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1957

February 6, 1957

The Dodgers announced that internationally-known clown Emmett Kelly had been hired by the Dodgers. Kelly said, "I'm so happy about it. The Dodgers have been my favorite team for years and I couldn't be more pleased about anything than to be associated with them." Kelly will also appear at Dodgertown in Spring Training and at the Dodgertown Summer Camp for Boys. 1 Walter O'Malley was asked at the press conference "Aren't you afraid that the newspapers will change the name of your club to the Clowns?" "No," said O'Malley, "The club has been called the Bums. The Clowns would be a peg higher." 2

February 20, 1957

The Dodgers will host the manager of the Yomiuri Giants and three players on that club during Spring Training. Giant Manager Shigeru Mizuhara with pitcher Sho Horiuchi and catcher Shigeru Fujio would take part in the Dodgers' workouts at Dodgertown. This spring would be Fujio's second visit to Spring Training with a major league club as he trained with the New York Giants in California in 1952. 3 Accompanying the group would be sportswriter Sotaro Suzuki, known for his international baseball involvement going back to 1931 when Babe Ruth and other American players visited Japan. Walter O'Malley said, "This is our way of returning the many good-will gestures of our recent hosts and should give the Japanese manager, his young players and Mr. Suzuki an opportunity to study training methods at our Dodgertown training camp. We feel this exchange of ideas will aid the development of the game of baseball in a country where interest in baseball is truly amazing." United States Ambassador to Japan John Allison added his support of the offer for specialized training. "This seems to be a very fine plan, and we shall, of course, be happy to assist in every possible way," said the U.S. Ambassador. 4

February 21, 1957

Los Angeles Mayor Norris Poulson announces he will visit Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida within the next 10 days in his efforts to invite the Dodgers to Los Angeles. Poulson said, "I intend to confer with Walter O'Malley, president of the Dodgers, to see how soon it will be possible for Los Angeles' longtime dream to become realized." 5

February 27, 1957

Columnist Bob Addie writes of Dodgertown in a humorous column about Spring Training. "Vero Beach will be a revelation to you. That is, the Dodger camp will. It looks like a Rube Goldberg idea come to life. The Dodgers have a unique idea. They believe in training all their farm clubs on the same site. Branch Rickey, Sr. evolved the idea of having all sorts of gadgets in camp. It looks like a county fair with fellows hitting baseballs attached to strings, pitchers throwing through holes in a canvas tent, batting machines, pitching machines and just about every kind of machine except one on how to pitch to Yogi Berra." 6 Berra homered twice in Game 7 of the 1956 World Series.

March 1, 1957

Arthur Daley, New York Times columnist, wrote of the special nature of Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. "There's an appealing fragrance in the very air at Vero Beach. The Dodger baseball factory is located in the heart of the Indian River county just above Florida's Gold Coast and the orange groves crowd in from all sides. It looks like baseball; it sounds like baseball; but it smells like orange blossoms." 7

March 3, 1957

Three thousand fans attended a Dodger intrasquad game at Holman Stadium in Dodgertown, encouraged by the free admission and the first appearance of famous clown Emmett Kelly. The "Pitlers" managed by Dodger coach Jake Pitler defeated the "Hermans", a team managed by Dodger coach Billy Herman. Clown Emmett Kelly grabbed a broom and used it as a bat as he faced Dodger shortstop Pee Wee Reese, pitching from the mound. Kelly was ruled to have singled to right field on one pitch." 8 Walter O'Malley said, "I think it is worth noting, that there were more kids present than we've ever had at any game here." After the event, Kelly made up press room attendant Babe Hamberger, exactly as Kelly, and then Hamberger went into the dining room with the clown makeup of Kelly still on. 9

March 6, 1957

Walter O'Malley meets with officials from the City of Los Angeles that includes Mayor Norris Poulson; County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn; City Council President John Gibson; City Administration Officer Samuel Leask; Chief Administrative Officer John Leach; and Chairman of the County Recreation Commission, Milton Arthur. The Dodger plane was to transport the officials from Miami to Vero Beach, visit Dodgertown and were expected to meet with the media at 8:00 p.m. 10

March 6, 1957

Columnist Dick Young wrote of the annual sign in Vero Beach that displayed Vero Beach as the winter home of the Dodgers. Young wrote this year the sign displayed the Brooklyn Dodgers as N.L. Champs. Some vandals painted on the sign in green paint, "Yankees Champs." The sign was re-painted and removed from the billboard. 11 Also, Young mentioned this season Dodger catcher Roy Campanella shaved his own winter moustache, a Spring Training ritual normally done by Pee Wee Reese. Campanella said he shaved it himself because, "He (Reese) was getting too rough. Almost cut my nose off last time." 12

March 8, 1957

New York Post columnist Leonard Cohen wrote of Walter O'Malley's technical expertise in Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida. "The Dodgers were testing the new pitching machines recently installed here in the batting cage section on the grounds on a trial basis. Walter O'Malley walked up to watch. "That's what I like to see when we experiment with something new that might be injurious to a player - a third string man in there trying it out," said O'Malley. The "third-stringer" was hitting against the gadget was bullpen ace Clem Labine. 13

March 13, 1957

Roy Campanella worked with rookie catcher John Roseboro as Campanella's instruction was meant to prepare Roseboro as the next Dodger catcher. John Corriden, a Dodger scout, said, "Times certainly changed. In my day, the big leaguer would have done everything possible to discourage the kid on the way up, in order to protect his own job. Now, everything is done for the good of the organization." 14

March 13, 1957

The Dodgers played three exhibition games at Holman Stadium against major league teams in 1957, but this game featuring the Chicago White Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers would be unique. In the game, seven future Hall of Famer players were in the box score. For the White Sox, shortstop Luis Aparicio, second baseman Nellie Fox, and right fielder Larry Doby would be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For the Dodgers that day, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, catcher Roy Campanella, and pitchers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax made appearances. 15 In addition, the two teams were managed by future Hall of Famers, Al Lopez for the Chicago White Sox and Walter Alston for the Dodgers.

March 16, 1957

The Dodgers' maiden voyage of their new Convair 440 plane transported minor league players from the West Coast to Dodgertown. Bud Holman, a Dodger director, made the flight with the young players. Holman's son, Bump Holman, was the pilot of the Convair 440 flight. 16

March 17, 1957

Walter O'Malley made sure the sportswriters and their wives were able to attend the annual St. Patrick's Day party in Dodgertown. The Dodgers were playing exhibition games in Miami and the new Dodger Convair plane picked up the media and spouses. After the party, the plane returned to Miami. O'Malley flew to Miami as the party host and wore a green beret with a green shamrock tie. Japanese sportswriter Sotaro Suzuki wore a green cap and told everyone, "I'm Irish now." 17

March 20, 1957

In an unusual arrangement, the Fort Worth team of the Texas League, now belonging to the Chicago Cubs, held their Spring Training in Dodgertown. The Dodgers had owned the Fort Worth team and then exchanged the team to the rights of the Los Angeles club of the Pacific Coast League. Because the exchange of franchises was so recent, Fort Worth players, currently with the Cub organization, reported to Dodgertown for Spring Training. In 1957, some Dodger players remained with the Fort Worth club, including 1959 World Series MVP Larry Sherry. Cub minor league manager Gene Handley, who would manage the Fort Worth club, said, "The Dodgers are being very co-operative and I think everything is going to work out well for everyone." 18

March 23, 1957

Walter O'Malley writes an internal memo to himself in Vero Beach, Florida regarding a conversation he has had with New York Giants' owner Horace Stoneham. "Mr. Stoneham made up his mind some time ago to move his franchise from New York to Minneapolis. He told me that his decision was quite independent of anything Brooklyn might do. He is prepared to move for the 1958 season….I asked Mr. Stoneham if he had considered San Francisco and he said he was not at all impressed by that location. I believe as a result of this talk that Mr. Stoneham made a commitment to the Minneapolis people at the time they built the new stadium….I suggested that if he left New York and if the Dodgers were eventually to do the same thing it would leave New York City unprotected in the National League." 19

March 27, 1957

The largest check ever drawn from the Indian River Citrus Bank was made for the Brooklyn Dodgers to pay the Convair Corporation for the new Dodger plane. Sportswriter Bob Curzon wrote, "Incidentally, the Dodgers had to cough up $734,908.96 for the airplane. A check for this amount was drawn from the Dodgertown operating account at the Indian River Citrus Bank. It was the largest check ever drawn on the bank." 20

March 27, 1957

Dodger outfielder Sandy Amoros appeared with an unusual pair of shoes - made of frog skin. In addition, the head of the frog looked up from the instep of the shoe. 21

March 27, 1957

Bats in the Dodger bat rack were full of various sizes and shapes. Some handles were notched in the belief that players would be able to hold on to the bat more easily. Catcher Roy Campanella used a notched bat in the grip in an exhibition game and was surprised when the bat broke. "I thought," said Campanella, "that my darned hand had fallen off this time." 22

1 ^ Roscoe McGowen, The Sporting News, February 6, 1957

2 ^ Dan Daniel, The Sporting News, February 6, 1957

3 ^ Bob Bowie, The Sporting News, February 27, 1957

4 ^ Roscoe McGowen, The Sporting News, February 20, 1957

5 ^ Los Angeles Examiner, February 21, 1957

6 ^ Bob Addie, The Sporting News, February 27, 1957

7 ^ Arthur Daley, New York Times, March 1, 1957

8 ^ Roscoe McGowen, New York Times, March 4, 1957

9 ^ Roscoe McGowen, New York Times, March 13, 1957

10 ^ Brooklyn Dodger Press Release, March 6, 1957

11 ^ Dick Young, The Sporting News, March 6, 1957

12 ^ Dick Young, The Sporting News, March 6, 1957

13 ^ Leonard Cohen, New York Post, March 8, 1957

14 ^ Dick Young, The Sporting News, March 13, 1957

15 ^ The Sporting News, March 20, 1957

16 ^ The Sporting News, March 20, 1957 

17 ^ Roscoe McGowen, The Sporting News, March 27, 1957

18 ^ The Sporting News, March 20, 1957  

19 ^ Walter O'Malley Internal Memo, March 23, 1957

20 ^ Bob Curzon, Vero Beach Press-Journal, March 27, 1957

21 ^ Dick Young, The Sporting News, March 27, 1957

22 ^ Dick Young, The Sporting News, March 27, 1957

For more on the history of the Dodgers Spring Training visit walteromalley.com