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Friday, April 15, 2016

Dan Bankhead, second black Brooklyn Dodger, homered in first at bat.

Dan Bankhead, a black man, joined Jackie Robinson on the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. After four months as the only black player on the Dodgers, Robinson finally had a teammate who could share the experience. By the time that Bankhead had arrived, Robinson had established himself as a very important player on that pennant winning team.
Photo of Dan Bankhead
Dan Bankhead was a 27 year old pitcher who made his debut on Aug. 26, 1947. Bankhead pitched in only four games, 10 innings. But in his first big league game:

Tuesday, August 26, 1947, , Ebbets Field
Attendance: 24,069, Time of Game: 2:39
Pirates 16, Dodgers 3

Hal Gregg, L (3-5)15661016.981018-0.3390.83-4.5
Dan Bankhead3.1108812121.602222-0.0980.19-5.8
Rex Barney4.25223114.822222-0.0010.00-0.9
Team Totals920161653316.00541844-0.4380.23-11.2
OK, Bankhead didn't pitch well and the game was a blowout. But Bankhead batted three times and in his first big league plate appearance:

Bottom of the 2nd, Dodgers Batting, Behind 0-8, Pirates' Fritz Ostermueller facing 6-7-8

D. Bankhead against F. Ostermueller Home Run; Rojek Scores

Two run homer! Bankhead walked in his two other plate appearances in that game, all against Ostermueller, who went all the way.

Bankhead made one brief appearance in the 1947 World Series that season against the Yankees who won the Series 4-3. In game six:

Sunday, October 5, 1947, Yankee Stadium I
Attendance: 74,065, Time of Game: 3:19
Dodgers 8, Yankees 6

Top of the 6th, Dodgers Batting, Behind 4-5, Yankees' Joe Page facing 6-7-8

Dan Bankhead pinch runs for Bobby Bragan (PH) batting 9th

Bottom of the 6th, Yankees Batting, Behind 5-8, Dodgers' Joe Hatten facing 9-1-2

Joe Hatten replaces Dan Bankhead (PR) pitching and batting 9th


Bobby Bragan had pinch hit for 21 game winning pitcher Ralph Branca, who was pitching in relief; Bragan's double put Brooklyn ahead to stay. It wasn't much for Bankhead. He didn't pitch or bat. But at least he played in a World Series game.

Dan Bankhead remained in the Brooklyn organization through 1952, pitching for the Dodgers again in 1950 (129 innings, 9-4, 5.50 ERA) and 1951 (14 forgettable innings). In 1948 Bankhead was 24-6, mostly in B ball, and in 1949 20-6 with AAA Montreal, Robinson's old team. Bankhead kicked around the Mexican league in the 1960s, pitching his final six games in 1966 at age 46.

Dan Bankhead, second black Brooklyn Dodger.

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