Pee Wee Reese

Harold Peter Henry "Pee Wee" Reese (July 23, 1918 – August 14, 1999) was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a shortstop for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940 to 1958.[1] A ten-time All Star, Reese contributed to seven National League championships for the Dodgers and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. Reese is also famous for his support of his teammate Jackie Robinson, the first modern African American player in the major leagues, especially in Robinson's difficult first years.

Pee Wee Reese
1954 Bowman Pee Wee Reese
Reese displayed in a trading card by the Bowman Gum Company, 1954
Shortstop
Born: July 23, 1918
Ekron, Kentucky
Died: August 14, 1999 (aged 81)
Louisville, Kentucky
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 23, 1940, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1958, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
Batting average.269
Hits2,170
Home runs126
Runs batted in885
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1984
VoteVeteran's Committee

Early life

Reese's nickname originated in his childhood, as he was a champion marbles player (a "pee wee" is a small marble). Reese was born in Ekron, Meade County, Kentucky, and raised there until he was nearly eight years old, when his family moved to racially segregated Louisville. In high school, Reese was so small that he did not play baseball until his senior year, at which time he weighed only 120 pounds and played just six games as a second baseman.[2] He graduated from duPont Manual High School in 1937. He worked as a cable splicer for the Louisville phone company, only playing amateur baseball in a church league. When Reese's team reached the league championship, the minor league Louisville Colonels allowed them to play the championship game on their field. Reese impressed Colonels owner Cap Neal, who signed him to a contract for a $200 bonus.[2] While playing for the Colonels, he was affectionately referred to by his teammates as "The Little Colonel."[3]

Baseball career

By 1938, Reese was the Colonels' regular shortstop and one of the top prospects in the minors, and so impressed Boston Red Sox farm director Billy Evans that he recommended the Red Sox buy the team. Evans and owner Tom Yawkey both knew that the Red Sox' regular shortstop, Joe Cronin, was nearing the end of his career.[2][4]

However, Cronin was also the Red Sox' manager, and still thought of himself as a regular shortstop. When Yawkey sent Cronin to Louisville to scout Reese, Cronin realized that he was scouting his own replacement. Cronin deliberately downplayed Reese's talent and suggested Reese be traded. It took a while to find a buyer, since the other teams assumed something had to be wrong with Reese if the Red Sox wanted to get rid of him. However, on July 18, 1939, Reese was sent to Brooklyn for $35,000 and four players to be named later. This trade is now considered one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. As it turned out, Cronin was only a part-time player after 1941.[4]

Reese stayed in Louisville for the rest of the 1939 season, and was called up to Brooklyn in time for the 1940 season. In an ironic twist, he walked into a situation where his manager was also the regular shortstop—in this case, Leo Durocher. Unlike Cronin, however, Durocher was willing to give up his spot in the lineup to Reese.

Early playing career

Pee wee reese exhibits
Reese with the Dodgers.

Reese's rookie season in 1940 was curtailed by a broken heel bone that limited him to 84 games in what had looked to be a promising season (.272 batting average with 58 runs scored). He had a thrilling moment that year, hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the New York Giants. In 1941, he hit .229 and led the league with 47 errors. Even playing in the World Series that year was a forgettable experience for Reese, as he batted .200 and made three errors in the five-game Yankee win. It was in the 1942 campaign that he truly established himself, making the National League All-Star team for the first of ten consecutive years and leading National League shortstops in both putouts and assists.

Like many players of his era, he missed three seasons due to military service. Reese enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943 and shipped out to fight in the Pacific theater of World War II. While Reese was in the service, the Dodgers languished, finishing no better than third place and as poorly as 42 games out (in seventh place) in 1943. Upon his return in 1946, Reese immediately righted the ship as the Dodgers battled the St. Louis Cardinals in a tight pennant race. The two teams ended the season tied for first place and met in the 1946 National League tie-breaker series.[5] It was the first playoff tiebreaker in Major League Baseball history.[6] The Cardinals won the first two games of the best-of-three game series to capture the National League pennant.[5]

Jackie Robinson

Reese was a strong supporter and good friend of the first black Major League Baseball player, Jackie Robinson. He was serving a stint in the Navy when the news of Robinson's signing came. Although he had little or no experience interacting with minorities—according to Reese, his meeting Robinson marked the first time in his life that he had shaken hands with a black man — he had no particular prejudices, either. It is reported that his father had made him starkly aware of racial injustice by showing him a tree where a lynching had occurred.[7] The modest Reese, who typically downplayed his pioneering role in helping to ease the breaking of the 60-year-old color line, said that his primary concern with regard to Robinson's arrival was the possibility of Reese losing his shortstop job. Robinson was assigned to play as the team's first baseman, and Reese retained his position.

In the spring of 1947, some Dodgers players began circulating a petition when word spread that Brooklyn intended to bring Jackie Robinson up from their farm team in Montreal. The players assumed that Reese, who grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, would sign. According to sportswriter Roger Kahn, who later become close friends with Reese, the petition essentially said, "If you bring up the nigger, trade us. We won't play." However, the popular Reese refused to sign the petition and it died.[8]

When a sportswriter asked Reese if he was threatened by Robinson taking his position of shortstop, Reese simply responded, "If he can take my job, he's entitled to it." Reese was one of the few welcoming to Robinson, who endured horrible abuse from the crowds and fellow players, including pitchers who threw directly at his head and players who berated him with racial slurs. After spending a day with the Dodgers in 1947, sportswriter Jimmy Cannon concluded that, "Robinson is the loneliest man I have ever seen in sports."[8][9]

When Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947 and traveled with them during their first road trip, he was heckled by fans in Cincinnati. During pre-game infield practice at Crosley Field (the then-home of the Cincinnati Reds), Reese, the captain of the team, went over to Robinson, engaged him in conversation, and put his arm around his shoulder in a gesture of support that silenced the crowd.[8] (According to a 2013 article on ESPN, Brian Cronin argues that the incident actually occurred in 1948 in Boston.)[9]

The gesture is depicted in a bronze sculpture of Reese and Robinson, created by sculptor William Behrends, which was placed at MCU Park in Brooklyn and unveiled on November 1, 2005. In a 2005 article, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert highlighted Kahn's statement that Reese's gesture to Jackie Robinson is "Baseball's finest moment."[8]

Throughout that difficult first year in the major leagues, Reese helped keep Robinson's morale up amid all the abuse. As the 1947 season wore on, there was tacit acceptance of the fact that blacks were now playing big league ball and were probably there to stay. Reese became good friends with Robinson and was able to use humor to alleviate some of the tension and make Robinson laugh. Robinson still got pitches thrown at him, but, as Reese recounted to Kahn, "I told him, 'You know Jack, some of these guys are throwing at you because you're black. But others are doing it just because they plain don't like you.'" His role in nurturing Jackie Robinson aside, 1947 was a superb year for Reese, as he batted .284 with a league-leading 104 walks. He also had a career best slugging average of .426. Their rapport soon led shortstop Reese and second baseman Robinson to become one of the most effective defensive pairs in the sport's history. The friendship between Reese and Robinson is prominent in Roger Kahn's classic 1972 work, The Boys of Summer.[8]

When Robinson died in 1972, Reese was one of the pallbearers at his funeral.[8]

Later career

In 1949, Reese had his only league lead in a significant batting category, topping all National Leaguers with 132 runs scored. The Dodgers won the pennant again that year, but the Yankees continued to dominate in the World Series, winning in five games despite Reese's .316 Series average and team-leading five hits.

Reese became the Dodgers' team captain in 1950. In 1951, he had his career high in RBI, with 84. In 1952, he led the National League in stolen bases with 30. That year, Reese had his best Series, batting .345 with 10 hits, one home run and four RBI. In Game 3, Robinson and Reese pulled off a double steal, with both later scoring on a passed ball.

The 1953 Dodgers won the National League pennant with a mark of 105–49 for a .682 winning percentage. Reese was a mainstay for the team, with 108 runs scored and a .271 batting average. The Yankees, however, again defeated the Dodgers in the 1953 World Series, four games to two. After the season, the Dodgers offered Reese the position of manager; when Reese declined the promotion, the Dodgers hired Walter Alston, who remained manager for more than two decades.

In 1954, Reese batted .309, the only season in which he hit over .300. Though 36 years old, he was still going strong during the 1955 season, scoring 99 runs. In that year, the Dodgers won their first World Series. Reese had two RBIs in Game 2. In Game 7, he singled and scored an insurance run. While on the field, he doubled Gil McDougald off first base after Sandy Amorós made a sensational catch of a Yogi Berra fly ball in left field and relayed the throw to Reese to help preserve the victory.

In 1957, Reese yielded his starting role to another black ballplayer, Charlie Neal. As the Dodgers moved west in 1958, Reese joined them as a backup infielder, retiring that year after batting .224 in 59 games. He coached for the Dodgers in the 1959 season, earning a second World Series ring.

Career statistics

In a 16-year major league career, Reese played in 2,166 games, accumulating 2,170 hits in 8,058 at bats for a .269 career batting average along with 126 home runs, 885 runs batted in and an on-base percentage of .366. He retired with a .962 fielding percentage.

Other than his Navy time between 1943 and 1945, Reese had no breaks in service and played at least 140 games in every year from 1941 to 1956. Consistently productive, he scored at least 75 runs from 1942 through 1956 and amassed 1,338 lifetime, best of any Dodger. Though he never won a Most Valuable Player Award, eight times he ranked in the top ten of the Most Valuable Player Award balloting. He also was a home run threat during a time when shortstops seldom hit home runs. Reese amassed 252 stolen bases in a period when steals were not an integral part of the game. Defensively, he was an outstanding gloveman, leading National League shortstops four times in putouts and ranking in the top 10 all-time in putouts and double plays.

One of the most popular players with both his teammates and the fans, the "Little Colonel" was the Dodgers' team captain, and he, not the manager, brought out the line-up card at the start of their games. Reese and Elston Howard have the dubious distinction of playing on the most losing World Series teams (six each). Reese's only World Series win as a player, with the Dodgers in the 1955 World Series, occurred against Howard's New York Yankees during Howard's first World Series. No other non-Yankee ballplayer has appeared in that many World Series for the same team.

Broadcasting career

Reese in a television commercial for Gillette razors, ca. 1956.

Following his retirement as a player, Reese enjoyed considerable success as a baseball play-by-play announcer. He called Game of the Week telecasts on CBS from 1960 to 1965 (with Dizzy Dean) and for NBC from 1966 to 1968 (with Curt Gowdy). Reese also broadcast the 1967 and 1968 World Series for NBC Radio, called Cincinnati Reds telecasts in 1969–1970, and served as a part-time television analyst for the Montreal Expos in 1972.

Later life and death

In his later years, Reese was employed at Hillerich & Bradsby, makers of Louisville Slugger baseball bats. He battled prostate and lung cancer during the final years of his life, and died on August 14, 1999 at his Louisville home. He is interred at Resthaven Memorial Park Cemetery in Louisville.

Awards and honors

LAret1
Pee Wee Reese's number 1 was retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1984.

In 1984, Reese was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum along with Rick Ferrell. On his entry, his support of Jackie Robinson was cited as well as his playing performance as a testament to his worthiness of the Hall.

A statue of Reese was erected in front of the main entrance of Louisville Slugger Field.

A statue of Reese and Jackie Robinson was erected in Brooklyn, New York in November 2005, in front of KeySpan Park (now MCU Park) where the Mets (minor league) Class A Cyclones play. Their widows both attended the ceremony for the statue which memorializes the gesture of Reese and his teammates overcoming the racial barrier.[11]

Reese was presented with the "SABR Hero of Baseball Award" at the Society for American Baseball Research's June 1997 national convention at Louisville,Kentucky.

Personal life

Reese was married to Dorothy "Dottie" Walton on March 29, 1942, who outlived him by nearly thirteen years. They had two children, and Dottie died on March 7, 2012; just 22 days away from what would have been the couple's Platinum wedding anniversary.

In popular culture

  • Film – In the film 42, Reese is played by Lucas Black. The moment when he put his arm around Robinson is also depicted.
  • Comics – The Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement commissioned a comic strip featuring a character based on Pee Wee Reese, the style of the strip was in the visual style of Chester Gould's Dick Tracy.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ McHale, Matt. "Pee Wee Reese Dies; Ex-Dodgers Captain Led Brooklyn Team to '55 Championship"Los Angeles Daily News – (c/o TheFreeLibrary.com) – August 15, 1999
  2. ^ a b c Baseball Digest, 1948, by Arthur Daley of The New York Times.
  3. ^ Worldwide, CMG. "Biography." Pee Wee Reese. CMG Worldwide, n.d. Web. 10 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b Neyer, Rob (2006). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders. New York City: Fireside. ISBN 0-7432-8491-7.
  5. ^ a b "1946 National League Team Statistics and Standings". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  6. ^ "Tiebreaker Playoff Results". ESPN.com. September 30, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  7. ^ "Harold "Pee Wee" Reese – Youth In Kentucky". jrank.org.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Herbert, Bob (September 23, 2005). "Baseball's Finest Moment: Pee Wee Reese". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Cronin, Brian (April 15, 2013). "Did Reese really embrace Robinson in '47?". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "Rachel Robinson Recalls How the Late Pee Wee Reese Helped Jackie Robinson Integrate Baseball". Jet Magazine (c/o FindArticles), September 13, 1999.
  11. ^ Berkow, Ira (November 2, 2005). "Two Men Who Did the Right Thing". The New York Times. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Seeman, Don. "Publishing Godliness: The Lubavitcher Rebbe's Other Revolution." Jewish Review of Books. July 16, 2014.

External links

Preceded by
Joe Garagiola
Lead color commentator, Major League Baseball on NBC
1966–1968
Succeeded by
Tony Kubek
1941 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers, led by manager Leo Durocher, won their first pennant in 21 years, edging the St. Louis Cardinals by 2.5 games. They went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series.

In The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, this team was referenced as one of "The Greatest Teams That Never Was", due to the quality of its starting lineup. Dolph Camilli was the slugging star with 34 home runs and 120 RBI. He was voted the National League's Most Valuable Player. Pete Reiser, a 22-year-old rookie, led the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and runs scored. Other regulars included Hall of Famers Billy Herman, Joe Medwick, Pee Wee Reese, and Dixie Walker. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers scored the most runs of any NL team (800).

The pitching staff featured a pair of 22-game winners, Kirby Higbe and Whitlow Wyatt, having their best pro seasons.

1941 Play Ball Cards

The Play Ball baseball card sets, issued by Gum Inc. from 1939 to 1941, are sets filled with various rookies, stars, and Hall of Famers. The 1941 set has a total of 72 cards. The more valuable cards in the set include Ted Williams ($1500), Joe DiMaggio ($2500), and the rookie Pee Wee Reese ($400–$600). Any Play Ball cards are relatively rare, and if highly graded the cards demand a premium. The 1941 Play Ball set is the only Play Ball set with color.

1946 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers finished the season tied for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals. The two teams played in the first ever playoff series to decide the pennant, and the Cardinals took two straight to win the title.

With their star players back from the war, Brooklyn had jumped back into serious contention. They would be respectable until their move to Los Angeles 10 years later.

This season was the team's – and Major League Baseball's – last non-integrated one.

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.

1949 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1949 Brooklyn Dodgers held off the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League title by one game. The Dodgers lost the World Series to the New York Yankees in five games.

1949 World Series

The 1949 World Series featured the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, with the Yankees winning in five games for their second defeat of the Dodgers in three years, and the twelfth championship in team history. This victory would start a record run of five consecutive World Series championships by the Yankees, and was also the first of 14 AL pennants in 16 years (1949–1964 except for 1954 and 1959) for the Yankees.

Both teams finished the regular season with exactly the same records and winning their respective leagues by exactly one game.

1951 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers led the National League for much of the season, holding a 13-game lead as late as August. However, a late season swoon and a hot streak by the New York Giants led to a classic three-game playoff series. Bobby Thomson's dramatic ninth-inning home run off Dodger reliever Ralph Branca in the final game won the pennant for the Giants and was immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.

1952 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers rebounded from the heartbreaking ending of 1951 to win the National League pennant by four games over the New York Giants. However, they dropped the World Series in seven games to the New York Yankees. Led by Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, and Duke Snider, the high-powered Brooklyn offense scored the most runs in the majors.

1952 World Series

The 1952 World Series featured the 3-time defending champions New York Yankees beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games. The Yankees won their 4th consecutive title, tying the mark they set in 1936–1939 under manager Joe McCarthy, and Casey Stengel became the second manager in Major League history with 4 consecutive World Series championships. This was the Yankees' 15th World Series championship win, and the 3rd time they defeated the Dodgers in 6 years.

In Game 7, the Yankees' second baseman Billy Martin made a great catch, preserving the Yankees' two-run lead. Also, the home run hit by Mickey Mantle during the 8th inning of Game 6 was significant because it was the first of his record 18 career World Series home runs.

The NBC telecasts of Games 6 and 7 are believed to be the oldest surviving television broadcasts of the World Series, as they were preserved via kinescope by sponsor Gillette.

1953 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers repeated as National League champions by posting a 105–49 record, as of 2017, it is the best winning percentage in team history. However, the Dodgers again failed to win the World Series, losing in six games to the New York Yankees.

1958 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The Los Angeles Dodgers took the field before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on April 18, 1958, to usher in the beginning of the team's new life in Los Angeles. It was a rough season, as the Dodgers finished 21 games in back of the pennant-winning Milwaukee Braves in the National League standings, but it was the beginning of the second phase for the team. Vin Scully and company moved to KTTV (television) and KMPC (radio) from that year onward, and the Dodgers became one of the first teams that commenced Spanish language radio broadcasts for Latinos, with KWKW as the first station to offer a Spanish-language service.

1984 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1984 followed the system in place since 1978.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected three: Luis Aparicio, Don Drysdale, and Harmon Killebrew.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected two players, Rick Ferrell and Pee Wee Reese.

American Amateur Baseball Congress

The American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) is an amateur baseball organization in the United States for players from sub-teens through adults. Founded in 1935, it coordinates its programs with USA Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association. AABC has eight (8) age-range divisions in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada. There are also five (5) single-age divisions: 9's, 11's, 13's, 15's, and 17's. In some leagues, however, all divisions are age-range and none are single-age.

Under the AABC, each league has at least four (4) teams, each of which plays at least six (6) league games. Each league's winner goes on to state-tournament play. The winner of each state tournament goes to regional play and from there to the world series.

Babe Pinelli

Ralph Arthur "Babe" Pinelli, born Rinaldo Angelo Paolinelli (October 18, 1895 – October 22, 1984), was an American third baseman and umpire in Major League Baseball. Born in San Francisco, his playing career was mostly with the Cincinnati Reds from 1922 to 1927. He also played with the Chicago White Sox (1918) and Detroit Tigers (1920). After that he became a highly regarded National League umpire from 1935 to 1956, officiating in 6 World Series: 1939, 1941, 1947, 1948 (outfield only), 1952 and 1956; he was crew chief for the final two Series. He also umpired in the All-Star game in 1937, 1941, 1950 and 1956, working behind home plate for the second half of the last three games, and he worked in the 3-game series to determine the NL champion in 1946.

Pinelli wrote an article for The Second Fireside Book of Baseball, titled "Kill the Umpire? Don't Make Me Laugh!" in which he told about his rookie year of 1935, when he was told that he should not call a strike on Babe Ruth, who was winding up his career with the Boston Braves. Pinelli did not see it that way. When he was behind the plate and Ruth came to bat, and a close pitch went by at which Ruth did not swing, Pinelli deemed it a strike and so called it. Ruth turned to the umpire and bellowed, "There's forty thousand people in this park that know that was a ball, tomato-head!" Pinelli did not lose his cool. He replied calmly, "Perhaps—but mine is the only opinion that counts." Ruth had no answer for that.

His final game as a home plate umpire provided an extraordinary capstone to his career. He was behind the plate for Don Larsen's perfect Game 5 in the 1956 World Series. His final call as a plate ump presumably was "Strike 3! You're out!" to pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell. Pinelli later recalled that after the game, he returned to the umpires' room and burst into tears. It has often been reported that that was Pinelli's final game as an umpire, but that is incorrect; Pinelli was a field umpire for the final two games of the Series, and then called it a career.

In his book The Game of Baseball, Gil Hodges recounted a story of how, while dressing for a game, he and several other Brooklyn Dodgers debated which umpires were most likely and least likely to eject a player from a game. Hodges recalled that Pee Wee Reese expressed the opinion that Pinelli was the umpire least likely to throw a player out. Reese was indeed ejected from that day's game—by Pinelli.

Pinelli died at age 89 in Daly City, California. He was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Bobby Morgan (baseball)

Bobby Morris Morgan (born June 29, 1926) is an American former professional baseball infielder. He played eight seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) between 1950 and 1958 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago Cubs.Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Morgan began his pro career in 1944, playing for two minor league teams before he was drafted for World War II military duty and spent the 1945–46 seasons in the United States Army, where he served in the European Theater of Operations. In 1949, he was named Most Valuable Player and All-Star shortstop of the Triple-A International League after he won the league batting crown (.337) and collected 112 runs batted in as a member of the Montreal Royals.

Morgan's days with the Dodgers were spent as a utility infielder, playing behind Hall of Famers Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, All-Star Gil Hodges, 1953 Rookie of the Year Jim Gilliam and slick-fielding Billy Cox. He played in two World Series for the Dodgers, appearing as a defensive replacement in 1952 and lining out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1953 fall classic against Bob Kuzava of the New York Yankees. That was Morgan's only World Series plate appearance.

Traded to the Phillies in March 1954, Morgan enjoyed his best big-league season that year, setting personal bests in hits (119), doubles, home runs (14), RBI (50) and batting average (.262) as the Phillies' starting shortstop, where he displaced veteran former "Whiz Kid" Granny Hamner. The following year, Morgan moved to second base, but slumped at the plate.

Overall, as a big-leaguer, Morgan collected 487 hits, with 96 doubles, 11 triples and 53 home runs. He batted .233.

Morgan's playing career continued in the minor leagues through 1963, he then managed for three seasons (1964–66) in the Phillie farm system and scouted for the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers seasons

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the second most successful franchise in the National League and the third-most successful and second-most wealthy in Major League Baseball after the New York Yankees. The franchise was formerly based in Brooklyn and known originally as the "Grays" or "Trolley Dodgers" after the trams which supporters had to avoid to enter games. Later it became known successively as the "Bridegrooms", "Superbas", "Dodgers" and "Robins"; the present "Dodgers" was firmly established in 1932.

The franchise has won the World Series six times and lost a further 13, and like the Yankees and Cardinals have never lost 100 games in a season since World War I, with their worst record since then being in 1992 with 63 wins and their best records ever being in 1953 with 105 wins and both 1942 and 2017 with 104. Their most successful period, between 1947 and 1966 with ten World Series appearances and only two seasons with 71 or more losses (one of them the year they moved to Los Angeles after a dispute over stadium funding), was famous for the Dodgers becoming the first Major League Baseball team to incorporate African American players, led by Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.

Major League Baseball on NBC

Major League Baseball on NBC is the de facto branding for weekly broadcasts of Major League Baseball (MLB) games produced by NBC Sports, and televised on the NBC television network. Major League Baseball games first aired on the network from 1947 to 1989, when CBS acquired the broadcast television rights; games returned to the network in 1994 with coverage lasting until 2000. There have been several variations of the program dating back to the 1940s, including The NBC Game of the Week and Baseball Night in America.

The Boys of Summer (book)

The Boys of Summer is a 1972 non-fiction baseball book by Roger Kahn. After recounting his childhood in Brooklyn and his life as a young reporter on the New York Herald Tribune, the author relates some history of the Brooklyn Dodgers up to their victory in the 1955 World Series. He then tracks the lives of the players (Clem Labine, George Shuba, Carl Erskine, Andy Pafko, Joe Black, Preacher Roe, Pee Wee Reese, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Billy Cox) over the subsequent years as they aged. The title of the book is taken from a Dylan Thomas poem that describes "the boys of summer in their ruin".

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