The Legend

The Legend

Monday, February 8, 2016

Clyde Sukeforth is a Man of History

I couldn't sleep last night after the Super Bowl so I started fooling around with some cards. I've mentioned before that I tend to get sidetracked looking at vintage players as I get caught up in Baseball Reference and SABR pages. Such was the case with Clyde Sukeforth.

1952 Bowman Clyde Sukeforth

Clyde's playing career was unremarkable, but boy oh boy did he have his hand in some famous baseball moments after his playing days were over.  Working for the Dodgers Sukeforth scouted Jackie Robinson and was the one who brought him to New York to meet Branch Rickey.  He and Rickey were the only ones in the room when Robinson agreed to sign with the Dodgers.

Sukeforth was so vital that his character was portrayed in the movie 42. In the movie he meets Jackie at a rural gas station to try and convince him to come back to New York. In actuality this meeting occurred at Comiskey Park, but either way it shows that Sukeforth was a key player. I actually rewatched that movie recently, but still my brain didn't put it all together until last night. 

The next major event Clyde had his hand in was the "shot heard round the world." Sukeforth was the bullpen coach for Brooklyn at the time and told manager Charlie Dressen that Ralph Branca was throwing better than Carl Erksine. Ouch......

A year later Sukeforth was fired by Brooklyn and took a job with the Pirates to work for Branch Rickey again. In the 1954 Rule 5 Draft Sukeforth was instrumental in the Pirates taking a young Roberto Clemente.  

You really should check out his SABR page. It is amazing to have your hand in so much history. I was really tired this morning after reading a ton of stuff about Sukeforth, but I'm glad I did. 

The card featured was purchased for a shade over $3 and features Clyde as a coach for the Pirates. 

Thanks for reading!  

16 comments:

  1. I was familiar with his association with Jackie Robinson from Ken Burns' Baseball (I think). But I hadn't heard the other two bits of history mentioned. He was definitely around for some pretty interesting/historical stuff. It seems like you got the card for a pretty good price as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie Robinson and Clemente blew my mind.

      Delete
  2. Wow, he's definitely left his mark on history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That he did. So much so he got credited in a movie!

      Delete
  3. I knew none of this. Thanks for enlightening me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was in the dark too. The SABR pages for these old guys are full of interesting stuff.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the stories. I'll have to see if I can work this guy into my "six degrees" post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah! That Jackie Robinson tie in should make it easy.

      Delete
  5. I'm not sure I knew any of this. Good read. Love the '52 Bowmans.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sukeforth was also Jackie Robinson's first manager because the Dodgers couldn't find a skipper to replace the suspended Leo Durocher in time for the start of the '47 season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He also turned down a couple of full time jobs over the years.

      Delete
  7. Great post! Love finding out new stuff like this. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a stack of vintage that I'm going to be posting about. Hopefully more stories like this pops up.

      Delete
  8. Great post. My favorite blog posts are the ones that connect sports cards to history. Before today... I had never even heard of Mr. Sukeforth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had so much fun reading about this one. It was new to me as well.

      Delete