01 December 2011

a century for smokey

100 years ago today, walter emmons alston burst onto the scene.  smokey, as he came to be known at some point, went on to manage the dodgers for 23 years, winning 7 pennants and 4 world series.  before that, he made exactly one plate appearance in the big leagues, and it came as a saint louis cardinal in 1936.  alas, he struck out, and was soon sent back to the minors. 

alston's overall record as a manager was 2040-1613, and he was inducted into the hall of fame in 1983.  sadly, alston passed away the following year.

here's a 1968 topps dodger team card that i picked up somewhere along the way, with what is purported to be alston's signature. 
the funny thing about that is that the 1967 team (the team shown on the card) was the worst performing team alston managed.  they finished in 8th place in the national league that year, with a .451 winning percentage. not that the actual 1968 team was much better, as it also finished in 8th with 76 wins, a 3-game improvement over the previous year.

here's to you, smokey! happy birthday, wherever you may be.

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