Tuesday, April 13, 2010

REA: Make the Trade, Says Branch

This is some incredible correspondence between Branch Rickey and Walter O'Malley. In it is the makings of a trade that would forever change Dodger history. It is dated March 6, 1946 1948 (the description in auction shows 1946, but I think a commentator in comments section is right-- was miss-read as 1946) and it details a move that would solidify our infield for the next 8 years.

In his letter, Rickey writes to Walter O'Malley and urges him to deal starting second baseman Eddie Stanky, who is standing in the way of "better men" in the minors. In full:

The Stanky deal is a right deal to make even if we were getting nothing for him at all, and I mean just that. I like the boy. I think he has managerial future, and he is a good ball player. I believe we have better men who would have no chance at all to make our team if Stanky were retained. Boston gives us Sanders and in addition guarantees his physical fitness. If on or before April 20th Sanders is not satisfactory to us, player can be returned to Boston and Boston will pay us $40,000. In addition, the Boston Club has mailed its check for $60,000 to our office as cash payment in the deal. Also, Boston agrees to sell infielder-outfielder Rowel to Montreal for $10,000. I don't know how the press will take it but I am sure that Manager Durocher, Shottton, Sukeforth, Blades and Pitler agree with me fully that the Boston-Brooklyn exchange is good for our club,-even without any money involved. Therefore, if we get an unfavorable reaction from the press or public- well, I will just have to stand for it. Yours, Branch Rickey [signed].
The day after this letter O'Malley traded Stanky which made room for Campanella at catcher, moved Hodges from catcher to 1st, moved Jackie Robinson from 1st to 2nd, keeps PeeWee Reese at shortstop and Billy Cox joined the crew a year later at 3rd base. The rest, as they say, is history.

Check out this letter at REA's current auction.


  1. Ernest,

    This is a great find. Awesome stuff here.

  2. Stankey was traded in 1948. I suspect there was a 6 that looked like an 8 to someone. Great find though!

  3. I think your right there Dalton. Great catch. The auction writer must have miss-read it. HArd to tell from this side since the scan is too blurry.


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