, and Robins), before adopting the Dodgers name for good in 1932. They played in Brooklyn, New York until their move to Los Angeles in 1958. During the teams existence, they have employed 32 different managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field.

List of people from Winter Haven, Florida

The following is a list of notable people who were born in, lived in or are associated with the city of Winter Haven, Florida:

Frank Attkisson, politician

Andre Berto, professional welterweight boxer

Otis Birdsong, former professional basketball player

George A. "Banana George" Blair, professional barefoot skier

Kenneth Brokenburr, gold medalist, 4x100 meter relay team at the 2000 Summer Olympics

Lem Burnham, football player

Chris Cameron, gymnast

Stephen Christian, lead singer of Anberlin

Tim Ford, Mississippi lawyer and legislator

Rowdy Gaines, Olympic 3-time gold medal swimmer

Michael Griffin, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin

Gloria Hendry, actress

Ralph Houk, former manager of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Boston Red Sox

Gene Leedy, modern architect

Charlie Manuel, former manager of MLB's Philadelphia Phillies

Jake Owen, country singer

Kathleen Parker, author and syndicated columnist

Gram Parsons, country and rock musician

James Lord Pierpont, songwriter of Jingle Bells. Uncle of J.P. Morgan.

Dick Pope, Sr., founder of Cypress Gardens and famed water-skier

Dick Pope, Jr., former world champion water-skier and bare-foot water-skier

Alex Ramirez, professional baseball player

Lawrence Scarpa, architect

Jordan Schafer, MLB player

Burt Shotton, former manager of MLB's Philadelphia Phillies and Brooklyn Dodgers

John A. Snively, pioneer citrus grower, developed extensive groves in the Winter Haven area

Jim Stafford, country singer

Dewey Tomko, professional poker player

Sally Wheeler, actress

O.D. Wilson, powerlifter and professional strongman

Gary Wright, singer, actor, arts educator/presenter

Michael Yon, journalist

Syracuse Stars (minor league baseball)

This article refers to the former minor league baseball team. For the major league baseball teams see Syracuse Stars (American Association) and Syracuse Stars (National League).

The Syracuse Stars was the name of several Minor league baseball teams who played between 1877 and 1929. The Stars were based in Syracuse, New York, and played in the International League, affiliated with the League Alliance; the New York State League (1885, 1902-1917), Eastern Association (1891), Eastern League (1892, 1894-1901), International League (1886-1887), International Association (1888-1889), and New York-Pennsylvania League (1928-1929).


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