Happy Birthday Pete Reiser

On March 17, 1919, St. Patrick's Day, Pete Reiser was born in St. Louis, Mo. He played for the Dodgers from 1940-48 and in 1941 he led the team to its first National League pennant since 1920.

He led the league in hitting (.353) an was second in the Most Valuable player voting. He was sixth in MVP voting in 1942 and after three years in the service, ninth in 1946.

A three-year all-star, Reiser crashed into numerous outfield walls during his career chasing, and catching, many long hits and the accumulated injuries ended his career as a starting player.

He hung on until 1952 before retiring at age 33. He later was a successful Dodgers minor league manager and died on October 25, 1981.

Leo Durocher, who managed the Dodgers when Reiser played in Brooklyn, said "Pete Reiser might have been the greatest baseball player I ever managed had he not been injured."

Bill Heinz wrote in his book "Once They Heard the Cheers," "Maybe Pete Reiser was the purest ball player of all time. There is no way of measuring that sort of thing, but when a man of incomparable skill, with full knowledge of what he is doing, destroys those skills and puts his life on the line in the pursuit of his endeavor as no man in all the game ever has, perhaps the is the truest of them all.

Other News on this special date:

On this day in 1871 the National Association of Professional Baseball Players is founded as the first step in organizing the National League in 1876. The entry fee for a franchise is $10.

In 1886 The Sporting News, once called the "Bible of Baseball" published its first issue.

In 1946 The Dodgers and Montreal stage an exhibition game at Daytona Beach, Florida, marking the first appearance of an integrated team in organized baseball in the century. A crowd of 3,100 at City Island Park, later renamed Jackie Robinson stadium in 1990, saw Robinson play shortstop for the Montreal team.

In 1965 Jackie Robinson signed with ABC as part of their Major League television crew, becoming the first black broadcaster to receive a network position.

1966 Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, who are holding out together, signed a movie contract to prove they would retire from baseball if their demands (about a three-year, $333,000 salary for each of them). They didn't get the raise they asked for but both topped $100,000.

In 1969 St. Louis trades Orlando Cepeda for Atlanta catcher/first baseman Joe Torre. Atlanta made the playoffs with Cepeda's help and Torre became the National League MVP in 1971.

In 1999 Toronto fired manager Tim Johnson, a former Dodgers minor league manager, who had recently lied that he had been under fire in the Vietnam war.

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