Burt Shotton was a fleet-footed outfielder who twice received votes in MVP balloting. After debuting in the big leagues in 1909, he was there to stay in 1911, averaging 32 stolen bases per season for the next nine years. For the five-year period between 1912-1916 Shotton averaged 95 walks per season while posting an on-base percentage of .388.
Branch Rickey was Shotton’s manager for 8 years, three with the St. Louis Browns, and another five with the Cardinals. A devout Christian, Rickey observed sabbath and refused to manage the team on Sundays. It was Shotton who became the Cardinals “Sunday skipper” from 1919 through 1923. The two men formed a longstanding friendship.
After retiring as a player in 1923, Shotton stayed in uniform coaching and managing for more than twenty years. Finally in 1946, Shotton hung up his spikes to scout for Rickey’s Dodgers.
When Commissioner Happy Chandler suspended Brooklyn skipper Leo Durocher just before that start of the 1947 season, Rickey called Shotton and begged him to take the reigns.
Dodger coach Clyde Sukeforth served as interim manager for the first two games, including Jackie Robinson’s debut that broke baseball’s color barrier. Shotton was the skipper the rest of the season and guided them to the National League pennant.
Much like Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack, Shotton performed his role in street clothes, though often with a Dodger hat and jacket. Both Mack and Shotton managed through the 1950 season.
The Athletics and the Dodgers each had their final games that year at home on the afternoon of October 1. The game in Philadelphia finished a half-hour before the Brooklyn contest, making Shotton the last man in big league history to manage his team in street clothes.
Once the season was over Walter O’Malley gained a majority of shares in the team and replaced Rickey as team president. O’Malley let Rickey’s man Shotton go and replaced him with Charlie Dressen. Shotton’s time in the majors was over.
In the collection is this postcard signed by Burt Shotton in 1948. For more about the postcard scroll to the next image.
Who’s the other players beside Jackie Robinson with Manager Burt Shotton!
Tough call on some of those players. I’d bet if you posted it on a forum or on a Facebook baseball page, someone would let us both know. That era, especially when it concerns the Dodgers, is so very popular!