Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A New Hartland Roy Campanella Statue Commemorating a 1951 Game that Dodger Fans Would Rather Forget

Hartland is a name that many vintage Baseball collectors are familiar with.  From 1958 to 1963 they produced a series of baseball, football and TV western plastic statues which have become iconic treasures to figurine collectors. 

Well, Hartland Plastics Company has not disappeared from the hobby landscape.  Instead, they continue to live on as one of the nation’s oldest producers of figurines and collectibles.  Today, they are called Hartland of Ohio and they recently have been active in creating figurines that celebrate the Negro Leagues and other historic events.

Just a few of days ago they announced their newest historic events statue and it features Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella attempting to tag out Boston Brave outfielder Bob Addis.  You can order here.  Apparently, this was an highly contested play-at-the-plate that resulted in a controversial call that affected the infamous pennant race of 1951.

As you probably know, 1951 was the year the Giants came back from 13.5 games to tie the Dodgers, and eventually win the pennant in a moment dubbed the "shot heard 'round the world".

Unfortunately, I had no familiarity with this September 27, 1951 game, so I'll let Tom Conmy at Behind the Bag tell you more about it.  With the game against the Braves tied at three at the bottom of the 8th inning:
Preacher Roe, a winner of 10 straight going into the game, began to tire, and the first two Braves reached with singles. With men on first and third and none out and the Brooklyn infield in, “Specs” Torgeson grounded one sharply to Jackie Robinson at 2nd, who fired a strike to Campanella to cut off the go-ahead run. Then, according to the Times account:

“As Dascoli spread his arms in the safe sign, Campy jumped up and down in violent protest and slammed his glove on the ground. Dascoli instantly thumbed the catcher out, then the dispute grew quickly.”
Tempers flaired.  Dodger players and coaches swarmed around the umpire.  Soon, more Dodgers were given an early exit to the showers.  First there was coach Cookie Lavagetto, then the entire Dodgers bench who were not already on the field were ejected.

That's right, the home plate umpire threw out every Dodger player and coach who were not already on the field. 
The ejection of Campanella, with his .326/32/107 numbers, turned out to be particularly damaging in the last frame as Pee Wee Reese led off the 9th with a double, but instead of Campy coming to bat with Reese having advanced to 3rd with one out, Wayne Terwilliger grounded to 3rd as Reese held, then Andy Pafko struck out to end it.
As they say, the rest is history.  The Giants ended up 1/2 a game behind the Dodgers, and would eventually tie them to force a playoff pennant series. 

The Hartland statue of this controversial play-at-the plate appears to be limited to just 100 copies and will be signed by Bob Addis - the man who scored.  It is available at $125.00.  Go here to order.

Also, be sure to check out Tom Conmy at Behind the Bag story for more details that include fines, a broken door to the umpire's locker room that almost resulted in suspensions, and a ton of vintage photos.

Pic above via @HartlandLLC on twitter:

UPDATE:  Hartland just passed along a press photo of this controversial play on twitter.  See it below.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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