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Monday, January 18, 2016

Yankees without Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra would have significantly changed the balance of power and baseball history.

General manager Branch Rickey could have kept both from the Yankees by spending just a little bit more money.  Just a little.

Mickey Mantle: what if he'd played for the Dodgers? They might still be in Brooklyn. Monday, August 17, 2015

This is not as much of a Twilight Zone deal as you might think.

Tom Greewade scouted for the Brooklyn Dodger from 1940 through 1945, becoming the Dodgers top scout...

"... Branch Rickey ... moving over from the St. Louis Cardinals (to the) Brooklyn Dodgers ... in early 1943 ...

Greenwade beat the bushes for the Dodgers until December 1945, when he signed on with the New York Yankees. He conferred with Rickey before making the move and Rickey chose not to hold him back, knowing the Yankees would make him the highest-paid scout in baseball, which they did. His annual salary leaped from $3,600 to over $11,000 (including an annual bonus)..."

OK, that establishes Tom Greenwade's credentials as a Dodger scout, which probably comes as surprise to most Yankee fans...

"Each scout is typically associated with his top signee, that marquee player no one else took note of but him. For Tom Greenwade that player was Mickey Mantle." ...

The Yankee dynasty would have taken a very wrong turn and might have relinquished its dominance to the Brooklyn Dodgers ...


Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola ... tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals ... Garagiola did well and was offered a contract with a $500 bonus with the order to keep quiet about it until he turned sixteen (the boys were fifteen at the time).

Despite not having a particularly good tryout, Berra was offered a contract but no bonus. Berra knew he could not go home without the same bonus as Garagiola, so he refused the offer. Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey offered a $250 bonus and again Berra refused. Yogi later had a tryout with the St. Louis Browns and once more was offered a contract without a bonus; once more he turned it down...

... all Yogi wanted was a $500 bonus and whatever he made a month was fine. Berra signed with the Yankees in October 1942 for the $500 bonus he so adamantly desired, plus a monthly salary of $90. Rickey, now with the Dodgers, sent Berra a telegram offering him a chance to sign with Brooklyn but Yogi never responded because he was the property of the Yankees. 


​Another close call.  Had Rickey kept his head scout he could have had Mantle.  Having both Mantle and Berra on the Dodgers would have significantly changed the balance of power and baseball history.​  Even if Rickey had signed Berra for the Cardinals that would have kept Berra off the Yankees.

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