|Pee Wee Reese|
Reese displayed in a trading card by the Bowman Gum Company, 1954
|Born:July 23, 1918|
|Died: August 14, 1999 81) (aged|
|April 23, 1940, for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 26, 1958, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||885|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
Harold Peter Henry "Pee Wee" Reese (July 23, 1918 – August 14, 1999) was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a shortstop for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940 to 1958.A ten-time All Star, Reese contributed to seven National League championships for the Dodgers and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. Reese is also famous for his support of his teammate Jackie Robinson, the first modern African American player in the major leagues, especially in Robinson's difficult first years.
Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901, respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.
Reese's nickname originated in his childhood, as he was a champion marbles player (a "pee wee" is a small marble). Reese was born in Ekron, Meade County, Kentucky, and raised there until he was nearly eight years old, when his family moved to racially segregated Louisville. In high school, Reese was so small that he did not play baseball until his senior year, at which time he weighed only 120 pounds and played just six games as a second baseman. [ citation needed ] He worked as a cable splicer for the Louisville phone company, only playing amateur baseball in a church league. When Reese's team reached the league championship, the minor league Louisville Colonels allowed them to play the championship game on their field. Reese impressed Colonels owner Cap Neal, who signed him to a contract for a $200 bonus. While playing for the Colonels, he was affectionately referred to by his teammates as "The Little Colonel."He graduated from duPont Manual High School in 1935.
Ekron is a home rule-class city in Meade County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 170 at the 2000 census.
Meade County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 28,602. Its county seat is Brandenburg. The county was founded December 17, 1823, and named for Captain James M. Meade, who was killed in action at the Battle of River Raisin during the War of 1812.
Racial segregation is the systemic separation of people into racial or other ethnic groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, riding on a bus, or in the rental or purchase of a home or of hotel rooms. Segregation is defined by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance as "the act by which a person separates other persons on the basis of one of the enumerated grounds without an objective and reasonable justification, in conformity with the proposed definition of discrimination. As a result, the voluntary act of separating oneself from other people on the basis of one of the enumerated grounds does not constitute segregation". According to the UN Forum on Minority Issues, "The creation and development of classes and schools providing education in minority languages should not be considered impermissible segregation, if the assignment to such classes and schools is of a voluntary nature".
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By 1938, Reese was the Colonels' regular shortstop and one of the top prospects in the minors, and so impressed Boston Red Sox farm director Billy Evans that he recommended the Red Sox buy the team. Evans and owner Tom Yawkey both knew that the Red Sox' regular shortstop, Joe Cronin, was nearing the end of his career.
The Boston Red Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. The Red Sox have won nine World Series championships, tied for the third-most of any MLB team, and they have played in 13. Their most recent appearance and win was in 2018. In addition, they won the 1904 American League pennant, but were not able to defend their 1903 World Series championship when the New York Giants refused to participate in the 1904 World Series. Founded in 1901 as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox' home ballpark has been Fenway Park since 1912. The "Red Sox" name was chosen by the team owner, John I. Taylor, circa 1908, following the lead of previous teams that had been known as the "Boston Red Stockings", including the forerunner of the Atlanta Braves.
William George Evans, nicknamed "The Boy Umpire", was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the American League from 1906 to 1927. He became, at age 22, the youngest umpire in major league history, and later became the youngest to officiate in the World Series at age 25.
Thomas Austin Yawkey, born Thomas Yawkey Austin, was an American industrialist and Major League Baseball executive. Born in Detroit, Yawkey became president of the Boston Red Sox in 1933 and was the sole owner of the team for 44 seasons, longer than anyone else in baseball history. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980. Yawkey's racism and resistance to baseball's integration have led the modern day Red Sox to distance themselves from his legacy.
However, Cronin was also the Red Sox' manager, and still thought of himself as a regular shortstop. When Yawkey sent Cronin to Louisville to scout Reese, Cronin realized that he was scouting his own replacement. Cronin deliberately downplayed Reese's talent and suggested Reese be traded. It took a while to find a buyer, since the other teams assumed something had to be wrong with Reese if the Red Sox wanted to get rid of him. However, on July 18, 1939, Reese was sent to Brooklyn for $35,000 and four players to be named later. This trade is now considered one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. As it turned out, Cronin was only a part-time player after 1941.
Reese stayed in Louisville for the rest of the 1939 season, and was called up to Brooklyn in time for the 1940 season. In an ironic twist, he walked into a situation where his manager was also the regular shortstop—in this case, Leo Durocher. Unlike Cronin, however, Durocher was willing to give up his spot in the lineup to Reese.
The 1940 Brooklyn Dodgers finished the season in second place. It was their best finish in 16 years.
Leo Ernest Durocher, nicknamed Leo the Lip and Lippy, was an American professional baseball player, manager and coach. He played in Major League Baseball as an infielder. Upon his retirement, he ranked fifth all-time among managers with 2,009 career victories, second only to John McGraw in National League history. Durocher still ranks tenth in career wins by a manager. A controversial and outspoken character, Durocher had a stormy career dogged by clashes with authority, the baseball commissioner, umpires, and the press.
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Reese's rookie season in 1940 was curtailed by a broken heel bone that limited him to 84 games in what had looked to be a promising season (.272 batting average with 58 runs scored). He had a thrilling moment that year, hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the New York Giants. In 1941, he hit .229 and led the league with 47 errors. Even playing in the World Series that year was a forgettable experience for Reese, as he batted .200 and made three errors in the five-game Yankee win. It was in the 1942 campaign that he truly established himself, making the National League All-Star team for the first of ten consecutive years and leading National League shortstops in both putouts and assists.
In baseball, the batting average (BA) is defined by the number of hits divided by at bats. It is usually reported to three decimal places and read without the decimal: A player with a batting average of .300 is "batting three-hundred." If necessary to break ties, batting averages could be taken beyond the .001 measurement. In this context, a .001 is considered a "point," such that a .235 batter is 5 points higher than a .230 batter.
In baseball, a run is scored when a player advances around first, second and third base and returns safely to home plate, touching the bases in that order, before three outs are recorded and all obligations to reach base safely on batted balls are met or assured. A player may score by hitting a home run or by any combination of plays that puts him safely "on base" as a runner and subsequently brings him home. The object of the game is for a team to score more runs than its opponent.
In baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with all three bases occupied by baserunners, thereby scoring four runs—the most possible in one play. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term originated in the card game of contract bridge, in which a grand slam involves taking all the possible tricks. The word slam, by itself, usually is connected with a loud sound, particularly of a door being closed with excess force; thus, slamming the door on one's opponent(s), in addition to the bat slamming the ball into a home run.
Like many players of his era, he missed three seasons due to military service. Reese enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943 and shipped out to fight in the Pacific theater of World War II. While Reese was in the service, the Dodgers languished, finishing no better than third place and as poorly as 42 games out (in seventh place) in 1943. Upon his return in 1946, Reese immediately righted the ship as the Dodgers battled the St. Louis Cardinals in a tight pennant race. The two teams ended the season tied for first place and met in the 1946 National League tie-breaker series.It was the first playoff tiebreaker in Major League Baseball history. The Cardinals won the first two games of the best-of-three game series to capture the National League pennant.
Reese was a strong supporter and good friend of the first black Major League Baseball player, Jackie Robinson. He was serving a stint in the Navy when the news of Robinson's signing came. Although he had little or no experience interacting with minorities—according to Reese, his meeting Robinson marked the first time in his life that he had shaken hands with a black man — he had no particular prejudices, either. It is reported that his father had made him starkly aware of racial injustice by showing him a tree where a lynching had occurred.The modest Reese, who typically downplayed his pioneering role in helping to ease the breaking of the 60-year-old color line, said that his primary concern with regard to Robinson's arrival was the possibility of Reese losing his shortstop job. Robinson was assigned to play as the team's first baseman, and Reese retained his position.
In the spring of 1947, some Dodgers players began circulating a petition when word spread that Brooklyn intended to bring Jackie Robinson up from their farm team in Montreal. The players assumed that Reese, who grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, would sign. According to sportswriter Roger Kahn, who later became close friends with Reese, the petition essentially said, "If you bring up the nigger, trade us. We won't play." However, the popular Reese refused to sign the petition and it died.
When a sportswriter asked Reese if he was threatened by Robinson taking his position of shortstop, Reese simply responded, "If he can take my job, he's entitled to it." Reese was one of the few welcoming to Robinson, who endured horrible abuse from the crowds and fellow players, including pitchers who threw directly at his head and players who berated him with racial slurs. After spending a day with the Dodgers in 1947, sportswriter Jimmy Cannon concluded that, "Robinson is the loneliest man I have ever seen in sports."
When Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947 and traveled with them during their first road trip, he was heckled by fans in Cincinnati. During pre-game infield practice at Crosley Field (the then-home of the Cincinnati Reds), Reese, the captain of the team, went over to Robinson, engaged him in conversation, and put his arm around his shoulder in a gesture of support that silenced the crowd.(According to a 2013 article on ESPN, Brian Cronin argues that the incident actually occurred in 1948 in Boston.)
The gesture is depicted in a bronze sculpture of Reese and Robinson, created by sculptor William Behrends, which was placed at MCU Park in Brooklyn and unveiled on November 1, 2005. In a 2005 article, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert highlighted Kahn's statement that Reese's gesture to Jackie Robinson is "Baseball's finest moment."
Throughout that difficult first year in the major leagues, Reese helped keep Robinson's morale up amid all the abuse. As the 1947 season wore on, there was tacit acceptance of the fact that blacks were now playing big league ball and were probably there to stay. Reese became good friends with Robinson and was able to use humor to alleviate some of the tension and make Robinson laugh. Robinson still got pitches thrown at him, but, as Reese recounted to Kahn, "I told him, 'You know Jack, some of these guys are throwing at you because you're black. But others are doing it just because they plain don't like you.'" His role in nurturing Jackie Robinson aside, 1947 was a superb year for Reese, as he batted .284 with a league-leading 104 walks. He also had a career best slugging average of .426. Their rapport soon led shortstop Reese and second baseman Robinson to become one of the most effective defensive pairs in the sport's history. The friendship between Reese and Robinson is prominent in Roger Kahn's classic 1972 work, The Boys of Summer .
When Robinson died in 1972, Reese was one of the pallbearers at his funeral.
Joe Black, another major league baseball black pioneer, at Reese's funeral.
In 1949, Reese had his only league lead in a significant batting category, topping all National Leaguers with 132 runs scored. The Dodgers won the pennant again that year, but the Yankees continued to dominate in the World Series, winning in five games despite Reese's .316 Series average and team-leading five hits.
Reese became the Dodgers' team captain in 1950. In 1951, he had his career high in RBI, with 84. In 1952, he led the National League in stolen bases with 30. That year, Reese had his best Series, batting .345 with 10 hits, one home run and four RBI. In Game 3, Robinson and Reese pulled off a double steal, with both later scoring on a passed ball.
The 1953 Dodgers won the National League pennant with a mark of 105–49 for a .682 winning percentage. Reese was a mainstay for the team, with 108 runs scored and a .271 batting average. The Yankees, however, again defeated the Dodgers in the 1953 World Series, four games to two. After the season, the Dodgers offered Reese the position of manager; when Reese declined the promotion, the Dodgers hired Walter Alston, who remained manager for more than two decades.
In 1954, Reese batted .309, the only season in which he hit over .300. Though 36 years old, he was still going strong during the 1955 season, scoring 99 runs. In that year, the Dodgers won their first World Series. Reese had two RBIs in Game 2. In Game 7, he singled and scored an insurance run. While on the field, he doubled Gil McDougald off first base after Sandy Amorós made a sensational catch of a Yogi Berra fly ball in left field and relayed the throw to Reese to help preserve the victory.
In 1957, Reese yielded his starting role to another black ballplayer, Charlie Neal. As the Dodgers moved west in 1958, Reese joined them as a backup infielder, retiring that year after batting .224 in 59 games. He coached for the Dodgers in the 1959 season, earning a second World Series ring.
In a 16-year major league career, Reese played in 2,166 games, accumulating 2,170 hits in 8,058 at bats for a .269 career batting average along with 126 home runs, 885 runs batted in and an on-base percentage of .366. He retired with a .962 fielding percentage.
Other than his Navy time between 1943 and 1945, Reese had no breaks in service and played at least 140 games in every year from 1941 to 1956. Consistently productive, he scored at least 75 runs from 1942 through 1956 and amassed 1,338 lifetime, best of any Dodger. Though he never won a Most Valuable Player Award, eight times he ranked in the top ten of the Most Valuable Player Award balloting. He also was a home run threat during a time when shortstops seldom hit home runs. Reese amassed 252 stolen bases in a period when steals were not an integral part of the game. Defensively, he was an outstanding gloveman, leading National League shortstops four times in putouts and ranking in the top 10 all-time in putouts and double plays.
One of the most popular players with both his teammates and the fans, the "Little Colonel" was the Dodgers' team captain, and he, not the manager, brought out the line-up card at the start of their games. Reese and Elston Howard have the dubious distinction of playing on the most losing World Series teams (six each). Reese's only World Series win as a player, with the Dodgers in the 1955 World Series, occurred against Howard's New York Yankees during Howard's first World Series. No other non-Yankee ballplayer has appeared in that many World Series for the same team.
Following his retirement as a player, Reese enjoyed considerable success as a baseball play-by-play announcer. He called Game of the Week telecasts on CBS from 1960 to 1965 (with Dizzy Dean) and for NBC from 1966 to 1968 (with Curt Gowdy). Reese also broadcast the 1967 and 1968 World Series for NBC Radio, called Cincinnati Reds telecasts in 1969–1970, and served as a part-time television analyst for the Montreal Expos in 1972.
In his later years, Reese was employed at Hillerich & Bradsby, makers of Louisville Slugger baseball bats. He battled prostate and lung cancer during the final years of his life, and died on August 14, 1999 at his Louisville home. He is interred at Resthaven Memorial Park Cemetery in Louisville.
|Pee Wee Reese's number 1 was retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1984.|
In 1984, Reese was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum along with Rick Ferrell. On his entry, his support of Jackie Robinson was cited as well as his playing performance as a testament to his worthiness of the Hall.
A statue of Reese was erected in front of the main entrance of Louisville Slugger Field.[ when? ]
A statue of Reese and Jackie Robinson was erected in Brooklyn, New York in November 2005, in front of KeySpan Park (now MCU Park) where the Mets (minor league) Class A Cyclones play. Their widows both attended the ceremony for the statue which memorializes the gesture of Reese and his teammates overcoming the racial barrier.
Reese was presented with the "SABR Hero of Baseball Award" at the Society for American Baseball Research's June 1997 national convention at Louisville,Kentucky.
Reese was married to Dorothy "Dottie" Walton on March 29, 1942, who outlived him by nearly thirteen years. They had two children, and Dottie died on March 7, 2012; just 22 days away from what would have been the couple's Platinum wedding anniversary.
Joseph Edward Cronin was a Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop, manager and general manager. He also served as president of the American League (AL) for 14 years.
The 1952 World Series featured the 3-time defending champions New York Yankees beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games. The Yankees won their 4th consecutive title, tying the mark they set in 1936–1939 under manager Joe McCarthy, and Casey Stengel became the second manager in Major League history with 4 consecutive World Series championships. This was the Yankees' 15th World Series championship win, and the 3rd time they defeated the Dodgers in 6 years.
The 1955 World Series matched the Brooklyn Dodgers against the New York Yankees, with the Dodgers winning the Series in seven games to capture their first championship in franchise history. It would be the only Series the Dodgers won while based in Brooklyn, as the team relocated to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. This was the fifth time in nine years that the Yankees and the Dodgers met in the World Series, with the Yankees having won in 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953; the Yankees would also win in the 1956 rematch.
William Richard Cox was an American professional baseball third baseman and shortstop. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Baltimore Orioles.
Thomas Michael Brown is a retired American professional baseball player. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he made his Major League Baseball debut with his hometown Dodgers at 16 years and 241 days old, starting at shortstop at Ebbets Field against the Chicago Cubs on August 3, 1944, during the World War II manpower shortage. Brown thus became the youngest non-pitcher to ever play in a major league game, and the second-youngest overall after Joe Nuxhall, who was 15 years and 316 days old when he first appeared as a hurler for the Cincinnati Reds on June 10, 1944. In Brown's debut game, he collected his first big-league hit, a double off the Cubs' Bob Chipman, and in the field handled three chances, with one error, as the Dodgers fell, 6–2.
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James Edward Pendleton was an American professional baseball player, an outfielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) between 1953 and 1962. He played for the Milwaukee Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Colt .45s. Before appearing in MLB, he was a Negro league player. He was a right-handed batter and thrower, measured 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg).
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The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers repeated as National League champions by posting a 105–49 record, as of 2017, it is the best winning percentage in team history. However, the Dodgers again failed to win the World Series, losing in six games to the New York Yankees.
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The 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers led the National League for much of the season, holding a 13-game lead as late as August. However, a late season swoon and a hot streak by the New York Giants led to a classic three-game playoff series. Bobby Thomson's dramatic ninth-inning home run off Dodger reliever Ralph Branca in the final game won the pennant for the Giants and was immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.
The 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers struggled for much of the season, but still wound up pushing the Philadelphia Phillies to the last day of the season before falling two games short. Following the season, Branch Rickey was replaced as majority owner/team president by Walter O'Malley, who promptly fired manager Burt Shotton and replaced him with Chuck Dressen. Buzzie Bavasi was also hired as the team's first independent General Manager.
Bobby Morris Morgan is an American former professional baseball infielder. He played eight seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) between 1950 and 1958 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago Cubs.
The 1949 Brooklyn Dodgers held off the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League title by one game. The Dodgers lost the World Series to the New York Yankees in five games.
Leo Durocher returned as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers to start the 1948 season but was fired in mid-season. He was replaced first by team coach Ray Blades and then by Burt Shotton, who had managed the team to the 1947 pennant. The Dodgers finished third in the National League after this tumultuous season.
On April 15, Jackie Robinson was the opening day first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball. Robinson went on to bat .297, score 125 runs, steal 29 bases and be named the very first African-American Rookie of the Year. The Dodgers won the National League title and went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the 1947 World Series. This season was dramatized in the movie 42.
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The 1951 National League tie-breaker series was a best-of-three playoff series at the conclusion of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1951 regular season to decide the winner of the National League (NL) pennant. The games were played on October 1, 2, and 3, 1951, between the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. It was necessary after both teams finished the season with identical win–loss records of 96–58. It is most famous for the walk-off home run hit by Bobby Thomson of the Giants in the deciding game, which has come to be known as baseball's "Shot Heard 'Round the World".
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| Lead color commentator, Major League Baseball on NBC |