Rocky Bridges

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Rocky Bridges
Rocky Bridges 1953.jpeg
Infielder
Born: (1928-08-07)August 7, 1928
Refugio, Texas
Died: January 27, 2015(2015-01-27) (aged 87)
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1951 for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1961 for the Los Angeles Angels
Career statistics
Batting average .247
Hits 562
Runs batted in 187
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Everett Lamar "Rocky" Bridges (August 7, 1927 – January 27, 2015) was a middle infielder and third baseman with an 11-year career in American Major League Baseball from 1951 to 1961. Bridges played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals of the National League, and the Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels of the American League. He also appeared occasionally in the outfield.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Bridges was a journeyman ball player who made his big league debut in 1951 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. As a utility infielder, he backed up two future Hall of Famers, Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson and as a result, saw little playing time.[1] Subsequently, he was traded to Cincinnati Reds and then eventually to the last place Washington Senators where he obtained a starting position as a shortstop. In 1958, his first full season with the Senators, he was selected by New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel to the 1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, one of the few highlights of his career.[1] Bridges career continued until 1961, playing for several American League teams. His final career batting average was .247 with 16 home runs.[1] Despite his unimpressive career statistics, Bridges became a well known and respected ball player because of his hard work, hustle, spirit, and sense of humor. In 1964, Sports Illustrated described him as "...one of the best stand up comics in the history of baseball." [1] Among his most famous quotes:

"It took me that long to learn how to spell it." -- after being traded from the Cincinnati Reds, where he played for four years. [1]

"That surprised everybody. They were close to launching an investigation." -- after being selected to the 1958 All-Star Team. [1]

"I'm in the twilight of a mediocre career ....I've had more numbers on my back than a bingo board." --- after being traded to the Detroit Tigers. [1]

Coaching career[edit]

Following his active playing career, he served two terms (1962–63; 1968–71) as the third base coach of the Angels and one year (1985) in that role with the San Francisco Giants. Bridges also had a long career as a minor league manager in the Angels, Giants, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations. Over 21 seasons stretched between 1964 and 1989, Bridges' teams won 1,300 games and lost 1,358 (.489). His minor league managerial career is profiled in Jim Bouton's collection of baseball articles and essays entitled I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad.[2] Bridges also managed the Leones de Ponce to the pennant title of the Puerto Rico Baseball League in the 1968–69 season.[3]

Legacy[edit]

The title of Bouton's book was reportedly based on a quote from Bridges.[2] The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book", said "Rocky Bridges looked like a ballplayer. In fact, he may have looked more like a ballplayer than any other ballplayer who ever lived."[4]

"Rocky Bridges undoubtedly has been one of the most popular men ever to wear the Washington uniform. He's an example of what 'hustle', 'desire', and 'spirit' will do." -- Washington Post sports columnist Bob Addie, 1958 [1]

Bridges died of natural causes January 27, 2015, aged 87, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Schudel, Matt (February 8, 2015) "A career bench warmer with a flair for repartee" The Washington Post, page C8 [1]
  2. ^ a b Bouton, Jim and Offen, Neil. (1973) I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad. New York; Dell Publishing, pages 2-16
  3. ^ Leones de Ponce Campeón de la PRBL – Campeonatos de Ponce (Spanish)
  4. ^ Boyd, Brendan C. and Harris, Fred C. (1973) The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book, Boston: Little Brown and Company
  5. ^ Lee, Greg (January 29, 2015). "Former Dodger, Rocky Bridges, dies in Coeur d'Alene". spokesman.com. Spokane, WA: The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]