Stengel, Mays, Clemente, DiMaggio & Feller.
The Old Perfessor.
Before Casey Stengel‘s success as manager of the New York Yankees, he managed both the Brooklyn Dodgers (1934-1936) and Boston Bees/Braves (1938-1943), before being hired as the skipper of the Oakland Oaks in 1946. Stengel managed the Oaks for three seasons, where he lead the team to the PCL championship series all three years.
After getting beat by the Seals in 1946 and the Angels in 1947, Stengel’s “Nine Old Men” beat the Rainiers in 1948 to win the Pacific Coast League championship. It can be said that Casey’s success in the PCL lead to him getting another shot with managing a major league club, and as they say, the rest was history. The above photo captures Casey during the championship parade in downtown Oakland and is one of my favorite documented moments from the old Pacific Coast League. (Image Source: Baseball Oakland)
The Say Hey Kid.
Taken just four days before his Major League debut, this photo of Willie Mays, taken on May 21, 1951, captures the young slugger during his time with the Minneapolis Millers. At that time, the Millers were the AAA affiliate of the Giants and in just 35 games with the team, he put up a batting line of .477/.524/.799, with 8 home runs. I think it’s safe to say that he was more than ready for the big leagues.
During the Millers’ existence, many notable players came through Minneapolis on their way to the big leagues. In addition to Mays, alumni such as Ted Williams (1938), Monte Irvin (1955) and Carl Yastrzemski (1960) make the Millers one of the more celebrated minor league teams of yesteryear. (Image Source: Institute for Baseball Studies)
The Great One.
On April 21st, 1968, in a game against the Giants at old Forbes Field, Roberto Clemente hit an inside the park home run against off pitcher, Lindy McDonald. This photo captures Clemento in full stride during the round tripper, and really, it’s absolutely perfect. (Image Source: Stirrups Now!)
The Yankee Clipper.
In the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 1936 World Series, Joe DiMaggio slid safely into home as Harry Danning of the Giants attempted to lay a tag on the Yankees’ rookie star. The Yankees ended up wining the game 13-5, and subsequently won the 5th World Series in the team’s history.
While everyone knows about DiMaggio and what he accomplished during his career, this photo got me wondering who Harry Danning was and what he accomplished in his baseball career. Turns out Danning had a solid career, spending 10 years in the big leagues, all with the New York Giants. In addition to this, Danning was a four time All-Star and a significant Jewish player in an era when Jewish players did not always have it easy, due to discrimination within the game.
The Heater from Van Meter.
On Opening Day 1940, the Indians started their season against the White Sox in Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Bob Feller faced off against Eddie Smith, and while both pitchers had strong performances, it was Feller’s that went down in the record books. At the end of the day, Feller threw a no-hitter with six strikeouts, and to this day, it’s the only no-hitter pitched on Opening Day.
As much as I love Bob Feller based on what he accomplished on the field, I also love the fact that he wore #19. Regardless of team (or even sport), it always catches my eye when people wear #19 and due to this, I enjoy this Opening Day photo even more. With that said, a few years ago I discovered that Feller actually didn’t wear #19 his entire career, and he wore both #9 and #14 prior to 1939.