RED FOLEY'S ALLTIME ALL-STAR TEAM OF PLAYERS WHO NEVER PLAYED IN THE MINOR LEAGUES
First base—Ernie Banks, Frank Chance
Second base—Frank Frisch
Third base—Bob Horner, Eddie Yost
Shortstop—Dick Groat, Jack Barry
Outfield—Dave Winfield, Mel Ott, Al Kaline, Ethan Allen
Catcher—Michael (King) Kelly
Pitchers—Sandy Koufax, Johnny Antonelli, Bob Feller, Ted Lyons, Eppa Rixey, Eddie Plank, Jack Coombs, Catfish Hunter
By way of qualification, Foley, who covered baseball for almost 20 years for the New York Daily News, adds, "Walter Johnson pitched in one game for Newark, which he was managing in 1928 after he'd finished as a major-leaguer. Kelly, a star of the 1880s, was a noted catcher who broke into the National League without benefit of minor league training. He began with Cincinnati in 1878 and didn't go to the minors until 1894; he played 90 games there. He died of typhopneumonia in November 1894. By '94, he'd drunk himself out of the National League. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945."
EIGHT GREAT BASEBALL LETTERS, SOME OF WHICH MADE HISTORY
1. Dixie (the People's Cherce) Walker was one of the most popular Brooklyn Dodgers ever. In 1947, when Jackie Robinson was about to break the color line, Walker was accused of being the ringleader of a group of Dodgers who objected to Branch Rickey's signing of Robinson. Walker denied the charge in a meeting with Rickey, who had made the accusation. A few days later, Walker wrote the following letter to Rickey.
March the 26,1947
Dear Mr. Rickey:
Recently the thought has occurred to me that a change of ball clubs would benefit both the Brooklyn ball club and myself. Therefore I would like to be traded as soon as a deal can be arranged. My association with you, the people of Brooklyn, the press and radio has been very pleasant, and one I can truthfully say I am sorry has to end.
For reasons I don't care to go in to, I feel my decision is best for all concerned.
Very truly yours,
As it turned out, Walker didn't get traded until after the '47 season.
2. and 3. Robinson's landmark career came to an end when the Dodgers traded him to the Giants after the 1956 season. He never played another game. Buzzie Bavasi, a Dodger vice-president, gave Robinson his formal notice, and owner Walter O'Malley added his regrets.
Enclosed herewith please find your Official Release Notice indicating your assignment to the New York Giants. This is something I never thought I would ever have to do, and as a matter of fact, I want you to know it was done with a great deal of reluctance.