Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Vintage Newsletter - "Line Drives from the Dodgers" - December 1943

Here is another edition of the Brooklyn Dodgers official fan newsletter.  This time we look at the December 1943 issue.  As you will notice, the club changed its name from "Dodger Doings" to "Line Drives from the Dodgers."  Go here to check out past issues of this newsletter I have shared.  Click on any pic to embiggen.  Furthermore, I'd like to extend thanks to fellow Dodger collector Doug for passing this newsletter along.

This edition was sent out to fans during the winter before the start of the 1944 Baseball season.  It briefly introduces a new face to the club, Gil English, and strangely mentions veteran infielder Arky Vaughan as a "new" veteran.  I say strange because he was not a new Dodger.  In fact, he had put up solid numbers in 1942 and 1943 for Brooklyn.  So, what did they mean?

As I understand it, Vaughan and Dodgers skipper Leo Durocher had butted heads during the prior year, and it appears that Leo was hoping the upcoming 1944 campaign would mend any wounds.  As Dodger fans came to find out, though, that was far from the case.  Arky Vaughan, a future Hall of Famer, decided that he would rather retire than play for Durocher.  At the age of 32 Arky would sit out the next three seasons.  Per Ralph Moses at the SABR Bio Project:
On July 10 of that year (1943), manager Durocher suspended pitcher Bobo Newsom for insubordination. Dodgers second baseman Billy Herman remembered, “I was having breakfast together with Augie Galan and Arky Vaughan at the New Yorker Hotel. Vaughan was a guy who always had everybody’s respect, as a ballplayer and as a man. He never said too much, but everybody admired and respected him.” Vaughan read a newspaper interview in which Durocher made accusations against Newsom. Herman recalled that Vaughan was quiet, but seemed to be upset by what he read. Later, at the ballpark, Vaughan angrily confronted Durocher, who confirmed that he had given the interview. Herman recalled, “Arky didn’t say another word. He went back to his locker and took off his uniform—pants, blouse, socks, cap—made a big bundle out of it, and went back to (Durocher’s) office.

“Take this uniform,” he said, “and shove it right up your ass.” And he threw it in Durocher’s face. “If you would lie about Bobo,“ he said, “you would lie about me and everybody else. I’m not playing for you.”
In 1947 he returned to the Dodgers after some prodding by Branch Rickey.  During his self-imposed vacation from the game, the Dodgers failed to win the pennant.  When he came back three years later, the Dodgers won the pennant.

Later on the the newsletter is a fun little letter written by the villain in the above story, Leo Durocher, to Santa Clause.  You should definitely check that out. 

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