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Alvin Dark

Alvin Dark

Position(s):
OF, SS, 3B, 2B, P, 1B, LF
Nicknames:
Blackie, The Swamp Fox
Born:
January 7, 1922
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 11"
Weight:
185 lbs
Major League Debut:
7-14-1946 with BSN
Allstar Selections:
1948 ROOK, 1955 LG

Alvin Dark

When he singled to start the bottom of the ninth inning of the third game of the 1951 National League Playoffs, Alvin Dark started the rally that culminated in Bobby Thomson's famous home run. Had Dark only done that, he probably would still be remembered by Giants fans, but he accomplished much more in a long career in baseball. Dark was the Rookie of the Year in 1948, was a three-time All-Star, managed the Giants to the 1962 pennant, and guided the A's to their third World Series title in 1974 after replacing Dick Williams at the helm. With a red-hot temper and burning desire to win, Dark at times found himself embroiled in controversy, but he was always colorful and at the center of the action. He and his double play partner, Eddie Stanky, were both traded to the Giants in the same deal in 1949.

Quotes About Alvin Dark

"Alvin Dark, the Giant manager, took batting practice with his players, slapping the ball about the park just as he had done for ten years as an active player. Dark was a 'scientific' hitter who always studied a pitched ball carefully, measuring its plateward movement with delicate optical precision, and striking at it with calculated force. At least 70 percent of the time all this concentrated coordination netted him a big, fat A.B. and a trip back to the dugout. The frustration tore at his soul, and Alvin, who eschews profanity, often released his pent-up self-torment by slinging his batting helmet around the dugout." — from Jim Brosnan's The Pennant Race, his diary of the 1961 season.

Teams Alvin Dark Managed

San Francisco Giants (1961-1964)
Kansas City Athletics (1966-1967)
Cleveland Indians (1968-1971)
Oakland Athletics (1974-1975)
San Diego Padres (1977)

Description

"He's the worst-looking good hitter to come up in years. That's because when he misses a ball he looks like a kid on a sandlot. He makes errors on simple plays, but then he'll make the big play that gets a pitcher out of a jam." — The Sporting News, November 7, 1951

 

Where He Played:

Shortstop (1,104 games), third base (320), outfield (43), second base (29), first base (15), and pitcher (1).

Giants manager Leo Durocher tried to switch Dark to second base, a move that wasn't received well by Alvin, as he explained in 1953, he never liked the idea but tried to mask his feelings:

"The fellow I was thinking of all the time was Davey Williams. And that's not just because he's my roommate and one of my best friends I have on the club. Just suppose that I'd come out and said that I was crazy to move to second, that I thought it was a cinch of a job compared to shortstop. What would that have done to davey's morale and to his value to the club? Davey is a sensitive kid who needs a pat on the back rather than a belt in the jaw. he reacts to praise and plays better as a result of it."

Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1946

Yogi Berra
Ralph Kiner
Alvin Dark
Carl Furillo
Bobby Thomson
Joe Garagiola
Ellis Kinder
Vic Raschi
Sherm Lollar

Nicknames

Blackie,The Swamp Fox

Related Players

Double play partner Eddie Stanky played alongside Dark with the Braves and Giants... Dark and Giants manager Leo Durocher had a sometimes stressful relationship in New York. The two were very much alike - small, cocky, brash, and willing to say it like it is. Leo felt that Dark played too relaxed in spring exhibition games, and resented Dark's contract holdouts. Alvin didn't appreciate Durocher's effort to switch him to second base, or his verbal attacks in the press (mostly about Dark's lackadaisacal spring training approach). Eventually, the two co-existed, and had a mutual respect for each other. "I wish I had nine Dark's," Durocher said in 1953.

 

Hall of Fame Voting
Year Election Votes Pct
1966 BBWAA 17 5.6%
1967 BBWAA 38 13.0%
1967 Run Off 7 2.3%
1968 BBWAA 36 12.7%
1969 BBWAA 48 14.1%
1970 BBWAA 55 18.3%
1971 BBWAA 54 15.0%
1972 BBWAA 55 13.9%
1973 BBWAA 53 13.9%
1974 BBWAA 54 14.8%
1975 BBWAA 48 13.3%
1976 BBWAA 62 16.0%
1977 BBWAA 66 17.2%
1978 BBWAA 60 15.8%
1979 BBWAA 80 18.5%
1980 BBWAA 43 11.2%

Post-Season Appearances

1948 World Series
1951 World Series
1954 World Series

Awards and Honors
1948 ML Rookie of the Year

 

Notes

An excellent athlete, Dark was an All-American honorable mention in football at Southwest Louisiana Institute, and an accomplished golfer. He won the Baseball Players Golf Tournament in Miami, Florida, in February of 1951.

Hitting Streaks

23 games (1948)
22 games (1952)

 

Transactions

July 4, 1946: Signed by the Boston Braves as an amateur free agent.

December 14, 1949: Traded by the Boston Braves with Eddie Stanky to the New York Giants for Sid Gordon, Buddy Kerr, Willard Marshall, and Red Webb.

June 14, 1956: Traded by the New York Giants with Ray Katt, Don Liddle, and Whitey Lockman to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later, Dick Littlefield, Jackie Brandt, Red Schoendienst, and Bill Sarni. The St. Louis Cardinals sent Gordon Jones (October 1, 1956) to the New York Giants to complete the trade.

May 20, 1958: Traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs for Jim Brosnan.

January 11, 1960: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with John Buzhardt and Jim Woods to the Philadelphia Phillies for Richie Ashburn.

June 23, 1960: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Milwaukee Braves for Joe Morgan.

October 31, 1960: Traded by the Milwaukee Braves to the San Francisco Giants for Andre Rodgers.

All-Star Selections

1951 NL
1952 NL
1954 NL

Best Strength as a Player

Alvin Dark was a winner, and had a reputation as a clutch performer. One sportswriter said of him, "He blows hot and cold, but you look up and you find that he usually is hot when it counts and cold when it doesn't. Why? Because he's one of the greatest competitors that has come along in years... He has a heart as big as a kingsize watermelon."

Largest Weakness as a Player

Patience at the plate. Dark was a bad-ball hitter.

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Tagged:
1948 World Series, All Star, Alvin Dark, Baseball History, Boston Braves, Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, New York Giants, Rookie of the Year Award, Shortstop, The Swamp Fox, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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