Even Leo Durocher's disappointments
took on legend: He was the leader of
the Cubs when they collapsed under
the Mets in the 1969 NL Pennant Race.
Even Durocher’s disappointments took on legend. He was skipper of the Brooklyn Dodgers when a third strike got away from Mickey Owen in the 1941 World Series, and he was leader of the Cubs when they collapsed and were overtaken by the Mets in the 1969 National League pennant race.
Never one to do anything halfway, Durocher married actress Laraine Day, was suspended by commissioner Happy Chandler, staged fierce arguments with umpires, and is considered the source of the proclamation, “nice guys finish last,” although those may not have been his exact words. Not surprisingly, even his bitterness reached epic size. He was unhappy at not being named to the Hall of Fame while he could still smell the roses, and he said so. Leo was elected by the Veterans Committee in 1994, two years after his death.
Leo Ernest Durocher (1905-1991) came from
During his tenure as Dodger manager, Durocher engaged in a titanic battle of personalities with owner Larry MacPhail. He was fired numerous times by the volcanic executive, only to have the incident forgotten the next day. Once, after clinching the 1941 pennant in
In 1947, Durocher was suspended for one year by Chandler for conduct detrimental to baseball. It was this ban that may have delayed his entry into the Hall of Fame. Upon being fired for good by the Dodgers in 1948, Durocher simply migrated to the archrival Giants, a move that in New York baseball circles would be roughly comparable to the President of the United States defecting to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.
Two of his best moments came with the Giants. One was on
Here are Leo Durocher's major league managing totals:
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