Very sad that we lost another Brooklyn player. That is two already this year. Last year we lost 10. Cliff Dapper was born January 2, 1920. He served our country in World War II.
Dapper was a Los Angeles native who appeared in 18 games with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942. He was best known for being the only ballplayer in history to be traded for a broadcaster. When Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber went on a medical leave during the 1948 season, team president Branch Rickey called Earl Mann, the owner of the minor league Atlanta Crackers, and asked for permission to sign Harwell. Mann wanted compensation for his popular broadcaster and said his team needed a catcher.
Rickey sent Dapper from the Dodgers’ Triple-A Montreal affiliate to the Crackers to complete the deal. Dapper continued his minor league career as a player and manager through 1957. Harwell left the Dodgers after the 1949 season, he was replaced by Fordham University graduate Vin Scully. Harwell became a Hall of Fame broadcaster, primarily with the Detroit Tigers. Despite the famous trade, Harwell and Dapper did not meet for more than a half a century until the dedication ceremonies for Harwell’s statue at Detroit’s Comerica Park in 2002.
Rest in peace Mr. Dapper. Thank you for serving our country. Say hello to Ernie Harwell.
the list of living Brooklyn Dodger Major Leaguers is down to 51.
During last night’s broacasting, Vin Scully was telling us a little story about Ernie Harwell. Vin said that back in 1948, when Red Barber was rushed to the hospital. Connie Desmond took over.
Branch Rickey, the renowened executive who ran the Brooklyn Dodgers called Atlanta Crackers President Earl Mann that he needed an announcer. Mann in turn told him “I need a catcher.” So to get Harwell’s services, Rickey traded minor league catcher Cliff Dapper to Atlanta.
Thus, thanks to perhaps the only broadcaster-player trade in baseball history, Ernie Harwell broke into the majors as a broadcaster in August 1948 with the Dodgers.
Harwell was the No. 3 announcer on the Dodgers’ broadcasts. After he spent a year in that role in 1949, he became the No. 2 announcer with the crosstown New York Giants. To replace Harwell, the Dodgers hired a young announcer recently out of Fordham University, Vin Scully.
Rest in peace Ernie Harwell.