Saturday, March 8, 2014

Al Dark (#389)

Last week, I was browsing the site, and came across a list of the 100 oldest living ex-players. (The oldest name I recognized was Alex Monchak (age 97), who was a major-league coach for manager Chuck Tanner's teams in the 1970s and '80s.)

Also on the list are Al Dark, Sam Mele, and Red Schoendienst. Although they are #39, #41, and #53 on the list, they are the only three who had cards in the 1967 Topps set. Dark and Mele are both 92, while Schoendienst is 91. As such, I have moved Al and Red to the top of the to-be-blogged schedule.

This card shows Al wearing the white cap that was worn by the Athletics’ coaching staff, while the players wore green caps. Dark's nickname was "Blackie".  Give him an unfiltered cigarette, and it looks like Blackie would fit right in on an old Western movie, chasing down Clint Eastwood.

Alvin Dark was a shortstop (and later 3rd baseman) for several teams including the Boston Braves (1946, 48-49), New York Giants (1950-56), Cardinals (1956-58), and Cubs (1958-59), before wrapping up his playing career in 1960 as a sub for the Phillies and Milwaukee Braves.

Dark played in the minors only during the 1947 season, then was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1948, and led the league with 41 doubles in 1951. He was his team’s starting shortstop from 1948-57, and 3rd baseman from 1958-59).

Dark began his major-league managing career immediately after retiring as a player. He managed the Giants for 4 seasons (1961-64), including a trip to the 1962 World Series.

Al managed the Athletics during their final 2 seasons in Kansas City (1966-67), then moved on to the Indians (1968-71). He returned to the Athletics for the 1974-75 seasons, winning the World Series in 1974.

Dark wrapped up his managing career in 1977 with the Padres.


Jeff said...

I never realized the coaches wore different hats from the players...

Douglas said...

I thought Red Schoendienst looked 91 in his 1969 card.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Ha ha! That's a fact, Douglas. And Smoky Burgess looked 70 on his '67 card.