March 2013

Casey Stengel – Hall of Fame

March 8, 1966 – The Hall of Fame Veterans Committee waives its rule about a waiting period and selects 75-year-old Casey Stengel as the newest member of Cooperstown. Stengel managed the New York Mets from 1962 until he broke his hip during the 1965 season. Stengel played for the Dodgers (1912-17) and later manager Brooklyn (1934-36). He managed against the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers as skipper of the New York Yankees, Boston Braves and Mets. Stengel was based most of his life in Glendale and the field at Glendale College is named in his honor.

Test Helmets

March 7, 1941 – During an exhibition game with the Cleveland Indians in Havana, the Brooklyn Dodgers experiment with batting helmets designed by two Johns Hopkins Hospital doctors with the help of Brooklyn Dodgers team president Larry MacPhail. The helmet was planned after two Dodgers, Pee Wee Reese and Joe Medwick, suffered hit by pitches during the 1940 season.

Hall of Fame Voting

March 6, 1985 – The Hall of Fame Veterans Committee elects Enos Slaughter and Arky Vaughan. Slaughter, a right fielder nicknamed “Country,” spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Vaughan was a nine-time All-Star infielder with the Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers. His .385 batting average with Pittsburgh in 1935 was the highest in the 20th century among National League shortstops.

Automatic Hot Dogs?

March 5, 1952 – After designing a 5,000-seat spring training facility in Vero Beach, Norman Bel Geddes says Dodger team president Walter O’Malley has asked for plans for a new stadium for the team. The plans reportedly include a retractable dome, garage, automatic hot dog vending machines, and artificial turf that can be painted in different colors.

A New Ballpark …

March 4, 1912 – Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for the new ballpark in Brooklyn which eventually will be called “Ebbets Field,” after team president Charles Ebbets, who began buying land in the area beginning in 1908. The 18,000-seat facility is located on the block bordered by Bedford Avenue, Sullivan Place, McKeever Place and Montgomery Street. Ebbets Field opens in 1913 and will be the home of the Dodgers through the 1957 season.

Trading Places

March 1, 1959 – Shortstop Maury Wills begins spring training with the Detroit Tigers after a conditional trade by Los Angeles in which Detroit would pick up the eight-year minor leaguer’s contract if he made the Tigers. Detroit eventually chose to keep infielder Rocky Bridges instead of Wills, who was returned to the Dodger organization. Promoted from Triple-A Spokane in June after Don Zimmer suffered a broken toe, Wills batted .260 in 83 games and helped L.A. win the 1959 World Series.