20 April 2014

clyde sukeforth was, among other things, a dodger double dipper

[this is the sixtysixth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwinjoe fergusoneddie murraymatt lukeken mcmullen, tim wallach, jerry grotedon suttonralph branca, todd hundley, elmer dessensguillermo motajoe beckwithjamie hoffmannbabe hermanjoe medwickjuan castroron perranoskiclyde kingpaul wanerhughie jenningsron negray, broadway aleck smithgeorge smith, johnny cooney, jim faireyfrenchy bordagaraydoc casey, waite hoyt, and luis olmo.]

clyde sukeforth first joined the dodgers in 1932 following a trade with the reds.  he served as a backup catcher for three seasons, hitting .184 in a total of 106 games.  here's his 1990 target dodgers card
rather than report to the toledo mud hens in 1935 (at the time the hens were unaffiliated with a big league club), sukeforth retired.  he did return to play in the independent bi-state league in 1936 before rejoining the dodger organization as a manager of their minor league affiliate in clinton, iowa.  he eventually became the manager of the montreal royals, the dodgers' highest level farm team, and in 1943, sukeforth joined the big club as a coach.

now, i don't count dodger players who leave the organization, play somewhere else, and then return to the dodgers as a coach as double dippers.  if i did, then tommy lasorda, rick honeycutt, ken howell, reggie smith, claude osteen, charlie hough, and, of course, davey lopes (among many others) would all qualify.  no, sukeforth earned his double dipper status by returning to the field of play in 1945.

at the age of 43, and with the major league rosters thinned due to world war ii, sukeforth returned as a player almost 11 years after his last big league appearance.  in 18 games, he hit .294 and even caught 10 complete games.  he retired from playing for good, and continued in his role as a dodger coach and scout.

in 1947, a couple years after helping to broker a meeting between branch rickey and jackie robinson, sukeforth had the honor of being the dodgers' manager on opening day, filling in for the suspended leo durocher until burt shotton, the 'permanent' interim manager, arrived a few days later.

sukeforth would eventually leave the dodgers again, following branch rickey to pittsburgh where he recommended that the pirates select roberto clemente from the dodgers in the 1954 rule v draft.

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