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  • Dan Bankhead

    I was listening to an audio tape of an early 1950 game between the Dodgers and Giants. Dan Bankhead started for the Dodgers that day. Red Barber mentioned that Bankhead was the first black pitcher in major league history when he pitched in 1947. That is something I didn't realize. According to baseball-reference.com Bankhead was purchased by the Dodgers, from Memphis of the Negro American League on August 24,1947,and pitched in relief four times with one save.He didn't get back to the majors until 1950, when he had a decent season with the Dodgers. He went 9-4 with 3 saves in 41 games. In 1951 he appeared in just seven games, went 0-1 and never appeared in the major leagues again. He was also a decent hitter in 1950, batting 231,39 at bats and 9 hits. Does anyone remember him, or why he had such a short major league career?
    Lets get Eddie Basinski elected to the Polish Sports Hall of Fame.
    www.brooklyndodgermemories.com

  • #2
    Tony, even though this was well before my time, the thing that jumped to mind immediately from my reading was that Bankhead was a very strong hitter. Too bad he died so young, aged just 54 in 1976.

    Here is your answer, from the very interesting book "Crossing the Line: Black Major Leaguers, 1947-1959":

    "In July [1950] Bankhead developed a stiff shoulder, and an exam revealed that a dislocation when he was 17 had calcified. The shoulder injury was one explanation for Bankhead's quick fall from a starting spot [#3 in the rotation behind Newcombe and Roe] to the minor leagues. Others speculated that Bankhead was too timid to make it in the majors, an explanation Rickey himself had fueled. Bankhead had his own explanation -- financial pressure brought on by an inability to find an apartment in Brooklyn that would accept children. He and his family stayed at an expensive hotel suite, which ate up most of his salary. 'Nobody with an apartment would let me bring in my kids,' he said. 'Nobody wanted them. But I did.'

    After a dismal start in 1951, Bankhead was shipped to Montreal where he pitched until being sold by the Royals to the Escogido Lions of the Dominican Republic League in the summer of 1952. [Note: for a few years there, they played summer ball, not winter, in the DR.] In August, Bankhead was player-manager for the Lions when he was at the center of a nasty incident. He slid in hard on Estrellas Elephants catcher Luis Rosario, and on his way back to the dugout, Rosario fired a ball at Bankhead and missed. Bankhead whirled, spotted Rosario's mask, picked it up, and hit him on the head with it, opening a gash that needed three stitches and sparking a melee on the field. When the dust settled, Bankhead was out cold and on his way to jail. A few weeks later he was fired."
    Last edited by VIBaseball; 10-19-2005, 07:31 PM.

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    • #3
      Thanks VI, that answers some questions for me.I also noticed that his bases on balls total was quite high, which may be another reason.
      Lets get Eddie Basinski elected to the Polish Sports Hall of Fame.
      www.brooklyndodgermemories.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tonypug
        I was listening to an audio tape of an early 1950 game between the Dodgers and Giants. Dan Bankhead started for the Dodgers that day. Red Barber mentioned that Bankhead was the first black pitcher in major league history when he pitched in 1947. That is something I didn't realize. According to baseball-reference.com Bankhead was purchased by the Dodgers, from Memphis of the Negro American League on August 24,1947,and pitched in relief four times with one save.He didn't get back to the majors until 1950, when he had a decent season with the Dodgers. He went 9-4 with 3 saves in 41 games. In 1951 he appeared in just seven games, went 0-1 and never appeared in the major leagues again. He was also a decent hitter in 1950, batting 231,39 at bats and 9 hits. Does anyone remember him, or why he had such a short major league career?
        You love listening to games from when Walter O Malley owned the Dodgers right? Thats because he is a baseball god.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shayes Rebellion
          You love listening to games from when Walter O Malley owned the Dodgers right? Thats because he is a baseball god.
          Mr. SR, you have so much brilliance to contribute to this forum. Keep up the great work, and please remember to share the fruits of your research with us always.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Shayes Rebellion
            You love listening to games from when Walter O Malley owned the Dodgers right? Thats because he is a baseball god.
            YOU are completely off topic here, since your response has NOTHING to do with the discussion on DAN BANKHEAD.

            As I stated on the thread you started here on OUR Forum, if all you are looking to do is cause trouble, it would be very wise for you to move it elsewhere.

            c.

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            • #7
              Remember the kid in grade school who acted up to get attention?
              I think we have him in our midst.h

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              • #8
                Back on topic: Dan Bankhead in Mexico

                I remembered we had a thread on Dan Bankhead, though not that it had gone astray.

                Anyway, I was checking facts tonight for something else I was researching, with the help of the Professional Baseball Players Database CD.

                I was astonished to discover that Dan soldiered on in Mexico until the age of 46! Check out the batting stats too -- he was always a strong hitter.

                This is a part of the old Dodger's life worth investigating more.
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  I believe Bankhead joined a, relatively, long list of hitters, but a very short list of pitchers who hit a home run in their first major league at bat.
                  After 1957, it seemed like we would never laugh again. Of course, we did. Its just that we were never young again.

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                  • #10
                    Though I was not even 8 when he pitched for the Dodgers, I remember Dan, and liking him.

                    Glad he got to stay on in baseball in some capacity, but I wish it could have been for Brooklyn.

                    Died way too young.

                    R.I.P., Dan

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                    • #11
                      Dan was an ex-Marine.

                      http://www.nlbpa.com/bankhead__dan.html

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                      • #12
                        http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg...&GRid=12200025

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                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=musial6]Dan was an ex-Marine/QUOTE]

                          With all due respect, there's no such thing.
                          After 1957, it seemed like we would never laugh again. Of course, we did. Its just that we were never young again.

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                          • #14
                            http://www.coe.ksu.edu/nlbemuseum/hi...bankheadd.html

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                            • #15
                              http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...0/ai_n16768277

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