Friday, January 20, 2012

eBay: Vintage Dodger Snapshots- Some Replacement Players

Sure, it's great to have a chance to enjoy vintage fan taken snapshots of a future Hall of Famer, but those guys tend to be who everyone takes photos of. How about the other fellows? Won't somebody give the role players some love?

Well, featured here are several snapshots of some unheralded Brooklyn Dodgers from the early 1940's.

Below is journeyman backup catcher Herman Franks from 1941. He was hardly a superstar, but became noteworthy nonetheless. Herman started out with the Hollywood Stars, played in Brooklyn from 1940 to 1941, befriended Leo Durocher in the meantime, went away to war for 3.5 years, and came back to became a player manager for the Dodgers AAA team in St. Paul. Then, he decided to get back on the field for the Phillies and Giants before retiring to be the right hand man behind Manager Durocher's Giants. As the story goes, it was Franks who sat in centerfield stealing catcher signs that may have lead to Bobby Thompson's 1951 home run shot.

So, Franks was a traitor, and a cheating SOB. As stated in Wikipedia:
Franks would poke his head into the Brooklyn clubhouse to taunt Furillo that Giant pitchers would throw at his head during that day's game. Furillo, whose hatred for Durocher was so intense that he would engage Durocher in a fistfight in the Giant dugout filled with enemy players, said of the Giants, in Peter Golenbock's book Bums, "They were dirty ballplayers ... They all wanted to be like Durocher, to copy Durocher. That Herman Franks, he was another one."

This is Newt Kimball. He was a right handed relief pitcher for the Dodgers from 1940 to 1943. This photo was taken in September of 1941. Unfortunately, I can't make out where the pic is from.

Larry French casually strolls through the home field of the Boston Braves in July 1942 in the photo below. Of the three players featured here, French had the longest career. He was a starting pitcher for most of his 14 years in the Majors- the last two with Brooklyn in 1941 to 1942. Here is a funny story about Larry from Wikipedia.
With his team leading the Braves 8-0 in the ninth inning, reliever Larry French of the 1933 Pirates figured he could duck out of the bullpen and hit the showers early. Little did he know as he was getting clean that the Braves had rallied to make the score 8-7. When the call came for French to pitch, he didn't even have time to rinse off. He put on his uniform and hustled out to the mound with soap trickling down his neck. He went on to pull off a win.
That would be like Griffey hitting a homer as a pinch hitter that one time he was found in the clubhouse sleeping during a game.

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