Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dodger Correspondence: Cy Buker

Cy Buker pitched for one season in his big league career for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945, the last year of World War II. Buker was drafted, but was soon released due to asthma. He pitched well for the Dodgers, going 7-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 45 games. Buker was a reliever and was one of "Durocher's Firemen."

Below he writes Roy back about his thrills and highlights.
As to thrills, etc., let me tell you that each and every game was a thrill and a highlight. To try to separate the outstanding one would be impossible for me. I guess beating the Cubs 3 or 4 times the year they won the pennant has to be among the tops of all the thrills I had. I was very lucky to have played on many clubs that had real fine guys. Brooklyn had to have had some of the best; including Dixie Walker, Augie Galan, Mickey Owen, Pete Reiser, Pee Wee Reese, etc. Some of the finest guys that ever lived.
One of the interesting things I found while researching Cy was a story he relayed about a disaster that could have killed the entire Dodger team in 1945. (It happened in September 1945.)
Before arriving in Chicago to play the Cubs, the Dodgers received a scare when the train with the team's Pullman coach caught on fire. "We were on the train from St. Louis to Chicago. Around 5:00 a.m. with train traveling about 80 miles per hour, we hit a gasoline tanker truck. The explosion killed the engineer, fireman, and brakeman and the truck driver. We were riding in a Pullman car sitting up. We couldn't get a sleeper with all the troops coming back home. It was quite a jolt to wake up and see flames all around the car. Since the cars were mostly steel, the flames went out in a short time. We had a double-header in Chicago, and I had to work one of the games."
That's some pretty scary stuff.
(click to enlarge)

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