A Story About Dave and Jack

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Last Friday, Nationals radio broadcasters Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler attended an event at the Library of Congress which featured a great number of baseball artifacts on display. Many of the items were donated by Bob Wolff, the legendary Washington broadcaster who was part of the class inducted into the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame prior to Sunday’s game on the field at Nationals Park.

“There were a lot of articles related to Jackie Robinson, including a handwritten letter from Robinson to Branch Rickey,” explained Jageler of the collection.

Among the pieces of history was a single, typewritten sheet written by one legendary baseball man about another one who, unbeknownst to either at the time, would ascend to legendary status himself.

The page was a scouting report written by a then-adviser for the St. Louis Cardinals about a young, Minor League second baseman. It read as follows:

 

September 14 & 15, 1964

Rochester, N.Y.

Rochester vs. Jacksonville

JOHNSON, DAVE            (Rochester Infielder)

            Tall, slim right hander now playing second base.            21 years old.            First year player.            Good looking fielder.            Good batting form.            A major league possibility.             Try to include him in any possible deal with Baltimore.

BRANCH RICKEY

Yes, that’s the same Branch Rickey, the one depicted by Harrison Ford in the recently released “42” about the life of Jackie Robinson, sharing his thoughts on the Nationals very own Davey Johnson.

Johnson, at age 21 in his first professional season, swatted 19 home runs while compiling a .264/.345/.458 line that season, also helping turn 62 double plays as a second baseman. Three years later, he would begin the 13-year Major League career that included four All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves and a pair of World Championships.

“I knew Davey would be very flattered to know that Branch Rickey thought he was a tradable commodity,” said Jageler, who shared the story with Washington’s manager last weekend.

Needless to say, Rickey had a good eye for young talent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 565 other followers

%d bloggers like this: