Dick Wakefield Comes to End Of Career as Baseball Player: Giants Release Outfielder; Got 2,000 Upon Signing With Detroit Club in 1941, Daily Racing Form, 1952-05-16


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► : ■ • Dick Wakefield Comes to End Of Career as Baseball Player Giants Release Outfielder; i Got 2,000 Upon Signing With Detroit Club in 1941 By MILTON RICHMAN United Press Sports Writer NEW YORK, N. Y., May 15.— Unable to ihide the lump in his throat or the ache in his heart, Dick Wakefield stuffed his belongings in a dark leather bag and gloomily mumbled, "Ive reached the end of the road." Notified by Leo Durocher that the Giants had " released him after yesterdays game, the 30-year-old outfielder said he was finished with baseball for good. "I dunno what Ill do now," he said, summoning a weak smile. "Baseballs about the only thing I know. . .Dya know of anyone who has a job for a guy with a strong back and who is willing to learn?" Wakefield, picked up by the Giants as a free agent early last month, said Durocher was "the most wonderful man" he had ever played under. - "Leo even tried to be nice to me when he let me go," he added. "He called me into his private xoom in the clubhouse and said, Dick, Ive got some bad news for you. . "I told .him, fire away, Leo, Ive gotten bad news plenty of times before. "I could see he felt badly about having tc release me, but I told him I understood it wasnt his fault. I thanked him for taking me even this far. Hes a grand guy and I would have given anything to have remained with him, but I guess it wasnt In the cards. Doesnt Want Minneapolis Job "Leo said something about getting me another job with Minneapolis but I told him nothing doing. Ive banged around too much already to go back down to the minors." Wakefield, who originally received a 2,000 bonus for signing with the Detroit Tigers in 1941, also played with the Yankee briefly and was cut loose by Cleveland after a short trial this spring. Since signing with the Giants, he hustled diligently to win a job, paring his weight from 230 pounds to 210. Durocher, generally regarded one of the toughest men in baseball, almost broke up when he had to relay the bad news to Wakefield. "Ive had to cut a lot of ball players loose since I became a manager," he declared, "but nothing ever hurt me more than having to tell Wakefield. "No one. could have possibly tried harder to make good than he did. From the minute he joined us, he worked like a stevedore. I tried every way I could to maneuver so I wouldnt have to let him go, but there was no way out. Durocher said he couldnt remember any player who was as popular with the rest of his teammates as was Wakefield. "The players loved him," said the Lip. "Talk about your nice guys, he certainly was tops. He had good spirit, always tried to help any way he could and was a fine influence on the younger players. "The Giants offered him a job with Minneapolis at a good salary, but he didnt want it, I kind of wish he would have taken it. . .Maybe we could have brought him back up and he might have helped us." As Durocher spoke, Giant players came over to Wakefields locker to say goodbye and wish him luck. "Take care of yourself, boy, well all miss you," said Sal Maglie. "Dont let it get you down," said Alvin Dark ... "Sorry it had to happen, Dick," muttered Willie Mays. Durocher was the last one to come over. "All the luck in the. world," he said, "from the bottom of my heart." "Thanks, Leo," Wakefield said, shaking his hand, "Thanks a whole lot. . ." l

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1952051601/drf1952051601_2_2
Local Identifier: drf1952051601_2_2
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800