This Day in Dodger History - Jan. 24, 1934

In a unique event, the type that at one time seemed to happen more often than not in Brooklyn, came about on this day in 1934 when, probably in jest, Giants manager Bill Terry asked, "Is Brooklyn still in the league?" Everyone laughed, save the Dodger writers, and Terry would bit his tongue when, with the pennant on the line, they found out the answer to his question.

It was during the spring meetings in New York in the lobby of the Hotel Roosevelt. Writers clustered around Terry, asking him about his team's chances of repeating as National League champions.

The Cubs and Cardinals were mentioned as his strongest opponents and then someone asked him about Brooklyn, who had finished in sixth place in eight of the last 12 seasons.

Terry, who had just completed his first season since replacing future Hall of Fame manager John McGraw, was feeling good about his first pennant and with a smile said, "Is Brooklyn Still in the League?"

Nearly all the writers laughed and all of them printed it.

But the Brooklyn writers did not laugh and the comment it his Brooklyn like a mega-ton bomb. Terry's "fan" mail increased by the bag full and most of it was postmarked in Brooklyn.

The general theme running through the letters, in between words not usually repeated in a family publication, were, "Wait until you come to Brooklyn, you bum. You'll see if Brooklyn is still in the league."

For the uninitiated, the word "bum" was normally an insult but when you mentioned the Brooklyn Bums (note capital), it was a serious compliment to the Dodger team.

Max Carey was the Dodger manager at the time but, unknown to him, was on his way out and Casey Stengel was to be his successor, inheriting a mostly talentle-challenged team that would again finish -- where else? -- in sixth place.

And Casey's club battled the hated Giants, drawing a record 41,209 fans to a game at Ebbets Field that had a capacity of 34,000 plus. However, the Giants rolled into the league lead and held a 14-6 advantage in the series heading into the final two games of the season

The Giants and Cardinals came down to the wire with St. Louis playing the Reds and the Giants hosting Brooklyn in the Polo Grounds where New York had won seven of nine.

Dodger fans had screamed at Terry over the first 20 games of the season and for the final two games a steady stream of Brooklyn fans filled the New York stands.

"Is Brooklyn still in the league? We'll show you right now," the shouted, drowning out the Giant fans who were definitely in the minority in their own park.

Stengel spoke briefly to his team before the game. "Mungo, you'll start today. Parmlee will be wild so wait him out. Let's go. We're still in the league but let's not be too quiet about it."

Van Lingo Mungo, who some felt threw harder than anyone in the National League, pitched is best game of the year. The beat New York 5-1 and St. Louis took a one-game lead into the final game.

Stengel saw Terry leaving the park after the game and said, "I was going to come into your clubhouse after the game but I thought I had better not."

Terry, verbally battered throughout the game by the howling Brooklyn fans, growled "If you had, I'd have thrown you out on your ear."

Casey gave him a wry grin and said, "If I had been, I would have taken a piece of your hide with me."

The Giants could still tie things but the Dodgers would have none of it. They fell behind early but battered their way to an 8-5 victory, made all that much sweeter when St. Louis beat Cincinnati again and won the pennant.

Casey would only last through the 1937 season before the Dodger front office fired him -- a move much cheaper than buying the necessary players to contend with.

On his birthday in mid-season, 25 sports editors and baseball writers from Brooklyn, New York, St. Louis and Chicago gave Stengel a dinner, perhaps the first time in baseball history newspaper people did that for a manager that was in last place.

Two prophetic statements came during he banquet.

Stengel said, "If I can do this good with a last place club, I'll be all right if we ever get a winner." He proved that with the Yankees, winning five pennants and World Series in succession.

And Sid Mercer noted in his column in the New York Journal-American, "Strange that baseball people with millions invested do not place higher values on personalities and good will providers. Stengel deserves a better break than he is getting in Brooklyn. He knows baseball, can handle men, and, with proper support, could turn out winners and make Brooklyn the hottest town in the National League."

After he was fired, the baseball writers gave him another diner and slammed the club for having released him.

One of the hosts was Buddy Hassett, who had just completed his first season with the Dodgers. Hassett spoke briefly and thanked Casey for his many kindnesses.

"He (Hassett) just gave them something for the Little Red Book (of baseball records). This is the first time a ballplayer ever paid to talk to his manger in a friendly way." Manny Helps Soles4Souls-- Manny Mota and Soles4Souls Inc., the international charity dedicated to providing free footwear to needy people around the world, announced that the first shipment of donated shoes is in transit to the Dominican Republic and Colombia. Manny Mota, Hall of Fame baseball player and current coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is helping coordinate the footwear delivery.

Mota will be distributing the shoes within the El Tamarindo area of Santo Domingo. The footwear will help round out the efforts of The Manny Mota Foundation to provide food, medical, dental and vision care for people in the Dominican Republic.

Soles4Souls is also working with two other baseball stars in the region: Raul Mondesi and Orlando Cabrera, who will also receive a container worth of free footwear to distribute as needed in their home countries. Each container can hold between 15,000 and 20,000 pairs of shoes.

In all, Soles4Souls is donating nearly 60,000 pairs of shoes to help the hurting people in the region. The shoes are scheduled to arrive prior to spring training for first-hand distribution by the players. The shipments include men's, women's, and children's shoes in the form of athletic, casual, dress, sandals, flip-flops, and even baseball cleats for children that participate in the baseball clinics run by Mota and Cabrera.

The Nashville-based Soles4Souls, facilitates the donations of shoes, which will be used to aid the hurting worldwide. Shoe companies, retailers, and individuals can donate footwear (both new and used). Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS; donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit www.soles4souls.org or call (888) 840-7074.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories