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Dick Whitman

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Dick Corwin Whitman

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Left-handed hitting outfielder Dick Whitman signed as an amateur free agent with the Brooklyn Dodgers shortly after graduating from the University of Oregon in 1942. The speedy outfielder played with two teams his first year out, hitting .313 in 85 games. Like so many others of the era, his baseball career was put on hold by World War II. Dick was in the infantry for three years (1943-45), seeing action in the Battle of the Bulge and being awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Dick came out of the Army and hit .260 in 104 games for the 1946 Dodgers, and then divided the next three years (1947-49) between Brooklyn and the Montreal Royals. Although he was hitting .291 in 60 games for the Dodgers in 1948, he was sent down to Montreal by General Manager Branch Rickey, who wanted to bring up Duke Snider. Whitman then hit .327 the rest of the year in helping Montreal to the International League pennant and Little World Series championship. Whitman would appear in the entire 1949 season with the Brooklyn pennant winners, appearing in 23 games in the regular season. He also did get into one World Series game with no hits in one plate appearance.

On November 14, 1949 Dick was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies and helped his new club, the "Whiz Kids," to the 1950 National League Pennant, with his timely hitting, leading the league in pinch-hits with twelve off the bench. Whitman did not see much playing time in the World Series either, getting three pinch-hit appearances with no hits.

Dick was traded back to the Dodgers early in the 1951 sason but was sent out to the St. Paul Saints of the American Association and did not return to the majors. A .259 hitter in the majors, he had spent six years in the big leagues. Whitman would play out his career in the minors, finishing out his 10 year up-and-down affair with a .321 minor league batting average. His last two years (1956-57) in baseball were spent as player-manager of the San Jose JoSox of the California League. In a last hurrah Whitman would lead the 1956 California League in hitting with a .391 average and was the winner of the league MVP Award at the age of 35.

After baseball Dick became the maintenance manager of the San Jose, CA Water company for 29 years before retiring to Peoria, AZ, were he died February 12, 2003 at the age of 83.

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Baseball Players of the 1950s

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