Friday, March 18, 2005

March 18th, 1926

Dick Littlefield Born

Dick Littlefield was a pitcher for a variety of teams in the 50s and was traded seven times in the course of his career, but it is a trade that wasn't made that is his claim to fame on. On December 13th, 1956 Littlefield who had gone 4-6 with a 4.37 ERA for the Pirates, Cardinals and Giants the year before was traded, along with $30,000 to the Brooklyn Dodgers in exchange for Jackie Robinson. Robinson had already privately decided to retire, but the trade forced his hand and Robinson publicly announced his retirement at age thirty-seven. (Robinson did not, as some rumors suggest, retire because he felt slighted by Walter O'Malley's efforts to rid the franchise of any legacy of Branch Rickey.)

The trade was voided and Littlefield returned to the Giants. Evidently determined to get rid of the mediocre lefty, the Giants would traded Littlefield as part of a four-player deal to the Cubs before the 1957 season began. He would see very limited action for the pennant winning Milwaukee Braves in 1958 and retire after that season. He died in 1997, best remembered as the Man Almost Traded for Jackie Robinson.

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