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Chuck Dressen

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1960 Topps #213 Chuck Dressen

Charles Walter Dressen

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[edit] Biographical Information

Chuck Dressen played both major league baseball and professional football, and also was a manager for 16 years, twice winning the National League pennant. He was also known as "Charlie Dressen".

Dressen played as a quarterback for George Halas in the American Professional Football Association, prior to its name-change to the NFL, and then played a couple more seasons in the NFL. Moving to professional baseball, he had a couple of successful years with the St. Paul Saints.

He played for the Cincinnati Reds from 1925 to 1931 and was the team's regular third baseman for four seasons. He ended his career with a 16-game stint with the 1933 New York Giants. The following year, he took over as manager of the Reds, and he led the club for part of four seasons, with a best finish of fifth in 1936. He was then a Brooklyn Dodgers coach from 1939 to 1946 and a member of the New York Yankees staff in 1947 and 1948.

Dressen took over as Dodgers skipper in 1951, finishing in a tie for first with the New York Giants that year. He was the one who chose to use Ralph Branca in relief of Carl Erskine in the third game of the 1951 playoffs, with the result being Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard 'Round the World. After leading the club to the World Series in 1952 and 1953 - but losing both times to the Yankees, he demanded a three-year contract from team principals Walter O'Malley and Buzzie Bavasi. Instead, owner O'Malley fired him and replaced him with Walter Alston, a man who would go on to manage the club for more than two decades, always on a one-year contract. Dressen has been criticized in recent years for allegedly having worn out his Dodger pitchers by World Series time, thus rendering them generally ineffective during post-season play. Later, Dressen moved on first to manage the Pacific Coast League's Oakland Oaks for one year, and then the Washington Senators for a little more than two seasons (1955-1957) before reconciling with the Dodgers, serving on Alston's coaching staff in Los Angeles in 1958 and 1959.

Dressen took over as manager of the Milwaukee Braves in 1960 and led the club to a second-place finish that year but was replaced by Birdie Tebbetts the following season. He became the Detroit Tigers skipper in 1963. He missed the beginning of the 1965 season after having a heart attack but was back in the dugout by May. On May 16, 1966, he suffered another one and was replaced by Bob Swift. Dressen died three months later at age 67 (amazingly, and quite sadly, Swift died just 2 months later).

In The Boys of Summer, he told writer Roger Kahn that he had never read a single book in his life, although he bravely selected "Dictionary Quiz" for his category when he appeared in a 1950s episode of Groucho Marx's quiz show "You Bet Your Life." He may not have been book-smart, but he was a baseball lifer with tremendous knowledge of the game, behind his gruff exterior and his liberal use of curses.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • Won a World Series with the New York Giants in 1933 (he did not play in the World Series)
  • NL Pennants: 2 (1952 & 1953)
  • 100 Wins Seasons as a Manager: 1 (1953)


Preceded by
Bob O'Farrell
Cincinnati Reds Manager
1934-1937
Succeeded by
Bobby Wallace
Preceded by
Burt Shotton
Brooklyn Dodgers Manager
1951-1953
Succeeded by
Walter Alston
Preceded by
Bucky Harris
Washington Senators Manager
1955-1957
Succeeded by
Cookie Lavagetto
Preceded by
Fred Haney
Milwaukee Braves Manager
1960-1961
Succeeded by
Birdie Tebbetts
Preceded by
Bob Scheffing
Detroit Tigers Manager
1963-1964
Succeeded by
Bob Swift
Preceded by
Bob Swift
Detroit Tigers Manager
1965-1966
Succeeded by
Bob Swift

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1932 Nashville Volunteers Southern Association 39-38 4th none replaced Joe Klugman (36-40)
1933 Nashville Volunteers Southern Association 75-69 none
1934 Nashville Volunteers Southern Association 55-31 -- New York Giants replaced by Lance Richbourg
Cincinnati Reds National League 21-39 8th Cincinnati Reds replaced Bob O'Farrell (30-60) and Burt Shotton (1-0) on July 29
1935 Cincinnati Reds National League 68-85 6th Cincinnati Reds
1936 Cincinnati Reds National League 74-80 5th Cincinnati Reds
1937 Cincinnati Reds National League 51-78 -- Cincinnati Reds replaced by Bobby Wallace on September 14
1938 Nashville Volunteers Southern Association 84-66 2nd Brooklyn Dodgers
1949 Oakland Oaks Pacific Coast League 104-83 2nd none Lost in 1st round
1950 Oakland Oaks Pacific Coast League 118-82 1st none none League Champs
1951 Brooklyn Dodgers National League 97-60 2nd Brooklyn Dodgers
1952 Brooklyn Dodgers National League 96-57 1st Brooklyn Dodgers Lost World Series
1953 Brooklyn Dodgers National League 105-49 1std Brooklyn Dodgers Lost World Series
1954 Oakland Oaks Pacific Coast League 85-82 3rd none League Champs
1955 Washington Senators American League 53-101 8th Washington Senators
1956 Washington Senators American League 59-95 7th Washington Senators
1957 Washington Senators American League 4-16 -- Washington Senators replaced by Cookie Lavagetto on May 7
1960 Milwaukee Braves National League 88-66 2nd Milwaukee Braves
1961 Milwaukee Braves National League 71-58 -- Milwaukee Braves replaced by Birdie Tebbetts on September 3
1962 Toronto Maple Leafs International League 91-62 2nd Milwaukee Braves Lost in 1st round
1963 Detroit Tigers American League 55-47 5th Detroit Tigers replaced Bob Scheffing (24-36) on June 18
1964 Detroit Tigers American League 85-77 4th Detroit Tigers
1965 Detroit Tigers American League 65-55 4th Detroit Tigers replaced Bob Swift (24-18) on May 31
1966 Detroit Tigers American League 16-10 -- Detroit Tigers replaced by Bob Swift on May 17

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