The Washington Post / Times Herald

Oct. 11, 1954
Oct. 11, 1954

Table of Contents
Oct. 11, 1954

Pat On The Back
  • Herewith a salute from the editors to men and women of all ages who have fairly earned the good opinion of the world of sport, regardless of whether they have yet earned its tallest headlines

Under 21
  • The good old game of touch, with rules or without, provides football fun for everyone without the spills and skills demanded by the regular game

The World Series
The Bands Play
  • Fancy-free and full of fanfare, football music fills the air with its magnificent manifestations of a martial mania as old as the game itself

  • The violent upsets shown on this and following pages are not the sort of action spectators at the National Horse Show next month are likely to see. To riders and horses preparing for the elegant precision which the arena requires, however, they are normal hazards—and they show that mastering the delicate art of jumping thoroughbreds is a sport which is anything but tame

Sunday Pilot
Sporting Look
  • For fifty years the opening day at Belmont Park has brought out the first fall fashions in the East. This year there was no doubt about the favorite for suits and coats: tweeds—win, place and show

Horse Racing
Sport In Art
Eastern Football
  • Born in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1859 and still living there, Putt Telfer has recorded village sport scenes for 75 years

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

The Washington Post / Times Herald

The newly elected president of the Baseball Writers, Columnist Shirley Povich, advises Charley Dressen that he'll be up against austerity baseball with the Senators where the Griffiths still make the decisions

This is an article from the Oct. 11, 1954 issue Original Layout

Charles Dressen is the new manager of the Washington Baseball Club, but it isn't clear yet whether he was signed or trapped. He put his signature to a two-year contract and there were happy smiles all-around for the newsreels, but how lasting they will be must remain a matter for speculation.

According to Dressen, he turned down two other managerial jobs in the majors and signed with the Griffiths willfully. If that is a sample of his astuteness, the Nats perhaps came up with the wrong man—a brave one of unchallenged valor but a rainbow-chaser who doesn't know the score in Washington.


You could almost see the smirk on the face of Vice President Calvin Griffith when Dressen indicated to reporters that he, as the new manager, would be solidly enthroned in the Nats' organization, with a powerful voice in the buying of players and the development of the farm system. Dressen would be manager and virtually general manager, it was reported.

He'll learn. He'll learn that nobody runs the Washington ball club except the Griffiths. There's no interference with the manager on the field, but the manager makes no decisions otherwise. The front office is a tight little family affair and the managers can only make requests, never a demand. Whatever Dressen seeks, it must go through channels. The Griffiths aren't abdicating to anybody.

They went high for Dressen, with a $35,000 salary figure as the best estimate in the absence of any official figure. There was a reason for it. The Griffiths were panicked. Dwindling attendance, increased muttering by Washington fans, no dividends in recent years goaded them into a kind of desperation. A colorful manager, even if he came high, was a device.

Dressen isn't walking into anything lush except the money he is getting for the job. The Nats haven't finished in the first division in eight years. Their farm system is a joke. Their first-line talent is thin. Their bench is paltry. Bucky Harris worked a minor miracle to get them as close to the first division as they were. Dressen is taking over a club that doesn't figure to win one more game than it did the past season.

For a man inured to baseball operations on a top-drawer scale, Dressen could be quickly disabused. After all, he spent his last 16 years in the majors with the Yankees and Dodgers, where a manager had simply to indicate a need and up popped the finest talent from the minor leagues. Chattanooga, Charlotte and Hagerstown are not Kansas City, Montreal and Oakland, and Joe Cambria is not Paul Kritchell.

For their money, the Griffiths are getting at least a type in Dressen. He's a real switch from the deep calm of Bucky Harris. Dressen has to be an exciting guy. He always was. He storms and rants in the Durocher tradition and he lights up a playing field with his frequent excursions onto the diamond, whether he's fretting with the umpires or jerking pitchers or talking to hitters or generally taking charge.


Dressen, it must be remembered, though, was no managerial success at Cincinnati where in four seasons his teams finished eighth, sixth, fifth and eighth. Like Casey Stengel, who was also a flop as a big-league manager until he hooked up with the right club, Dressen's success came later when he took over the Dodgers and won two pennants in three years.

Washington will test Dressen's genius. The stuff the Griffiths are giving him is not to be confused with his talent at Brooklyn. He can't walk into the front office and ask them to bring up Duke Snider from Montreal or Roy Campanella from St. Paul, or Carl Erskine from Fort Worth. Charley has just joined up with austerity baseball.

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