LIVE FROM LONG BEACH — Former Dodgers Tommy Davis and Al Ferrara closed out the weeklong SABR 41 convention with an entertaining discussion of their careers during the SABR 41 Player Panel, moderated by Barry Mednick, on Sunday morning.
Both born in Brooklyn in 1938, Davis and Ferrara talked of playing sandlot ball in the borough as kids, watching Jackie Robinson break the color line with the Dodgers, and their days in the major leagues. In addition, Ferrara told stories about playing Carnegie Hall as a classical pianist and his days as an actor in Hollywood — in response to a “Ginger or Mary Ann?” question from the audience, Ferrara, who appeared on an episode of “Gilligan’s Island” in 1967, quipped, “Well, Bo Belinsky dated Ginger, so I guess I get Mary Ann.”
One of Davis’ most compelling stories was about hoping to play for the New York Yankees after a tryout with Mickey Mantle and Moose Skowron as a 17-year-old in the mid-1950s:
But (Dodgers scout) Al Campanis kept coming to the house and saying they were still interested. And he had Jackie Robinson call me the Tuesday before the weekend I was supposed to sign. He called the house and I thought it was one of my friends playing a joke. “Who the hell is this?” And you remember he had that kind of high voice, and he said, “It’s Jackie Robinson.” I told my mother, “It’s really Jackie Robinson!” She said, “Well, you better talk to him!” And the result was I signed with the Dodgers that Tuesday.
Former Braves catcher Del Crandall was originally scheduled to appear on the panel, but was unavailable due to a family medical situation.
For more from the SABR 41 convention, visit http://sabr.org/convention.
— Jacob Pomrenke
Originally published: July 10, 2011. Last Updated: July 27, 2020.