Dixie Walker

A Life in Baseball


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SKU: 9780786446339 Categories: , ,

About the Book

Over the course of fifty years in the mid-twentieth century, Fred “Dixie” Walker lived several baseball lives. Dubbed the successor to Babe Ruth after his impressive major league debut in 1931, Walker went from sure-fire prospect to injury-plagued underachiever, to Brooklyn hero, to persona non grata because of his complicated relationship with Jackie Robinson, and finally to redeemed, well-respected minor league manager and major league batting coach. The only player to have been a teammate of both Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, Walker is remembered too often for the charge that he tried to keep Robinson from joining the Dodgers. This illuminating biography covers Walker’s rollercoaster career, revealing him to be a gentle man, a fiery competitor, and one of the most colorful characters of baseball’s most memorable era.

About the Author(s)

Lyle Spatz served as chairman of SABR’s Baseball Records Committee from 1991 to 2016. He is the recipient of SABR’s Bob Davids and Henry Chadwick, and Seymour Medal awards, and among the books he has written or edited are biographies of Bill Dahlen, Willie Keeler, Dixie Walker and Hugh Casey.

Bibliographic Details

Lyle Spatz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 273
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4633-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8562-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Preface      1

1. Born to Play Baseball      7
2. A Minor League Sensation      13
3. The Guy to Take Babe Ruth’s Place      20
4. The Lost Years      30
5. Radical Surgery and a Career Revived      38
6. The Most Unpopular Man in Detroit      47

7. “All I knew about Brooklyn was that it was some strange outer world”      57
8. The People’s Choice      67
9. An Almost Perfect Team      79
10. A Pennant and a World Series      90
11. The 1942 Dodgers Look to Repeat      99
12. “Men, you are going to lose this pennant”      106
13. The War Begins to Affect Baseball      114
14. The 1944 National League Batting Champion      123
15. “The most beloved baseball player of recent years”      134
16. The War Ends and the Battle with the Cardinals Resumes      144
17. Playoffs, Pensions, and a Promotion      156
18. “It was the dumbest thing I did in all my life”      166
19. Jackie Robinson Joins the Dodgers      177
20. Dixie and Jackie Bring a Pennant to Brooklyn      186

21. “The place doesn’t look the same since you’ve gone, Dixie”      199
22. Managing in the Minor Leagues      208
23. Ending His Career in Dodger Blue      219
24. Was Dixie Walker a Racist?      227

Chapter Notes      233
Bibliography      249
Index      255

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Ron Gabriel Award—Society for American Baseball Research