Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Cubs 365, June 6
In his playing days, they called him "The Brat" because he was a professional irritant. Leo Durocher pegged him with his nickname when he said: "Look at Mel Ott over there [in the Giant's dugout]. He's a nice guy, and he finishes second. Now look at The Brat (Stanky). He can't hit, can't run, can't field. He's no nice guy, but all the little SOB can do is win."
Branch Rickey described Stanky the same way: "He can't hit, he can't run, he can't field, he can't throw, he can't do a goddamn thing…but beat you."
The ultimate rub-some-dirt-in-it gritty second baseman started out as a Cub (1943), but was traded to the Dodgers half way through his second season for a journeyman pitcher named Bob Chipman. The Cubs thought they had a better second baseman to replace him: Don Johnson. Johnson did start at 2B for the last Cubs World Series team in 1945, but Stanky went on to play in three World Series, was named to three All-Star teams, led the league in on-base percentage twice, and most famously started the ninth-inning rally that culminated in Bobby Thomson's pennant-winning home run.
After his playing career was over he managed the White Sox (in '66 and '67—while his mentor Durocher was managing the Cubs across town), and in 1977, the Texas Rangers. He quit the Rangers after one day because he couldn't stand the modern ballplayers.