Monday, November 12, 2007

Leo Durocher Was Tappin' That

The actress Laraine Day died on Saturday. I knew who she was because I'm a Hitchcock fan and I've seen Foreign Correspondent a few times, but I didn't know this:

Studio executives pigeonholed the dark-haired actress as "attractive ordinary" and seldom paired her with top directors who could have boosted her career. "Let someone else be the world's greatest actress," she said with characteristic geniality in 1953. "I'll be the world's greatest baseball fan." The actress' affinity for baseball came out of her second marriage, to Leo Durocher, the legendary manager of what were then the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants . . .

. . . She became known as "the first lady of baseball" and accompanied Durocher and the Giants to Cuba for spring training. She traveled with the team during the regular season and in 1952 wrote "Day With the Giants," which the New York Herald Tribune called "an amusing, informative book, the first to report on baseball from the viewpoint of the wife." Although they divorced in 1960, the couple remained friends until Durocher's death in 1991. When he was posthumously inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., it was Day who was chosen from his four wives to attend.

It's October 3, 1954. You're the manager of the New York Giants. With the help of a young Willie Mays patrolling center, you've just swept a 111-win team to win the World Series and you're boarding the morning train back to New York. In addition the the victory banquets and plaudits from the greatest city in the world, you've got a smokin' Hollywood actress who loves to talk about baseball waiting for you at home.

Yeah, I'm guessing it was pretty good to be Durocher.

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