February 2013

Babe Ruth

On this date in 1895, George Herman “Babe” Ruth was born in Baltimore. Ruth started his career as a pitcher and as a member of the Boston Red Sox he recorded a 14-inning complete-game 2-1 victory over Brooklyn in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series. After his playing career ended in 1935, Ruth was out of baseball until the summer of 1938 when Dodgers President Larry MacPhail hired Ruth to coach first base for the balance of the season. Ruth wore No. 35 with the Dodgers and it was his last job in professional baseball. He passed away at age 53 in 1948.

Changing Times

February 5, 1956 – Hoping to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn, New York City Mayor Robert Wagner and Brooklyn Borough President Frank Cashmore sponsor a bill to create a Brooklyn Sports Center Authority, which proposes building a $30 million downtown sports center. The Dodgers will play 15 regular-season games in 1956 and 1957 during negotiations with city officials. The clock starts ticking when the Dodgers sell their home ballpark, Ebbets Field, to a real estate developer. Los Angeles political officials make contact with the Dodgers after the 1956 World Series and the team eventually moves to the West Coast after the 1957 season.

Free Agent Andy Messersmith

February 4, 1976 – A federal judge upholds a ruling by arbitrator Peter Seitz, who granted free agency to pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally after the 1975 season. Messersmith, coming off a 19-win season with the Dodgers in 1975, will sign with the Atlanta Braves. McNally will stay retired. Messersmith returned to the Dodgers as a free agent in 1979. During his 12-year career, Messersmith compiled a 130-99 record and 2.86 ERA with the Angels, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees.