Durocher leaves Dodgers to manage Giants - HISTORY

Durocher leaves Dodgers to manage Giants

OnJuly 16,1948, Brooklyn Dodgers Manager Leo Durocher announces that he will be joining the New York Giants, the Dodgers’ archrival. The move was the swiftest and most stunning managerial change in baseball history.

Leo “The Lip” Durocher was a brilliant shortstop and mediocre hitter for 17 major league seasons with four teams, including the famed “Gashouse Gang” St. Louis Cardinals teams of the 1930s. Durocher served as manager and part-time player for the Dodgers from 1939 to 1945, when he ended his playing career but stayed on as manager. Prior to the 1947 season, Durocher was suspended by National League President Happy Chandler because of incidents Chandler summed up as “detrimental to baseball.” These included rumors of gambling; a public rivalry with New York Yankees owner Larry MacPhail, for whom Durocher had worked when MacPhail ran the Dodgers; and a highly publicized affair and elopement with actress Lorraine Day. The suspension forced Durocher to sit out the entire 1947 season.

Giants President Horace Stoneham, believing that his team would benefit from the fire Durocher brought to the game, engineered the hiring. Stoneham approached Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey regarding the availability of Durocher, whom he suspected was falling out of Rickey’s good graces. Rickey was receptive to the change, and Mel Ott, the National League’s all-time home run leader and Giants’ manager since 1942, agreed to a transfer to the team’s front office. On the 46th anniversary of the great John McGraw’s hiring as Giants’ manager, former team enemy number one Leo Durocher took the team’s helm. The move shocked baseball fans across the country.

Durocher went on to manage the Giants through the 1955 season. Highlights of his tenure included a victory over their archrival Dodgers in a one-game playoff for the National League pennant in 1951 and a 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series for the team’s first championship since 1933.

In his career, Leo Durocher won 2,015 games–good for ninth all-time–as manager of the Dodgers, Giants, Chicago Clubs and Houston Astros, in addition to three National League pennants and one World Series. He may best be remembered for the quote “nice guys finish last.”


Amazon opens for business

On this day in 1995, Amazon officially opens for business as an online bookseller. Within a month, the fledgling retailer had shipped books to all 50 U.S. states and to 45 countries. Founder Jeff Bezos’s motto was “get big fast,” and Seattle-based Amazon eventually morphed into ...read more

JFK Jr. killed in plane crash

On July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy, Jr.; his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy; and her sister, Lauren Bessette, die when the single-engine plane that Kennedy was piloting crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr., was born on ...read more

Apollo 11 departs Earth

At 9:32 a.m. EDT, Apollo 11, the first U.S. lunar landing mission, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a historic journey to the surface of the moon. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19.The next day, at 1:46 p.m., ...read more

World’s first parking meter installed

The world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, is installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on this day in 1935.The parking meter was the brainchild of a man named Carl C. Magee, who moved to ...read more

Atom bomb successfully tested

On this day in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.Plans for the creation of a uranium bomb by the Allies were established as early as 1939, when Italian emigre physicist ...read more

McNamara visits South Vietnam

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara conducts a fact-finding mission in South Vietnam, and Henry Cabot Lodge arrives in Saigon to resume his post as ambassador. Lodge had previously held the ambassadorship, but resigned in 1964 to seek the Republican presidential nomination, ...read more

Catcher in the Rye is published

J.D. Salinger’s only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is published by Little, Brown on this day in 1951. The book, about a confused teenager disillusioned by the adult world, is an instant hit and will be taught in high schools for half a ...read more

Funnyman Will Ferrell born

On this day in 1967,the actor and comedian Will Ferrell is born in Irvine, California. After rising to fame on TV’s Saturday Night Live, Ferrell starred in a string of big-screen comedies, including Old School and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.Ferrell graduated from ...read more

Earthquake wreaks havoc in the Philippines

More than 1,000 people are killed when a 7.7-magnitude earthquake strikes Luzon Island in the Philippines on this day in 1990. The massive tremor wreaked havoc across a sizeable portion of Luzon, the country’s largest island, with Baguio City suffering the most devastating ...read more

Draft riots continue to rock New York City

The draft riots enter their fourth day in New York City in response to the Enrollment Act, which was enacted on March 3, 1863. Although avoiding military service became much more difficult, wealthier citizens could still pay a commutation fee of $300 to stay at home. Irritation ...read more