The 20 greatest Dodgers of all time, No. 16: Walter Alston
Beginning April 11, we asked you to list your choices for the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time. You could vote via comment, Facebook, Twitter or email. And vote you did. From then until April 21, when voting closed, we received an amazing 12,231 ballots. So many, that we have decided to expand the list from the top 10 to the top 20. Each weekday at 11 a.m., a new player will be listed as we count down all 20.
Remember, any Dodger, Brooklyn or L.A., was eligible, including managers, owners, announcers, etc. Points were assigned based on where you list the player on the ballot. Your first choice received 12 points, second choice 10, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th place.
So without further ado, here is No. 16:
No. 16: Walter Alston (2 first-place votes, 9,211 points)
Pretty much the complete opposite of Tommy Lasorda as far as personality goes, Walt Alston was nonetheless one of the most successful managers in Dodgers history.
Alston began managing the Dodgers in 1954 when they were still in Brooklyn, and remained manager until 1976, winning seven NL pennants (1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974) and four World Series titles, (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965), three of them in Los Angeles.
Alston was named NL manager of the year six times before retiring with a final record of 2,040-1,613. He had his number (24) retired by the team in 1977, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.
Alston died at the age of 72 on Oct. 1, 1984.
A great Walter Alston story, recounted in many books on the Dodgers, is the time when baseball teams still traveled by bus. One time the bus they used was old and had no air conditioning. Several Dodger players spent the bus trip yelling and getting on Lee Scott, the club’s traveling secretary.
Alston, sitting in the front of the bus, stood up and said: “I don’t want to hear another word about this bus. And if anyone has something more to say about it, he can step off right now, and we’ll settle it right here.” No one said a word after that.
Legendary Times columnist wrote the following when Alston retired:
“I don’t know whether you’re Republican or Democrat or Catholic or Protestant and I’ve known you for 18 years,” Murray wrote of Alston. “You were as Middle-Western as a pitchfork. Black players who have a sure instinct for the closet bigot recognized immediately you didn’t know what prejudice was. There was no ‘side’ to Walter Alston. What you saw was what you got.”
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