Monday, April 04, 2016

Don Drysdale Collection at SCP - Part II - In the Army Now

Following up on Friday's post featuring several Don Drysdale prep and minor league memorabilia items available for sale at SCP, I now look at some military-related collectibles.

(Auction Link)
It's easy to forget that even in the late-50's the country had a military draft in place.  The Reserve Forces Act of 1955 sought to improve National Guard and federal Reserve Component readiness, and ballplayers were not immune from conscription.  Per an auction description for the Drysdale US Army worn field jacket on the right:
In the fall of 1957, then-Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, 20, found out via an early morning phone call from team General Manager Buzzie Bavasi that he had to enter into a six-month program with the U.S. Army Reserves or else he would be drafted into military service. Drysdale, along with Dodgers teammate Sandy Koufax, was destined to spend the next half a year in the U.S. Army Reserves at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

In his book entitled “Once a Bum, Always a Dodger,” Drysdale wrote: “Those six months were good for me. When you wake up at three-thirty every morning, and you realize that some of your buddies are just getting in back home, it you a lot of discipline. The service should be mandatory for every kid in America. You thought you were hot stuff being a major league pitcher, and then you went to Fort Dix and found out that it doesn’t matter who you were. There were no exceptions.”
Both Drysdale and Koufax spent the winter of 1957-58 in the US Army Reserves, and it's likely it is here where they both received confirmation that the Dodgers would be moving to Los Angeles.  I imagine Drysdale was ecstatic about the change since he grew up in the area. 

Below are Drysdale's dog tags.  (Auction Link Here)
(Auction Link)

Here is Drysdale's Armed Forces ID.  (Auction Link Here)
(Auction Link)

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