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Thread: Why did the Nats fire Bucky Harris and hire Chuck Dressen?

  1. #1
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    Why did the Nats fire Bucky Harris and hire Chuck Dressen?

    Why did the Nats fire Bucky Harris and hire Chuck Dressen?

    It seems, looking back, that Calvin Griffith began dumping salary as soon as he took day-to-day control of the team. Trading Vernon, Runnels, Yost, and each time getting a couple of dismal players. I'd guess that he began to build a farm system, leading to Bob Allison, Zorro Versalles, and other players who became core of the Twins in the early '60s.

    Why did they hire Dressen?

    Dressen must have been an expensive manager, having come from the Dodgers. Why spend the money on him?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by welch View Post
    Why did the Nats fire Bucky Harris and hire Chuck Dressen?

    It seems, looking back, that Calvin Griffith began dumping salary as soon as he took day-to-day control of the team. Trading Vernon, Runnels, Yost, and each time getting a couple of dismal players. I'd guess that he began to build a farm system, leading to Bob Allison, Zorro Versalles, and other players who became core of the Twins in the early '60s.

    Why did they hire Dressen?

    Dressen must have been an expensive manager, having come from the Dodgers. Why spend the money on him?
    I don't think that Dressen would have been that expensive because he would have been coming from Oakland in the PCL.

  3. #3
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    Imho. Griffith probably thought in firing Harris, and hiring Dressen, he could win the pennant with the talent he had. Dressen just came from two pennants with the Dodgers. Griffith wanted to save what money he had by trading. Now, why was dressen fired? wanted too much money? Just like what happened in Brooklyn?

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    I know that Washington fans were fed up with Dressen...I was little, but I remember my dad repeating a Dressen quote from the '51 season: "The Gints is dead". Dressen brought no magic, and Cookie Lavagetto did just as well with less hoop-de-doo.

    On the other side, people loved Bucky Harris.

    It's curious to think of Bucky Harris in 1953 or '54 as being old, even though he managed the 1924 team. Bucky was in his 50's; Davey Johnson is about 69.

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    Quote Originally Posted by welch View Post
    I know that Washington fans were fed up with Dressen...I was little, but I remember my dad repeating a Dressen quote from the '51 season: "The Gints is dead". Dressen brought no magic, and Cookie Lavagetto did just as well with less hoop-de-doo.

    On the other side, people loved Bucky Harris.

    It's curious to think of Bucky Harris in 1953 or '54 as being old, even though he managed the 1924 team. Bucky was in his 50's; Davey Johnson is about 69.
    I know what you mean he did seem like he was really old but he actually was a pretty young manager still. He was always one of my favorite managers.
    "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

    "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

  6. #6
    I don't mean to defend Calvin, and Harris was certainly a well liked guy, and I'm not a big Chuck Dressen fan, but the Nats were .429 (66/88) in 1954, whereas Dressen's Dodgers went 105-49 in '53. So, with Dressen available, it was pretty reasonable for Calvin to give him a shot.

  7. #7
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    We said that Calvin G expected that somehow Dressen's magic could turn various Nats into Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Gil Hodges, Duke Snyder...the '54 Nats did not have the players that Brooklyn had. I'd have to look it up, but I think the team went down with Dressen. Yes, 1955 was awful: 53 - 101.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by welch View Post
    We said that Calvin G expected that somehow Dressen's magic could turn various Nats into Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Gil Hodges, Duke Snyder...the '54 Nats did not have the players that Brooklyn had. I'd have to look it up, but I think the team went down with Dressen. Yes, 1955 was awful: 53 - 101.
    Oh, sure. But that's how baseball works. It's cheaper to hire a new manager & cross your fingers than it is to hire 25 new players.

  9. #9
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    I think that's the answer...although the Calvin solution lasts only for a month or maybe a few weeks. I just remember the losses, year after year, until the 1960 Senators played good baseball and stuck in the first division until Pascual's shoulder injury got so bad they had to sit him for the last four weeks or so. Fans went wild, and looked forward to the '61 season and the big new stadium being built.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by EdTarbusz View Post
    I don't think that Dressen would have been that expensive because he would have been coming from Oakland in the PCL.
    Actually, I believe they wound up paying him $10-15k more per year than Harris' $30K salary.

  11. #11
    Was Calvin in charge of making the decision to fire Harris at that point or was that still Clark's call to make?

  12. #12
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    My hunch is that Calvin was taking more and more control of the team. It would make sense that Calvin dropped Bucky Harris, and spent an extra $10 or $15K on Dressen...just for the splash.

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