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Ben Chapman

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William Benjamin Chapman

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[edit] Biographical Information

Ben Chapman, who staged a comeback in the majors as a pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944, winning five and losing three, got in shape by officiating at basketball games. He was classified 4 F in the draft. He was in the major leagues in 1941 and then gone for the 1942 and 1943 seasons and then back in 1944 and 1945. Instead of being in the service as one might assume by looking only at his major league statistics, he was a player/manager in the minor leagues for the Richmond Colts in the Piedmont League in 1942; in 1943 he was suspended from baseball for one year for assaulting an umpire. He went home to Alabama and returned to Richmond in 1944, reinvented himself as a pitcher and was back in the major leagues in that year and in 1945.

In his earlier incarnation, as a centerfielder, Chapman was one of the best base stealers of the 1930s. Chapman's pitching appearance on May 12, 1946 for the Phillies against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field qualified him as the last player-manager in Philadelphia Phillies history.

He is infamous for being the loudest and nastiest heckler of Jackie Robinson during his rookie season in 1947. Early in the year the Dodgers went to Philadelphia, where the Tennessee-born Chapman managed the Phillies, and he led his team in some rather vicious hazing of the league's first black player. It backfired, and he was chastised by Commissioner Happy Chandler for his racist conduct. Eventually league and team officials arranged a photo-op handshake between him and Robinson. Chapman's managerial career in the major leagues ended the following season when he was fired as skipper of the Phillies. He later served on the coaching staff of the Cincinnati Reds in 1952.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 4-time AL All-Star (1933-1936)
  • AL Triples Leader (1934)
  • 4-time AL Stolen Bases Leader (1931-1933 & 1937)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1931 & 1932)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 6 (1931-1933, 1935, 1936 & 1939)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 1 (1931)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Yankees in 1932

Preceded by
Freddie Fitzsimmons
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
Succeeded by
Eddie Sawyer

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1942 Richmond Colts Piedmont League 74-60 3rd none Lost in 1st round
1944 Richmond Colts Piedmont League -- none replaced by Taylor Sanford
1945 Philadelphia Phillies National League 28-57 8th Philadelphia Phillies replaced Freddie Fitzsimmons (18-51) on June 30
1946 Philadelphia Phillies National League 69-85 5th Philadelphia Phillies
1947 Philadelphia Phillies National League 62-92 8th Philadelphia Phillies
1948 Philadelphia Phillies National League 37-42 -- Philadelphia Phillies replaced by Dusty Cooke on July 16
1949 Gadsden Chiefs Southeastern League 39-95 8th none
1950 Danville Leafs Carolina League 87-66 2nd none Lost in 1st round
1951 Tampa Smokers Florida International League 90-50 1st none Lost in 1st round
1953 Tampa Smokers Florida International League -- none -- replaced by Art Rebel on July 27

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