March 18, 1943 – The Brooklyn Dodgers begin training camp in Bear Mountain, NY. The athletic facilities at West Point are utilized because of travel restrictions during World War II. Some of the most famous spring training photos in Dodger history include players throwing snowballs or skiing in their Dodger uniform. Other 1943 “spring cities” include training camps in French Lick Springs, IN (Cubs and White Sox); Asbury Park, NJ (Yankees); Medford, MA (Red Sox) and Wallingford, CT (Boston Braves).
March 14, 1932 – The Reds acquired catcher Ernie Lombardi, infielder Wally Gilbert and outfielder Babe Herman from the Brooklyn Dodgers in exchange for catcher Clyde Sukeforth and infielders Tony Cuccinello and Joe Stripp. Lombardi will later win the batting title and MVP award in 1938. As a Dodger scout in 1945, Sukeforth assisted Branch Rickey with the scouting of Jackie Robinson with the Kansas City Monarchs. Cuccinello was the Dodgers’ first All-Star Game representative when the Mid-Summer Classic began in 1933.
March 13, 1917 – Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson plans to catch a baseball dropped from an airplane during spring training. Instead, someone substitutes a grapefruit and when it explodes on impact with the glove, Robinson thinks he’s bleeding and screams he is dying – until he tastes the grapefruit juice. Robinson tried the stunt after hearing that Washington Senators Gabby Street had caught a baseball dropped off the Washington Monument in 1908.
March 12, 1951 – Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler loses his bid to remain in office, losing, 9-7, in a vote of Major League owners. Ford Frick will replace Chandler, who started his term in 1945 after the death of the sport’s first commissioner, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis. Chandler was best known for being in office during Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Chandler will be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.