Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Dodger Correspondence: Former Brooklyn Robin's Catcher Jimmy Archer

Here is another edition of Dodger Correspondence that focuses on an old letter written by a former Dodger. This time, I share a letter written by one-time Brooklyn Robins catcher Jimmy Archer.

Heck, calling him a former Dodger is a bit of a stretch.  He wore Blue for less than a month during the 1918 season.  He was signed as a recently released free agent during the middle of the year, then was sold to the Reds shortly thereafter. Regardless, Archer exhibits a True Blue spirit in the letter shown here, even though he played only 9 games for us.

This letter is addressed to a Fred Arnold on September 24, 1955.  Arnold was an avid Baseball fan and collector who was known to have become a pen pal with many former players; including Jimmy Archer.

In this letter Archer discusses the upcoming 1955 World Series match-up between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers, as well as other tidbits.

Friend Fred,
Just a few lines to say! Hello, and trust you are enjoying the best of health right now, I suppose, you are getting things reading, so you can see the World Series. Sure was a nice race in the American League, and our hopes, "the White Sox" could not last. Still another year to come, our clubs might do better. How did you survive one hot summer, Sure! a hot one here, broke all records for heat. I was pleased to hear from you again, and sorry that I've been so lac in correspondence, cannot be helped.

This was one busy season in bowling so the hours have a lot do do with writing. [He ran a bowling alley.] Do not feel like it at 2:00 A.M. in the morning ... I have not heard from Cheney [former big leaguer] since he left Florida ... I suppose you favor the Yankees - Why not. It should be a good series, one team has the fill ins, the other the pitchers - so take your choice. I'll take the short end. How about it! [The Dodgers ended up finally defeating the Yankees.] I see where Durocher quit & Rigney gets the job. [Rigney replaced him as Giants' manager.] Well, I think there will be a lot of changes before the bell rings next year. It is sure a pleasure to write you and hope to hear from you soon again. Both Mrs. A & myself are both OK at present - Also preparing to celebrate out 50th "Golden Anniversary" on Nov. 20 . So for now 'Buenos Noches' & Good Luck Jimmy Archer."
It's really amazing how often this type of banter existed between a former player and fan in the old days.  Correspondence was much more difficult back then, so there was a greater sense of appreciation when a fan tried to get a hold of you.  As a result, a lasting friendship would sometimes occur that might shock folks today.

BTW, Archer was a world class bowler, and even served as a promotional director for the Congress of Professional Bowling Alleys.  His prowess on the lanes shouldn't be surprising since he was known during his playing days for having the best throwing arm of any catcher during the Deadball Era. 

I also want to add that his athletic days pale in comparison to his act of quick thinking and heroism as a hog purchaser for the Armour Meat Packing Company.  In 1931 two truck drivers where overcome by carbon monoxide and passed out in the Union Stock Yards in Chicago, and Archer came to their rescue.  He brought them both back to life.
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