The Dodgers were about to change the Baseball landscape. Branch Rickey had formulated a plan to integrate his ballclub, and there was nothing the league could do about it. He searched and scouted ballfields throughout North America and settled on a Southern California former 4-sport collegiate athlete named Jackie Robinson. By the Spring of 1947, he was ready to change the nation.
Unfortunately, the league put up plenty of roadblocks along the way. One of which included suspending Dodgers manager Leo Durocher before the season. Officially, it was for "association with known gamblers" and "conduct detrimental to baseball," but some think those were just red herring excuses.
Branch Rickey was dismayed. Who could better handle the Dodgers during this time of change than the man they call The Lip? He had showed his mettle for the job when he told his players that Spring that he would not tolerate any dissent from those who opposed Jackie Robinson. Now, he would need to find someone to replace him.
That replacement, after being rebuffed by respected retired Yankees skipper Joe McCarthy, would be Dodger scout and long-time friend of Rickey, Burt Shotton.
Shotton was a mild mannered man with a calm demeanor, and soon his quiet leadership would prove to be exactly what the Dodgers needed. He steered the club through rocky waters and won the National League Pennant; outclassing St. Louis by 5 games. Unfortunately, they would lose the subsequent World Series to the Yankees that Fall.
Worthridge Auctions currently has Burt Shotten's 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers National League Championship ring up for auction. Check out photos of it below. Considering what it represents, I hope it finds itself in a place where all fans alike can have an opportunity to check it out in person. It's a testament to a challenging time in our history; both as Dodger fans and as Americans. For once, the good guys won... And, heck... They even won a pennant as a reward.
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