This week in baseball: 1956 Dodgers
On February 26, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the results of its revamped Veteran’s Committee selections. The final list consists of 26 players from one ballot, and 15 managers, umpires, and executives from a composite ballot.
Many of the 41 men are deserving of being elected to the Hall of Fame, while others still fall just short. Yet, perhaps one of the more amazing items found on these two ballots, are the four Brooklyn Dodgers whose names are being considered. They include: Gil Hodges, Don Newcombe, Buzzie Bavasi (general manager), and Walter O’Malley (owner).
All four men are of Hall of Fame caliber and will be elected sometime in the future. However, as soon as just one of the four are elected, the old Brooklyn Dodgers will set their final Major League record, more then 45 years since they last played in Ebbets Field.
The record they will set is for the team in a single year with the most Hall of Famers in the organization. Currently, the 1927 Yankees, featuring Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Earle Combs, Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, and Miller Huggins as the manager, are tied with the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers for this most prestigious record.
The Dodgers Hall of Famers from that year include Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Peewee Reese, and Walter Alston as manager.
Both ’27 Yankees and ’56 Dodgers have seven Hall of Famers in their organization.
However, Hodges, Newcombe, Bavasi, and O’Malley will all be in the Hall of Fame one day, making the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers an organization with 11 Hall of Famers. I submit to you that record which will one day come to fruition, will never be broken in the history of the game.
In other news, George Steinbrenner, a future Hall of Fame executive himself, has not let baseball fans forget that sometimes he is an absolute idiot. His comments knocking Derek Jeter’s enthusiasm on the ball field and leadership in the clubhouse are as dumbfounded as when he hired private detectives to find dirt on Dave Winfield, one of the most charitable figures in baseball history.
Since Jeter’s arrival as the starting short stop in 1996, the Yankees have won four World Series and been the perennial American League powerhouse. In that time Jeter has also amassed a .317 lifetime average and provided stellar defense at one of the game’s most challenging positions. He is also one of the game’s most recognizable players and a great ambassador for baseball. What more does Steinbrenner want?
Finally, congratulations to David Justice who announced his retirement recently, ending a career in which he could be nicknamed, “Mr. Playoffs.”
Justice made it to the playoffs 10 times in his career, playing for the Braves, Indians, Yankees, and A’s. His .279 lifetime batting average and 305 homeruns are not Hall of Fame statistics, but it will be interesting how much his post season experience weighs in Hall of Fame consideration six years from now.