Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Dodger Correspondence: 1934 Wilbert Robinson Handwritten Letter to Casey Stengel

Check out this fantastic hand-written letter by retired Brooklyn Robins/Dodgers manager Wilbert "Uncle Robbie" Robinson to old friend Casey Stengel that is currently on auction at Heritage (link here). Dated March 6, 1934, the letter expresses great fondness and admiration for Stengel -- adding that he's happy to know that he will be managing his old club.

As you may know, Uncle Robbie headed the Brooklyn ballclub from 1914 to 1931, and coached Casey when he was just a lad with the team from Flatbush. Below is an what's written (unfortunately, Robinson's handwriting is a little difficult to decipher, so it might not be entirely accurate). It says:
Dear Friend Casey: 
I am sure pleased you have the position as Manager of The Brooklyn Club. I know you will do well in fact better than any one I know of with the material you have. Mrs. Robinson joins me in wishing you success and good luck. 
I am glad you kept Otto. He is one hundred percent man at all times. I owe him a letter and will write him soon. 
I expect to drive down to some of the training camps the last of this month and if I do I will stop and see you in Orlando.  
Give them hell old boy and make a good showing.
Yours As Ever, 
Wilbert Robinson 
I believe Otto is in reference to Otto Miller -- who caught for Robinson for much of his time in Brooklyn and would later on become a coach.

BTW, Uncle Robbie would not survive the year. In August of 1934 he would fall and hit his head, while also breaking his arm in a hotel accident. He would soon utter these words,
"Don't worry about it, fellas. I'm an old Oriole. I'm too tough to die."
A few days later he would die of a brain hemorrhage -- just months after a Baltimore Orioles teammate and fellow legendary manager John McGraw passed away.

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Blog Kiosk: 2/19/2020 - Dodgers Links & News - Some Odds and Ends

Kershaw is excited for the season, regardless of the controversy currently embroiling the game. Via Rowan Kavner at Dodger Insider:
“I think any time you add players of Mookie’s caliber, of David’s caliber, there’s a little bit added excitement for sure,” Kershaw said. “We’re fired up. We know we have a good team. Now we’ve just got to go play.”
“I love baseball,” Kershaw said. “I’m excited about it, and I’m just thinking about the 12-year-old kid at home that… here’s all this stuff. It’s hard to decipher. It’s just a lot of negative and negative and negative, and rightfully so. It’s a lot of stuff that’s going on that shouldn’t have happened, but at the same time, the season’s going to happen. We’re excited about it. This team is excited. There’s going to be a lot of great baseball, and I’m fired up for that.”
Photos above and on the right via @Dodgers on twitter. Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers HistoryIn 1954 the Dodgers signed 19-year old Roberto Clemente to a one-year contract worth $5,000 with a $10,000 signing bonus. He was highly scouted by both the Yankees and Giants, but they all got outbid by the Dodgers. Unfortunately, they would lose Clemente's rights during the upcoming 1954 Rule V Draft to Pittsburgh... And guess who was the Pirates GM at the time -- Branch RickeyIn 1983 22-year old Dodger hurler Fernando Valenzuela becomes the first ballplayer awarded an $1,000,000 salary during arbitration. The Dodgers had countered with a salary of $750,000.
  • Happy BirthdayOscar RoettgerDick SiebertGail HopkinsDave StewartJosh Reddick & Fabio Castillo!