Wednesday, February 04, 2015

RIP Rocky Bridges

Rocky had a 3.0 WAR over 11 seasons. He passed away in Idaho on Jan. 27.

He was part of an elaborate trade in 1953 -- : Traded as part of a 4-team trade by the Brooklyn Dodgers to the Cincinnati Reds. The Milwaukee Braves sent cash to the Cincinnati Reds. The Milwaukee Braves sent Earl Torgeson to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cincinnati Reds sent Joe Adcock to the Milwaukee Braves. The Brooklyn Dodgers sent Jim Pendleton to the Milwaukee Braves. The Philadelphia Phillies sent cash to the Milwaukee Braves. The Philadelphia Phillies sent Russ Meyer to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

 Rocky was the manager of the Giants' Phoenix farm club and a coach under Jim Davenport and left behind a fine legacy. Jay Jaffe at Futility Infielder has a long post. Here's part -- 

In an 11-year major league career that included all of 562 hits, 16 home runs, 10 stolen bases and a pedestrian .247/.310/.313 batting line — yet somehow also an All-Star appearance — the limitations of Rocky Bridges’ ability were dwarfed by a persistence that allowed him to spend nearly half a century in the game. Armed with a self-deprecating wit, he was a natural in conveying to impressionable young men  the message that talent and skill alone aren’t sufficient to thrive, that the need to enjoy the game, to remember that it’s supposed to be fun, is necessary to cope with its ups and downs.
As the manager of the Pacific Coast League’s Phoenix Giants from 1974 through 1982, Bridges brought his team through my hometown of Salt Lake City (host of the Angels and later Mariner affiliates during that timespan) with regularity, and quips from the eminently quotable skipper often found their way into The Salt Lake Tribune. The passage from the Boyd/Harris book, which I stumbled across when I was 13 or 14, sketched out his back story as a fringe major leaguer, and in the late 1990s, my pal Nick Stone unearthing a used copy of the Jim Bouton-edited I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad, an anthology whose title and first chapter came from a 1964 Sports Illustrated profile of Bridges just as he was winding up the first of his 21 seasons piloting a minor league club. Writer Gilbert Rogin called Bridges “one of the best stand-up comics in the history of baseball,” and several generations of scribes who had the fortune to cover him over the years would probably agree. Rogin’s 3,500-word piece — and just about everything else written about him over the past sixty-some years — is stuffed with punchline after punchline from the former Punch-and-Judy hitter.


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