Walter Alston

Walter Emmons Alston (December 1, 1911 – October 1, 1984), nicknamed "Smokey", was an American baseball player and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB).[1] He is best known for managing the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1954 through 1976, and signed 23 one-year contracts with the team.[2] He had a calm, reticent demeanor, for which he was sometimes also known as "The Quiet Man."

Alston grew up in rural Ohio and lettered in baseball and basketball at Miami University in Oxford.

Though his MLB playing career consisted of only one game and one at-bat with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1936, Alston spent 19 years in minor league baseball as a player (1935–1939 and 1943), player-manager (1940–1942 and 1944–1947) and non-playing manager (1948–1953). His service included a stint as skipper of the 1946 Nashua Dodgers, the first U.S.-based integrated professional team in modern baseball. He was promoted to manage the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 after six successful seasons with Brooklyn's Triple-A teams, the St. Paul Saints and Montreal Royals.

As a major league manager, Alston led Dodgers teams to seven National League (NL) pennants and four world championships. His 1955 team was the only World Series championship team while the club was in Brooklyn; they clinched the NL pennant earlier in the calendar year than any previous pennant winner in league history. Alston retired with more than 2,000 career wins and managed NL All-Star teams to seven victories. He was selected as Manager of the Year six times.

Alston was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. He suffered a heart attack that year, was hospitalized for a month and was unable to attend his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He never fully recovered and died at a hospital in Oxford, Ohio, on October 1, 1984.[1]

Walter Alston
Walter Alston 1954
Alston in 1955
First baseman / Manager
Born: December 1, 1911
Venice, Ohio
Died: October 1, 1984 (aged 72)
Oxford, Ohio
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 27, 1936, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1936, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Games managed3,658
Managerial record2,040–1,613
Winning %.558
Teams
As player

As manager

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
Induction1983
VoteVeterans' Committee

Early life

Born in Venice, Ohio,[3] Alston spent much of his childhood on a farm in Morning Sun; when he was a teenager, the family moved to Darrtown.[4]

Alston attended Milford Township High School in Darrtown,[5] and received the nickname "Smokey" as a high school pitcher, owing to the speed of his fastball.[6]

He graduated from high school in 1929 and married longtime girlfriend Lela Vaughn Alexander the next year.[7]

In 1935, Alston graduated with a degree in industrial arts and physical education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He said that finances were a challenge in college and that he had paid his way through school by playing pool.[7] He lettered three years in both basketball and baseball.[8]

Playing career

Alston played minor league baseball as an infielder for the Greenwood Chiefs and Huntington Red Birds in 1935 and 1936, respectively. For the 1936 Huntington team, he hit 35 home runs in 120 games.[9] Alston's only major league game was with the St. Louis Cardinals on September 27, 1936, substituting for Johnny Mize at first base. He later described his major league playing career to a reporter by saying, "Well, I came up to bat for the Cards back in '36, and Lon Warneke struck me out. That's it." He also committed one error in two fielding chances at first base.[10]

Alston returned to the minor leagues after his brief MLB appearance. He split the 1937 season between the Houston Buffaloes and Rochester Red Wings, hitting for a combined .229 batting average. Alston played for the Portsmouth Red Birds in 1938, finishing the season with a .311 average and 28 home runs as Portsmouth won its only Middle Atlantic League championship.[9][11] He returned to Portsmouth in 1940, hit 28 home runs and was a player-manager for part of the season. He was a player-manager for the next two seasons with the Springfield Cardinals and even appeared in seven games as a pitcher in 1942. He returned to Rochester as a first baseman and third baseman in 1943 then moved to the Trenton Packers, where he was a player-manager in 1944 and 1945.[9] Alston had been offered the job in Trenton, a minor league farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers, by Branch Rickey, the executive who had signed him as a player with St. Louis.[12]

After his two seasons with Trenton, Alston served as a player-manager for the first integrated U.S. baseball team based in the twentieth century, the Nashua Dodgers of the Class-B New England League. Alston managed black Dodgers prospects Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella, leading Nashua to a New England League title in 1946.[12] Alston later said that he did not give much consideration to racial issues and that he had simply thought about how much they would benefit the team.[13]

Alston led the Pueblo Dodgers to the Western League title the next season. He appeared as a player in two games, which were his final professional playing appearances.[4] For his 13-season minor league playing career, Alston hit .295 with 176 home runs. However, he hit only .239 in 535 at bats in Class AA, which was the highest minor league classification through 1945.[9][14]

Managerial career

Minor leagues

In 1948, Alston managed the St. Paul Saints, a Dodgers Class AAA affiliate, to an 86–68 win-loss record. The team finished in third place, 14 games behind an Indianapolis Indians team managed by Al López.[15] That year, Alston managed Campanella again, where Campanella integrated the American Association. The media was critical of Alston for playing Campanella; they said that the catcher was simply there to integrate the league. Campanella hit 13 home runs in 35 games and fans were dismayed when he was called up to the Dodgers.[16] The 1949 Saints finished with a 93-60 record and four of its players collected more than 90 runs batted in (RBI).[17] The team finished in first place, half a game in front of Indianapolis.[18] During the baseball off-season, Alston worked as a teacher in Darrtown.[19]

From 1950 to 1953, Alston managed another Dodgers AAA affiliate, the Montreal Royals of the International League. The team won between 86 and 95 games during each season of Alston's tenure.[20] The 1951 and 1952 Montreal Royals won International League pennants.[21][22] In 1951 and 1953, Montreal won the Governors' Cup playoff tournament. Alston was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame many years later in 2010.[23]

Major leagues

Brooklyn Dodgers

Walter Alston and Mayo Smith at Roosevelt Stadium
Alston (left) with Phillies manager Mayo Smith in 1957

Alston was named manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1954 season.[4] His predecessor, Chuck Dressen, had moved on from the Dodgers after the team's leadership refused to sign him to a two-year or three-year contract.[24] Dressen had won two pennants in three years and nearly won a third.[25]

Dodgers executive Buzzie Bavasi fought for Alston to be hired in Brooklyn. Bringing Alston to Brooklyn has been described as Bavasi's biggest contribution to the team's history. Alston was an unknown at the major league level and the New York Daily News reported his hiring with the headline "Walter Who?"[26]

Becoming immediately known for his quiet nature, Alston was sometimes referred to as "The Quiet Man".[27] Alston's personality contrasted with that of Dressen, who was much more outspoken. Sportswriters had difficulty writing about Alston at first because he did not say much. He also seemed more conservative in his decisions on the field, which drew criticism from his players even though he had managed many of them in the minor leagues. Don Zimmer said that he had learned more from Dressen and that Dressen knew more about baseball than Alston. Jackie Robinson did not like Alston at first either, according to Robinson's wife.[28]

Alston commented on his approach, saying, "I never criticized a player for a mistake on the spot. Whenever I got steamed up about something, I always wanted to sleep on it and face the situation with a clear head."[19] Sportswriter Jim Murray said that Alston was "the only guy in the game who could look Billy Graham right in the face without blushing and who would order corn on the cob in a Paris restaurant."[29] The 1954 Dodgers finished second in the NL as both Gil Hodges and Duke Snider hit at least 40 home runs and registered 130 runs batted in.[30]

Brooklyn got off to a strong start in 1955, but an Associated Press article noted that Alston was reticent in response to questions and that he did not seem like a manager who had won ten consecutive games.[31] The Brooklyn Dodgers won the NL pennant and their only World Series championship. They clinched the pennant on September 8,[32] earlier than any team had in NL history; at 92–46 (.667), the Dodgers were seventeen games ahead of second place Milwaukee with sixteen remaining.[33][34] In the World Series, Johnny Podres, started two games (third and seventh); he had a mediocre 9–10 regular season record, but won both postseason starts.[35] The pitcher had struggled with arm problems for much of the season.[36]

Sandy Koufax emerged as a pitcher for the Dodgers during that championship season.[37] Alston was criticized by Jackie Robinson and others over his sparse use of Koufax in his early career. During Koufax's second MLB start, he pitched a shutout, giving up two hits and striking out 14 batters. However, that success did not prompt a lot of opportunities for Koufax. The pitcher appeared in only 12 games that season, mostly in relief.[38]

The 1956 team repeated as NL champions;[39] the team was bolstered by the play of Duke Snider, who hit a league-leading 43 home runs and also led the league in walks.[40] Despite winning the first two games of the World Series, the Dodgers lost in seven games to the Yankees. The Dodgers fell to third place (84–70) in 1957,[39] the final season in Brooklyn.

Early years in Los Angeles

The team finished 21 games back in seventh place (71–83 (.461)) in 1958, the club's first season in Los Angeles.[39] Criticism of Alston had begun to mount during that season, but he led the Dodgers to a world championship in 1959.[41] Six players on the 1959 team finished with double-digit totals in home runs, while 22-year-old Don Drysdale led the team's pitchers with 17 wins.[42] Several Los Angeles players, including Wally Moon, characterized Alston as indecisive in the late 1950s and 1960s. However, Moon later came to describe Alston as a good manager who had gotten "good mileage" out of his players.[43]

Managing the NL All-Star Team in 1960, Alston attracted some controversy when he left Milwaukee Braves pitchers Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette off the roster. An Associated Press report said the omission may have been a snub directed at Dressen, who was the manager in Milwaukee.[44] The 1960 Dodgers finished in fourth place. The following year, the team finished in second place after veteran Duke Snider missed two months with a broken arm.[45] The Dodgers lost the lead in the 1962 NL pennant race and rumors surfaced that Alston and coach Leo Durocher might be fired, but the team retained both for 1963.[46]

The Dodgers swept the World Series in 1963, the first time that the New York Yankees had lost a World Series in four games. Alston's pitchers excelled, as Koufax struck out 23 batters over two games and Drysdale threw a shutout in Game 3. Over the four games, Alston employed only four pitchers: three starters and one reliever.[47] The 1964 team was 80–82, its first losing season in several years.[5] Alston used the team's 1964 performance to motivate them moving forward. In spring training before the 1965 season, he said that he would not let his team forget the difficulties they had in the previous season.[48]

The Dodgers returned to the World Series in 1965 against Minnesota. Alston could not start his number one pitcher, Koufax, in the opening game on October 6 because Koufax was observing Yom Kippur. Instead, Alston turned to Drysdale, who struggled and surrendered seven runs in just 2⅔ innings. When Alston came to the mound to remove him in the bottom of the third, Drysdale quipped, "I bet right now you wish I was Jewish, too."[49] The team recovered from losing that first game and they won the World Series in seven games.[5] Koufax appeared in three games during the series, registering two shutouts.[49]

Alston's Dodgers teams of the 1960s benefited from the strong pitching by Drysdale and Koufax. In 1966, both players held out of spring training and demanded three-year contracts each worth $500,000, which was more money than anyone was making in baseball at the time. The players were eventually signed for lesser amounts. Drysdale struggled that year, but Koufax won 27 games. The Dodgers returned to the World Series, but were swept by the Baltimore Orioles. Koufax retired after the season on the advice of doctors who examined his sore arm.[50] Drysdale retired three years later.[51] Both men had pitched their entire major league careers for Alston.[52]

Final years as manager

Walter Alston plaque
Alston's plaque
at Cooperstown

Alston guided his teams to at least 85 wins per season in his last eight years at the helm,[5] with six runner-up finishes in the NL West division during that span.[39] The team came very close to a pennant in 1971; after falling 11 games out of first place, the team performed well late in the season and finished one game behind the San Francisco Giants. Beginning in 1973, Alston's team featured an infield of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey. The group played together for eight years, remaining together long after the end of Alston's tenure.[53]

In 1974, the Dodgers won the NL pennant and faced the two-time defending champion Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Alston used closer Mike Marshall in a record-setting 106 games that season and Marshall won the Cy Young Award.[54] Alston received some media attention when he considered using Marshall as a starter.[55] Marshall ended up appearing in all five games of the series and gave up one run in nine innings, but he did not start a game; the Dodgers lost four games to one as the A's three-peated.[56] The 1975 and 1976 teams won 88 and 92 games respectively, but finished well behind Cincinnati in both seasons.[39]

In September 1976, Alston announced that he would retire at the end of the season.[57] At a press conference, he said, "I've been in baseball for 41 years and it's been awfully good to me. This has been a pretty big day. I had three birdies playing golf for the first time in my life and now I'm announcing that I'm stepping down as manager. I told Peter this afternoon to give somebody else a chance to manage the club."[58] Alston retired with 2,063 wins (2,040 in the regular season and 23 in the postseason).[5] Alston was named NL Manager of the Year six times.[59] He also managed NL All-Star squads a record nine times and won seven of those games.[60] At a time when multi-year contracts were on the rise, Alston's managerial career consisted of 23 one-year contracts.[57] He earned seven NL pennants in that span.[5]

Sportswriter Leonard Koppett described Alston's role with the Dodgers, pointing out that O'Malley was always seen as "the boss" while Alston stuck to the on-field management of the team. Koppett said that Alston's loyalty and subdued nature contributed to the stability that the team enjoyed.[61] O'Malley once commented that Alston was "non-irritating. Do you realize how important it is to have a manager who doesn't irritate you?"[7]

Later life and legacy

Walter Alston with Ronald Reagan
Alston with Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office, 1982

The Dodgers retired Alston's number the year after he stepped down as manager; he was only the fourth Dodger to receive that honor.[62] He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1983.[63] Alston suffered a heart attack that year and was hospitalized for a month.[19] Alston's grandson traveled to Cooperstown to represent the ill former manager at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.[64] Alston died in an Oxford hospital from complications from the recent heart attack on October 1, 1984. He was 72.[19] A funeral home spokesman said that Alston had remained ill since the heart attack.[65] He is interred at Darrtown Cemetery in Darrtown, Ohio.[4]

Upon Alston's death, MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth referred to him as one of baseball's greatest managers.[66] Former Dodgers great Duke Snider acknowledged occasional run-ins with Alston, but he said that Alston excelled at utilizing the specific strengths of each team that he managed.[67] Tommy Lasorda, who played and coached under Alston and ultimately succeeded him as manager, commented on how easy it was to play for Alston.[67] Broadcaster Vin Scully said, "I always imagined him to be the type who could ride shotgun on a stage through Indian territory. He was all man and two yards tall. He was very quiet, very controlled. He never made excuses. He gave the players the credit and he took the blame. He was so solid, so American."[68]

Alston is also credited with helping to break down the barriers for female sports journalists. On October 1, 1974, after the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Houston Astros to clinch the NL Pennant at the Houston Astrodome, he invited Anita Martini to the post-game press conference in the locker room. She became the first female journalist allowed in any major league locker room.[69]

Ohio State Route 177 was named the Walter "Smokey" Alston Memorial Highway in 1999.[70] He was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame in 2010.[71] In April 2013, readers of the Los Angeles Times named Alston number 16 on a list of the 20 greatest Dodgers of all time.[72] A memorial to Alston is located at Milford Township Community Park in Darrtown.[73]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Alston dies at age 72". Milwaukee Sentinel. October 2, 1984. p. 2, part 2.
  2. ^ Elderkin, Phil (October 5, 1984). "Walter Alston's 'one-year contract' added up to seven pennants". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  3. ^ "Walter Alston Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Johnson, Bill. "SABR Baseball Biography Project: Walter Alston". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Walter Alston". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  6. ^ "Walter Alston Biography". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Rogers, Thomas (October 2, 1984). "Walter Alston is dead at 72; Dodgers' manager 23 years". The New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  8. ^ Gladstone, Ken (December 12, 1973). "Rich tradition". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d "Walter Alston Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  10. ^ "Walter Alston: Fielding". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  11. ^ Graf, Norma (July 25, 2013). "Baseball found a home here in the 1930s". Portsmouth Daily Times. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Golenbock, Peter (2010). Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Courier Dover Publications. p. 196. ISBN 0486477355.
  13. ^ Tygiel, Jules (1997). Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy. Oxford University Press. p. 148. ISBN 0195106202.
  14. ^ Dickson, Paul (2011). The Dickson Baseball Dictionary. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393073491.
  15. ^ "1948 American Association". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  16. ^ Tygiel, Jules (January 1997). Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy. Oxford University Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-19-510620-6. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  17. ^ "1949 St. Paul Saints". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  18. ^ "1949 American Association". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  19. ^ a b c d "Walter Alston Dies, Ex-Dodgers Manager". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 2, 1984. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  20. ^ "Walter Alston Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  21. ^ "1951 International League". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  22. ^ "1952 International League". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  23. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductee – 2010: Walter Alston" (PDF). Minor League Baseball. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  24. ^ "Dressen quits Dodgers in contract wrangle". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 15, 1953. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  25. ^ Sullivan, Neil (1987). The Dodgers Move West. Oxford University Press. p. 58. ISBN 0195363159. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  26. ^ Snider, Duke; Pepe, Phil (2006). Few and Chosen Dodgers: Defining Dodgers Greatness Across the Eras. Triumph Books. pp. 181–183. ISBN 1572438053. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  27. ^ McNeil, William (2000). The Dodgers Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing, LLC. p. 125. ISBN 1582613168.
  28. ^ Clavin, Tom; Peary, Danny (2012). Gil Hodges: The Brooklyn Bums, the Miracle Mets, and the Extraordinary Life of a Baseball Legend. Penguin. p. 112. ISBN 1101593059. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  29. ^ "Wakeup Call". The Morning Call. March 11, 2006. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  30. ^ "1954 Brooklyn Dodgers". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  31. ^ "Bums' Walt Alston is Still the Quiet Man". Ocala Star-Banner. (Florida). Associated Press. April 22, 1955. p. 8.
  32. ^ "New champs think of World Series". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. September 9, 1955. p. 13.
  33. ^ Thisted, Red (September 9, 1955). "Bums jolt Braves - wrap up flag". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3, part 2.
  34. ^ Wilks, Ed (September 9, 1955). "Brooklyn sets pennant mark; AL flag battle still rages". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). Associated Press. p. 8.
  35. ^ Miller, Stuart (2006). The 100 Greatest Days in New York Sports. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 35. ISBN 0-618-57480-8. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  36. ^ Oliphant, Thomas (April 1, 2007). Praying for Gil Hodges: A Memoir of the 1955 World Series and One Family's Love of the Brooklyn Dodgers. St. Martin's Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-4299-0748-4. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  37. ^ "Sandy Koufax Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  38. ^ Jaffee, Robert David. "Dodgers hit grand slam in history of Jewish players". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  39. ^ a b c d e Los Angeles Dodgers Team History & Encyclopedia. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  40. ^ "Snider proclaimed 1956 slugging champion". The Virgin Islands Daily News. December 24, 1956. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  41. ^ Springer, Steve (March 29, 2008). "Command(er) performances". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  42. ^ "1959 Los Angeles Dodgers". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  43. ^ Mann, Jack. "Dodgers Down-and Up." Sports Illustrated. October 18, 1965.
  44. ^ "Walt Alston Snubs Ace Brave Hurlers". The Spokesman-Review. July 7, 1960. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  45. ^ Richman, Milton (March 30, 1962). "Will Jinx Hit LA Again?". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  46. ^ "Walt Alston, Given Approval, Does the Same for Durocher". The Dispatch. October 18, 1962. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  47. ^ Hoffman, Benjamin (October 17, 2012). "Beware the broom: A history of sweeps of the Yankees". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  48. ^ "Alston won't let team forget 1964". Beaver County Times. United Press International. March 9, 1965. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  49. ^ a b Merron, Jeff (September 26, 2001). "Green, Koufax and Greenberg -- same dilemma, different decisions". ESPN. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  50. ^ D'Antonio, Michael (2009). Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O'Malley, Baseball's Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Riverhead Books. pp. 301–302. ISBN 978-1-59448-856-6. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  51. ^ "Don Drysdale". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  52. ^ Langill, Mark (September 3, 2008). "Koufax, Drysdale were a dynamic duo". MLB.com. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  53. ^ Klein, Gary (June 23, 2013). "Dodgers' infield of the 1970s had a lasting impact". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  54. ^ "Mike Marshall Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  55. ^ Talley, Rick (October 16, 1974). "Alston mulls using Marshall as a starter". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  56. ^ "1974 World Series". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  57. ^ a b "Veteran Dodger Manager Walter Alston to Retire". The Montreal Gazette. September 28, 1976. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  58. ^ "Walt Alston to Step Down". The Telegraph. September 28, 1976. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  59. ^ Davies, Richard (2010). Rivals!: The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century. John Wiley & Sons. p. 46. ISBN 1444320815. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  60. ^ "Baseball today". The Dispatch. July 11, 1989. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  61. ^ Koppett, Leonard (January 1, 2000). The Man in the Dugout: Baseball's Top Managers and how They Got that Way. Temple University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-56639-745-2. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  62. ^ "Alston's No. 24 to be retired by LA". The Tuscaloosa News. June 5, 1977. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  63. ^ "Alston, Walter". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  64. ^ Corcoran, Dennis (2010). Induction Day at Cooperstown: A History of the Baseball Hall of Fame Ceremony. McFarland. p. 141. ISBN 0786444169.
  65. ^ "Sports World "Blue" Over Alston Death". The Vindicator. October 2, 1984. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  66. ^ Garcia, Dan (October 2, 1984). "Walter Alston Dies". The Madison Courier. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  67. ^ a b "Walter Alston Dead at 72". The StarPhoenix. October 2, 1984. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  68. ^ "Alston Dies; Won 4 Series". The Milwaukee Journal. October 2, 1984. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  69. ^ Zaveri, Mihir (February 14, 2017). "Lawmaker's bill reopens debate over $105M Astrodome parking plan". chron.com. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 14, 2017. With Dodger manager Walter Alston's blessing, Houston broadcaster Anita Martini becomes the first female reporter allowed access to a major-league team's locker room
  70. ^ "Ohio Laws and Rules: 5533.39 Walter Smokey Alston Memorial Highway". LAWriter. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  71. ^ "Class of 2010" (PDF). MiLB.com. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  72. ^ Mitchell, Houston (April 26, 2013). "The 20 Greatest Dodgers of All Time, No. 16: Walter Alston". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  73. ^ Ratterman, Bob (August 14, 2013). "Darrtown gears up for bicentennial with pavers, big plans". The Oxford Press. Retrieved October 31, 2013.

Further reading

  • Alston, Walter Emmons and Si Burick. Alston and the Dodgers. Doubleday. 1966.

External links

1954 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers season was the first season for new manager Walter Alston, who replaced Chuck Dressen, who had been fired during a contract dispute. Alston led the team to a 92–62 record, finishing five games behind the league champion New York Giants.

In addition to Alston, the 1954 Dodgers had two other future Hall of Fame managers on their roster in pitcher Tommy Lasorda and outfielder Dick Williams. First baseman Gil Hodges and reserve infielder Don Zimmer would also go on to successful managerial careers.

1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 21st playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 13, 1954, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio the home of the Cleveland Indians of the American League.

1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 23rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1956, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. the home of the Washington Senators of the American League.

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.

1959 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers finished in a first-place tie with the Milwaukee Braves, with each club going 86–68. The Dodgers won the pennant as they swept the Braves in a best-of-three playoff series. They went on to defeat the Chicago White Sox in the 1959 World Series in just their second season since leaving Brooklyn. The Dodgers led all 16 Major League Baseball clubs in home attendance, drawing 2,071,045 fans to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

1960 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1960 Los Angeles Dodgers finished the season at 82–72, in fourth place in the National League race, 13 games behind the NL and World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

1964 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1964 Los Angeles Dodgers finished with a record of 80–82, 13 games behind the National League and World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, tied for sixth place with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1976 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1976 Los Angeles Dodgers finished the season in second place in the western division of the National League. The big news was when long-time manager of two decades Walter Alston resigned abruptly near the end of the season and was replaced by Tommy Lasorda who would manage the team for two decades himself.

1977 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers season saw Tommy Lasorda in his first full season at the helm of the Dodgers, replacing longtime manager Walter Alston as Manager of the team near the end of the previous season. The Dodgers won the National League West by 10 games and defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in four games in the NLCS, then lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series. This edition of the Dodgers featured the first quartet of teammates that hit 30 or more home runs: Steve Garvey with 33, Reggie Smith with 32, and Dusty Baker and Ron Cey, who both hit 30. The Dodgers duplicated this feat again 20 years later in 1997.

1983 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1983 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 two, Juan Marichal and Brooks Robinson.

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 Walter Alston and George Kell.

Darrtown, Ohio

Darrtown is a census-designated place (CDP) in Milford Township, Butler County, Ohio, United States. The population was 516 at the 2010 census.

Huntington Boosters

The Huntington Boosters were a Middle Atlantic League (1931–1933) and Mountain State League (1937, 1939) minor league baseball team based in Huntington, West Virginia. It was affiliated with the Detroit Tigers in 1932 and 1933 and with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939. It was the first team to be based in Huntington since the Huntington Blue Sox of the Ohio State League disbanded in 1916. Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Walter Alston played for Huntington in 1936.

From 1934 to 1936, the team was known as the Huntington Red Birds and in 1938 it was known as the Huntington Bees. That year, it was managed by Dickey Kerr, while Mike Sandlock and Hank LaManna played for the team. It became the Huntington Aces in 1940. As the Aces, Sheriff Blake, Russ Young, Pee-Wee Wanninger and Ezra Midkiff each managed the team at some point, despite the team lasting only two seasons under that name. Of note, Cliff Fannin and Ken Wood, who both spent over half a decade in Major League Baseball, played the team when it was known as the Jewels.

Multiple major league players spent time with the team when it was called the Boosters, including 1945 All-Star second baseman Eddie Mayo. He was with the team in 1933.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers no-hitters

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball franchise currently based in Los Angeles. They play in the National League West division. The franchise joined the American Association in 1884 as the "Brooklyn Atlantics". They have been known in their early years as the "Brooklyn Grays" (1885–87), "Brooklyn Bridegrooms" (1888–90, 1896–98), "Brooklyn Grooms" (1891–95), "Brooklyn Superbas" (1899–1910, 1913), "Brooklyn Robins" (1914–31), and "Brooklyn Dodgers" (1911–12, 1932–57). There have been 20 pitchers for the Dodgers that have thrown 25 no-hitters in franchise history. A no-hitter is officially recognized by Major League Baseball only "...when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. In a no-hit game, a batter may reach base via a walk, an error, a hit by pitch, a passed ball or wild pitch on strike three, or catcher's interference". No-hitters of less than nine complete innings were previously recognized by the league as official; however, several rule alterations in 1991 changed the rule to its current form. A no-hitter is common enough that only one team in Major League Baseball has never had a pitcher accomplish the feat.

There has been one perfect game thrown by a Dodgers pitcher. A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as occurring "when a pitcher (or pitchers) retires each batter on the opposing team during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. In a perfect game, no batter reaches any base during the course of the game." This feat was achieved by Sandy Koufax on September 9, 1965. It was Koufax's fourth career no-hitter, and is the franchise record for no-hitters by one pitcher. At the time, Koufax's four no-hitters was the major league record for any pitcher, but it was later surpassed in 1981 by Nolan Ryan.

Sam Kimber threw the first no-hitter in Dodgers history on October 4, 1884, which ended as a scoreless tie after ten innings. The most recent no-hitter thrown by a Dodgers pitcher was on May 4, 2018 by four pitchers. Walker Buehler 3rd career start 6 IP, Tony Cingrani 1 IP, Adam Liberatore 1 IP, and Yimi Garcia 1 IP. It was the first no hitter outside of United States or Canada as it was pitched in Monterrey, Mexico. It was also the first combined no hitter in franchise history. Five of the 20 pitchers were left-handed pitchers, 14 were right-handed, and one, Tom Lovett, is still unknown. In addition to Koufax, two other Dodgers pitchers have thrown multiple no-hitters, Adonis Terry and Carl Erskine. 18 of the no-hitters were thrown at home and eight on the road. The longest interval between no-hitters was between the games pitched by Hideo Nomo and Josh Beckett, encompassing 17 years and 250 days from September 17, 1996 until May 25, 2014. Conversely, the shortest interval between no-hitters was between the games pitched by Beckett and Clayton Kershaw, encompassing merely 24 days from May 25, 2014 until June 18, 2014. The San Francisco Giants (formerly "New York Giants") have been no-hit six times, the most by any Dodgers opponent. Dazzy Vance is the only Dodgers no-hit pitcher to have allowed at least one run. The most baserunners allowed in any of these game were by Terry (in 1886) and Koufax (in 1962), who each allowed five. Of the 26 no-hitters, five have been won by a score of 5–0 and four by the score of 3–0, more common than any other results. The largest margin of victory in a no-hitter was a 9–0 win by Hideo Nomo in 1996 and a 10–1 win by Vance in 1925. The smallest margins of victory were 1–0 wins by Terry in 1888 and Koufax in 1965.

The umpire is an integral part of any no-hitter. The task of the umpire in a baseball game is to make any decision "which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out… [the umpire's judgment on such matters] is final." Part of the duties of the umpire making calls at home plate includes defining the strike zone, which "is defined as that area over homeplate (sic) the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap." These calls define every baseball game and are therefore integral to the completion of any no-hitter. There have been 24 different home plate umpires who have called Dodgers no-hitters; Babe Pinelli is the only umpire to have called two.

List of Major League Baseball All-Star Game managers

The following is a list of individuals who have managed the Major League Baseball All-Star Game over the years (except 1945), since its inauguration in 1933. Chosen managers and winning pennant managers manage teams including American and National Leagues.

No official MLB All-Star Game was held in 1945 (cancelled April 24, 1945) including the official MLB selection of that season's All-Stars (Associated Press All-Star Game; game was not played). MLB played two All-Star Games from 1959 through 1962.

List of National League pennant winners

Each season, a National League team wins the league's pennant, signifying that they are its champion and they win the right to play in the World Series against the champion of the American League. In addition to the pennant, the team that wins the National League playoffs receives the Warren C. Giles Trophy, named after Warren Giles, who was the league president from 1951 to 1969. Warren's son Bill Giles, the honorary league president and owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, presents the trophy to the National League champion at the conclusion of each National League Championship Series (NLCS). The current National League pennant winners are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won their second-consecutive NL pennant in October 2018.For most of the history of the National League (94 years), the pennant was presented to the team with the best win–loss record at the end of the season. The first modern World Series was played in 1903, and after a hiatus in 1904, continued until 1994, when a players' strike forced the cancellation of the postseason, and resumed in 1995. In 1969, the league split into two divisions, and the teams with the best records in each division played one another in the NLCS to determine the pennant winner. The format of the NLCS was changed from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven format for the 1985 postseason. In 1995, an additional playoff series was added when Major League Baseball restructured the two divisions in each league into three. As of 2010, the winners of the Eastern, Central, and Western Divisions, as well as one wild card team, play in the National League Division Series, a best-of-five playoff to determine the opponents who will play for the pennant.By pennants, the Los Angeles Dodgers (formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers; 23 pennants, 31 playoff appearances) and the San Francisco Giants (formerly the New York Giants) (23 National League pennants, 27 playoff appearances) are tied for the winningest teams in the National League. In third place is the St. Louis Cardinals (19 pennants and 28 playoff appearances), followed by the Atlanta Braves (17 pennants and 23 postseason appearances between their three home cities of Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Boston) and the Chicago Cubs (17 pennants and 20 playoff appearances [as the Cubs and White Stockings]). The Philadelphia Phillies won the league in back-to-back seasons in 2008 and 2009, becoming the first National League team to do so since the Braves in 1995 and 1996. The Los Angeles Dodgers would also win the league in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018. Before 1903 there was no World Series as we know it today because the leagues were only loosely affiliated. As of 2018, the New York/San Francisco Giants and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have the most World Series appearances at 20, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals with 19.

The team with the best record to win the National League pennant was the 1906 Cubs, who won 116 of 152 games during that season and finished 20 games ahead of the Giants, playing in New York at the time. The best record by a pennant-winner in the Championship Series era is 108–54, which was achieved by the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and the New York Mets in 1986; both of these teams went on to win the World Series.National League champions have gone on to win the World Series 48 times, most recently in 2016. Pennant-winners have also won the Temple Cup and the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup, two pre-World Series league championships, although second-place teams won three of the four Temple Cup meetings. The largest margin of victory for a pennant-winner, before the league split into two divisions in 1969, is ​27 1⁄2 games; the Pittsburgh Pirates led the Brooklyn Superbas (now the Dodgers) by that margin on the final day of the 1902 season.The only currently-existing National League team to have never won a pennant is the Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos). While the Milwaukee Brewers have never won a National League pennant, they did win a pennant during their time in the American League.

List of World Series champions

The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) and concludes the MLB postseason. First played in 1903, the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and is a contest between the champions of baseball's National League (NL) and American League (AL). Often referred to as the "Fall Classic", the modern World Series has been played every year since 1903 with two exceptions: in 1904, when the NL champion New York Giants declined to play the AL champion Boston Americans; and in 1994, when the series was canceled due to the players' strike.The best-of-seven style has been the format of all World Series except in 1903, 1919, 1920, and 1921, when the winner was determined through a best-of-nine playoff. Although the large majority of contests have been played entirely during the month of October, a small number of Series have also had games played during September and November. The Series-winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. Players, coaches and others associated with the team are generally given World Series rings to commemorate their victory; however, they have received other items such as pocket watches and medallions in the past. The winning team is traditionally invited to the White House to meet the President of the United States.

A total of 114 Series have been contested, with the NL champion winning 48 and the AL champion winning 66. The New York Yankees of the AL have played in 40 World Series through 2018—winning 27—the most Series appearances and most victories of any Major League Baseball franchise. The Los Angeles Dodgers of the NL have the most losses with 14. The St. Louis Cardinals have represented the NL 19 times, and won 11 championships, second-most among all teams and most among NL clubs. Both the Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers have appeared in more World Series, with 20 each.

The Seattle Mariners and the Washington Nationals (formerly Montreal Expos) are the only current Major League Baseball franchises to have never appeared in a World Series; the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers (formerly the 1961–1971 version of the Washington Senators), Tampa Bay Rays, and Milwaukee Brewers (formerly Seattle Pilots) have all played in the Series but have never won. The Toronto Blue Jays are the only franchise from outside the United States to appear in a World Series, winning in 1992 and 1993. The Houston Astros have represented both the NL (2005) and the AL (2017), winning the Series in 2017. The current World Series champions are the Boston Red Sox.

Los Angeles Dodgers award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball franchise, including its years in Brooklyn (1883–1957).

Mel Durslag

Melvin "Mel" Durslag (April 29, 1921 – July 17, 2016) was an American sportswriter.

Durslag began writing for the Los Angeles Herald-Express in 1940. He wrote a sports column for Hearst papers in Los Angeles beginning in 1952 and had a long career at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. In 1989, after the Herald-Examiner went out of business, he joined the Los Angeles Times. Durslag contributed an essay on Walter Alston to I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad.

He also wrote a column for many years for TV Guide. Durslag was elected into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1995. He was named a finalist for the J. G. Taylor Spink Award in the 2014 balloting.

Roy Hartsfield

Roy Thomas Hartsfield (October 25, 1925 – January 15, 2011) was a second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball; his MLB playing and managing careers each lasted three years. Hartsfield played his entire major-league career with the Boston Braves (now the Atlanta Braves) from 1950 to 1952. He was then traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers for outfielder Andy Pafko. Hartsfield spent the next 19 years in the Dodgers organization as a minor league player and manager and major league coach. In the latter role, he worked under Los Angeles skipper Walter Alston for three seasons.

He later left the Dodgers organization, and worked for the San Diego Padres. In 1977, he became the first manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, helming the club for its first three seasons.

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dutch Dorman
Portsmouth Red Birds manager
1940
Succeeded by
last manager
Preceded by
first manager
Springfield Cardinals manager
1941–1942
Succeeded by
last manager
Preceded by
Joe Bird
Trenton Packers manager]
1944
Succeeded by
last manager
Preceded by
first manager
Trenton Spartans manager
1945
Succeeded by
last manager
Preceded by
first manager
Nashua Dodgers manager
1946
Succeeded by
Fats Dantonio
Preceded by
first manager
Pueblo Dodgers manager
1947
Succeeded by
John Fitzpatrick
Preceded by
Curt Davis
St. Paul Saints manager
1948–1949
Succeeded by
Clay Hopper
Preceded by
Clay Hopper
Montreal Royals manager
1950–1953
Succeeded by
Max Macon
BBWAA Vote
Veterans Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
Pitchers
Catchers
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Shortstops
Outfielders
Designated hitters
Managers
Executives /
pioneers
Umpires
Inducted as a Cardinal
Inductees who played
for the Cardinals
Cardinals managers
Cardinals executives
Frick Award
Spink Award
Franchise
Ballparks
Culture
Lore
Rivalries
Hall of Fame
members
Key personnel
World Series
Championships (6)
League pennants
(23)
Division titles (17)
Wild card berths (2)
Minor league affiliates

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.