Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Leo Durocher Hired
"Leo the Lip" was re-signed by the Dodgers for his sixth year at the helm. Although 1943 had been Leo's worst season guiding the team (they finished just 81-73) the wartime conditions meant the Dodgers put more stock in Leo's back-to-back one hundred plus win seasons in 1941 and 1942 than they did in the 1943 season. Of course, on-the-field concerns were perhaps not the Dodgers' only interest, as an interesting clause in the contract demonstrates. Durocher was to be paid a base salary of twenty thousand dollars. On top of that however, Durocher's contract called him for to receive an extra five thousand for each 100,000 fans over 600,000 that Dodgers drew that season. Durocher was obviously hoping the Dodgers could return to the attendance level of 1939-42 when they averaged 1,051,157 per season rather than the war depressed total of 661,739 in 1943.
As it turned out, Durocher had no such luck on two fronts as the Dodgers both slumped to their worst record ever with Leo in command, and the worst of his managerial career, a brutal 63-91 and their attendance dropped even lower, down to 605,905, bringing Durocher's attendance total bonus to a grand total of...zero. The team would rebound performance wise the next year and would draw nearly 1.8 million by the last year of Durocher's contract in 1946 but by then the attendance clause was long gone.