19 January 2015

a dodger black armband for team owner and president stephen mckeever

here, once again, is the 1990 target dodgers 100th anniversary set card of hall of famer kiki cuyler.
cuyler, who spent just one season (1938) with the dodgers, is wearing a black armband in honor of team president stephen mckeever, who had died in march of '38.  the curious thing about the jersey cuyler is wearing is the fact that 'brooklyn' appears in block lettering rather than the familiar cursive script, and that it appears at all. the hall of fame's website does not show this as one of the jerseys worn by the club in 1938, but rather shows three uniform tops that all say 'dodgers' on them.  thankfully, uni-watch sorted this out in 2010, noting that it was likely that the dodgers wore their 1937 uniforms during 1938 spring training.

speaking of spring training, dodger john winsett graced the cover of life magazine in april of 1938
with a photo from clearwater (where the dodgers trained in 1938) showing the armband, the 'brooklyn' uniform, and the same fence as is seen on the kiki cuyler card.

here's another card showing the black armband - it's leo durocher's 2014 panini classics card
and features a photo with the same fence in the previous two photos, but without the 'brooklyn' on the jersey.  1938 was also durocher's first season with the dodgers, so even without any text on the jersey thanks to panini's lack of a license, there is little doubt that the photo comes from 1938 and the armband is for mckeever.

mckeever, along with his brother edward, had bought half of the club in 1912 as a way for charles ebbets to finance the construction of ebbets field.  when ebbets passed away in 1925, edward mckeever became team president, but his tenure lasted only a few days before he too died.  at that time, the team's manager wilbert robinson took over the role until 1930, and was succeeded by frank york (the mckeever's lawyer).  in 1932, stephen mckeever was elevated to the role of team president and held the position until his death at the age of 84.  as the team's president, mckeever also filled the role of general manager, and so would have been responsible for the signing of cuyler in february of 1938.  mckeever's final transaction may have been the acquisition of dolph camilli from the phillies which occurred on march 6, the day before mckeever's death.

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