The Cronin Papers (Part IV) -
Red Barber Letter, Hodges Offer, Eckert List,
McHale Approval, Topping Selects Houk
The Cronin Papers are a collection of personal documents of Joe Cronin's graciously donated by his grandson, Chris Hayward. Clicking on any of the thumbnail images within any of the series will display a high resolution version.
Past installments have been:
Today, we're in 1965 and 1966 with a series of mostly miscellaneous documents out of the collection.
We start with a hand written letter from legendary broadcaster, Red Barber to Cronin thanking him for a “thoughtful and generous letter about the Yankee broadcasters.” The irony, of course, is that Cronin was a legendary Red Sox player and manager, while Barber became a legendary broadcaster with the Yankees. Barber adds a sweet touch by saying, “You have always been a good friend.”
Next, Gil Hodges managed the Washington Senators from 1963 to 1967. In '67, the Mets make an offer to the Senators, with one year left on Hodges contract with the Senators. The price to talk to Hodges? $100,000, plus a one player to be assigned on Nov. 21, 1967.
The next two docs are associated. The first is a hand-written confidential letter from Commissioner Eckert to the Executive Council that lists all those being considered for the position of Administrator at MLB headquarters. This was, ostensibly, the commissioner's right-hand man.
At the top of the list is the man that will get the job, John McHale. Also on the list is Bob Howsam, Hank Peters, and Dick Walsh to name 4 of the 10 on the list.
The second document outlines McHale's selection, with all the details.
Lastly, it's been reported that when Johnny Keane managed the 1966 Yankees to 4 wins in the first 20 games of that season that GM Ralph Houk fired Keane, and installed himself as manager. Well, this document might show otherwise.
In this letter from Yankees owner Dan Topping it seems that Topping is the architect of the ouster, not Houk. As Topping writes, "Have decided we simply must make change, despite our efforts and hopes to snap out of this. As discussed, Johnny Keane will be relieved immediately and you are appointed manager of the Yankees on a four year contract through Novemeber 1, 1969."
Houk makes a difference as the Yankees will then win 13 of the next 17 games played. Houk not only went the full length of this contract to 1969, but will sign a 3-year extension with the Yankees in '69 for $65,000 a year, the highest salary for a manager per year at that time.
It's late and Joe's file says it's tired... more installments forthcoming.