Fox: Baseball’s Leo Durocher managed to overcome the odds

From Leo Fox at Investor’s Business Daily on July 11, 2017, with mention of SABR member Jeff Marlett:

Leo Durocher gets credit for saying “nice guys finish last,” so he could easily have twisted it into “fiery fellows finish first.” Because that’s exactly what happened in 1954, when his New York Giants pulled off one of baseball’s greatest upsets.

And in 1951, when he managed the Giants to a comeback for the ages.

And in 1941, when he pushed the Brooklyn Dodgers to their first National League pennant in 21 years.

“If he had more discipline and less anger, he would probably be the greatest manager of all time,” Paul Dickson, author of the new book “Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son,” told IBD. “Lindsey Nelson, who for a time teamed with Durocher in the broadcast booth, said, ‘If I needed one manager to win a game, I would choose Leo. He might steal it, or whatever, but somehow he would figure out how to win it.’ “

Harvey Wineberg, who was Durocher’s accountant and business manager for three decades, lauds the Hall of Famer despite the fact that “in the end I was probably his only friend.”

“He had a charisma about him,” Wineberg said from his home in the Chicago area. “He had a lot of guts. He defied a lot of people, and that made him a great leader. And he knew baseball really well. He had that charm about him.

“Love him or hate him, but he was good at what he did. He knew how to get the most out of people. People followed him.”

Jeff Marlett, who wrote about Durocher for the Society for American Baseball Research, calls him “a celebrity manager,” jazzing up TV shows hosted by such stars as Judy Garland and Dick Cavett. “Not bad for a French-Canadian guy from the wrong side of the tracks in West Springfield, Mass.”

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Originally published: July 11, 2017. Last Updated: July 11, 2017.