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Bobby Bragan

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Robert Randall Bragan
born Robert Randall Downs
(Nig)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Shortstop/catcher Bobby Bragan played a handful of seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s. When he was with the Dodgers, the southerner Bragan was part of a group of players who refused to play with Jackie Robinson. When asked if he would rather play for Brooklyn or be traded, Bragan asked to be traded. He remained with the Dodgers, though, and became friends with Robinson after getting to know him and witnessing the hatred and racism he faced.

Bragan was the only American to manage a Cuban Winter League team to the title, taking the Almendares Scorpions to the pennant in 1953-54.

Bragan began the 1948 season as a player for the Brooklyn Dodgers and ended it as the manager of the Dodgers' minor league squad, the Fort Worth Cats, where his team won the Texas League championship. Bragan remained with the Cats for five seasons, became very popular in Fort Worth and (aside from his managerial stints) it became his lifetime home.

After his playing career, Bragan went on to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956 and 1957 and the Cleveland Indians for part of 1958. In 1960, he was a Los Angeles Dodgers coach, and he was a member of the expansion Houston Colt .45s staff in 1962. He took over as skipper of the Milwaukee Braves the following year and remained with the club until the middle of the 1966 season, their first year as the Atlanta Braves. Hank Aaron has credited Bragan with encouraging him to steal bases, something that gave Aaron wider recognition as a five-tool player.

As a manager in the minor leagues, Bragan converted Maury Wills into a switch-hitter to utilize his speed better.

On August 16, 2005, the 87-year-old Bragan managed the minor league Fort Worth Cats of the independent Central League for a game. Bragan was influential in the creation of the "new" Fort Worth Cats club in 2000 (Bragan had managed the "original" cats in the 1950s). Eight days older than Connie Mack was when he managed his final game, Bragan became the oldest manager in a professional baseball game.

His younger brother, Jim Bragan, was a major League coach for a number of teams in the 1960s and 1970s. Another younger brother, Peter Bragan Sr. was owner and Chairman of the Board of the AA Jacksonville Suns prior to his death. Another brother, Frank Bragan, was an infielder in the Chicago White Sox chain. A nephew, Peter Bragan, Jr is President of the Jacksonville Suns.


Preceded by
Fred Haney
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
1956-1957
Succeeded by
Danny Murtaugh
Preceded by
Kerby Farrell
Cleveland Indians Manager
1958
Succeeded by
Joe Gordon
Preceded by
Birdie Tebbetts
Milwaukee-Atlanta Braves Manager
1963-1966
Succeeded by
Billy Hitchcock

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1948 Fort Worth Cats Texas League 1st Brooklyn Dodgers League Champs replaced George Dockins on July 7
1949 Fort Worth Cats Texas League 100-54 1st Brooklyn Dodgers Lost League Finals
1950 Fort Worth Cats Texas League 88-64 2nd Brooklyn Dodgers Lost in 1st round
1951 Fort Worth Cats Texas League 84-77 4th (t) Brooklyn Dodgers
1952 Fort Worth Cats Texas League 86-75 2nd Brooklyn Dodgers Lost in 1st round
1953 Hollywood Stars Pacific Coast League 106-74 1st none none League Champs
1954 Hollywood Stars Pacific Coast League 101-68 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates Lost in 1st round
1955 Hollywood Stars Pacific Coast League 91-81 3rd (t) Pittsburgh Pirates none
1956 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 66-88 7th Pittsburgh Pirates
1957 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 36-67 -- Pittsburgh Pirates replaced by Danny Murtaugh on August 4
1958 Cleveland Indians American League 31-36 -- Cleveland Indians replaced by Joe Gordon on June 27
Spokane Indians Pacific Coast League 7th Los Angeles Dodgers replaced Goldie Holt on July 1
1959 Spokane Indians Pacific Coast League 77-77 5th Los Angeles Dodgers
1963 Milwaukee Braves National League 84-78 6th Milwaukee Braves
1964 Milwaukee Braves National League 88-74 5th Milwaukee Braves
1965 Milwaukee Braves National League 86-76 5th Milwaukee Braves
1966 Atlanta Braves National League 52-59 -- Atlanta Braves replaced by Billy Hitchcock on August 9

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