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Cubs de Drummondville 1949
Joueurs / Players Pos G AB R H HR RBI AVG
Bezemes, Johnny CF - - - - - - -
Bréard, Paul 2B 1 3 0 0 0 0 .000
Bréard, Roger  P  2B 94 369 27 90 4 40 .244
Bréard, Stan (gérant/mgr)  P  SS 97 390 62 112 8 45 .287
Chalifoux, Roland (1) P 28 49 3 9 1 8 .184
Cotnoir, Gerry  P  C/OF 53 135 19 37 0 20 .274
Gardella, Danny  P  OF 96 339 58 96 15 59 .283
Hooker, Lenial (2)  P  P 26 56 6 6 0 4 .107
Maglie, Sal  P  P 35 93 8 22 0 8 .237
Perez, Conrado IF/OF 95 382 65 111 12 44 .291
Poliquin, Louis P 76 58 3 9 0 3 .155
Power, Vic (Vic Pellot)  P  OF 86 328 53 113 9 54 .345
Prom, Joe  P  P 5 9 2 3 2 5 .333
Shirley, Tex (3) P 31 69 13 15 1 9 .217
Ste-Marie, Roger (4) OF 63 145 40 49 4 21 .338
Trouppe, Quincy  P  C 82 264 45 73 8 37 .277
Tuminelli, Joseph  P  3B/P 96 382 73 125 8 52 .327
Vargas, Roberto  P  P 33 57 3 17 0 4 .298
Zimmerman, Roy  P  1B 91 320 42 79 22 73 .247
Lanceurs / Pitchers L/R G IP W L K BB ERA
Bourbeau, Fred R - - 2 0 - - -
Chalifoux, Roland - - - 5 9 - - -
Couture, Léandre - - - - - - - -
Hamilton, Jack - - - 1 1 - - -
Hooker, Lenial  P  - - - 9 8 - - -
Lanier, Max  P  L - - 8 1 - - -
Maglie, Sal  P  R - - 18 9 - - -
Medina, Lazaro - - - 0 1 - - -
Poliquin, Louis - - - 4 2 - - -
Prom, Joe  P  R - - 1 0 - - -
Shirley, Tex (3) R - - 13 3 - - -
Tuminelli, Joseph  P  - - - 6 0 - - -
Vargas, Roberto  P  L - - 12 9 - - -
(1) Statistiques offensives combinées Drummondville, Granby et St-Jean
(2) Statistiques offensives combinées Drummondville et Farnham
(3) Statistiques combinées pour Drummondville et Granby
(4) Statistiques combinées pour Drummondville et St-Jean
Recherche: Christian Trudeau
 
 1949 DRUMMONDVILLE CUBS / Article: Bill Young

Danny Gardella avec les Cubs de Drummondville en 1949 Collection Daniel Papillon

Danny Gardella: Drummondville Cub and Baseball Original 

In Drummondville they called him “Dangerous Dan”.

The first among a parcel of major leaguers to jump to the Mexican League following World War II, Danny Gardella played right field for the powerful Drummondville Cubs of the Provincial League in 1949. His clutch play, both at bat and in the field, were critical in helping the club gain first place in the standings and win the overall league championship.

A baseball original, Gardella was a popular figure in Drummondville where his out-going nature and unexpected antics made him a fan favourite. He loved Canada, he once said, and remembered Drummondville as a “very interesting town. Nice, flat”, where “the fans were good. Excellent.”

Gardella was a prankster, and at a game it was not unusual to see him, in full uniform, walk across the playing surface, on his hands. A colleague tells of a recent visit to Gardella’s home in Yonkers, NY, when he responded to her knock by striding to the front door, upside down. 

Danny Gardella passed away on Sunday. March 6, 2005, just days after his eighty-fifth birthday. His death was been widely commented upon at the time, principally because he is recognized as the first major leaguer ever to challenge baseball’s infamous reserve clause, the paragraph in the standard players’ contract that bound a player to his team for life.

Danny Gardella broke into the National league in 1944 with the New York Giants and played with them through the 1945 season, when he batted .272 and connected for 18 home runs, eighth best in the National League. Teammates included Roy Zimmerman and Sal Maglie, both of whom would later join him in Drummondville.

In 1946, as former players began returning from military service, Gardella recognized that his chances of remaining with the Giants were slight. And so when the president of the Mexican League promised him $8000 plus a bonus of $5000 to play south of the border, he made the jump. Because he was an unsigned player at the time, he believed that, technically, he was not breaking a contract. He was, however, in violation of the reserve clause.

Gardella’s exodus set off a rash of other signings with Mexican League officials, enough to prompt baseball’s High Commissioner, Happy Chandler, to decree that “all players who jumped their contracts or violated their reserve status would be banished for five years, unless they returned to their teams before opening day.” This threat was soon applied as promised, at all levels of organized baseball, and with absolute authority.

For the jumpers, the Mexican experiment turned out to be less than expected and by late 1947, Gardella, and most of the others had returned home, to be met by locked doors and limited prospects. Gardella, convinced that he had a case against the Giants and organized baseball, initiated legal action seeking $300,000 in damages. And the jumpers, running out of places to play, now turned to the Provincial League.

At this time, the Provincial League was an independent operation, beyond the control of organized baseball, and in the eyes of many, an outlaw league.

The league offered a high calibre of ball, readily accommodating anyone who could play the game, be they Latin Americans, Negro League veterans, displaced major leaguers, talented Quebecois, or Mexican League jumpers.

Among a slew of very good clubs, the best of the lot was the Drummondville Cubs in 1949. Its line-up included such major leaguers as Max Lanier, Sal Maglie, Vic Power, Tex Shirley, Roy Zimmerman, and of course, Gardella, along with perennial Negro League All-Star, Quincy Trouppe - a wealth of talent that many believed could best the Triple-A Montreal Royals of the International League, if given the chance.

Sal Maglie remembers Gardella as a funny person, an acrobat.

“He would run around the bases and go into home plate making a somersault and landing on the plate.”

One evening during the Drummondville summer, Maglie invited Gardella over for a steak dinner, but Danny didn’t show. Gardella later explained that on his way to the Maglies, he had met up with the team’s official scorer, an undertaker by profession, who was on his way to an accident scene. Gardella decided to accompany him, and according to Maglie, “helped the undertaker embalm the guy, believe it or not.”

None of this seemed to hamper Gardella’s baseball accomplishments. Playing right field in 1949, he had a good year, batting .283, with 17 home runs and 80 runs batted in, and, as his regular appearance in game reports reveals, playing aggressive, and entertaining baseball.

Gardella’s best performance occurred in early July, when, according to La Parole, "’Dangerous Dan’ accomplished a unique feat . . .against St-Hyacinthe. He hit three home runs - the first time this has been done in the league this year - and knocked in 8 runs, as the Cubs defeated the Saints 10-4.” The third home run was a grand slam!

Gardella was named to the league All-Star game, and, reported La Parole, “made the prettiest catch of the night in the 13th inning and saved the North team from defeat.”

To be sure Gardella was a crowd pleaser. Typical was an incident that occurred in the fourth inning of a June home game against Sherbrooke, when former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, Fred Martin, pitched him inside. As the La Parole correspondent noted, Gardella was “sent flying, flipping over twice and landing with elegance on his posterior, all to the great amusement of the crowd. Danny got back up, furious at this assault on his dignity and drove Martin's next pitch over the right field fence, one of the most formidable blows ever seen on these grounds.”

Gardella carried his solid play into the post-season. In the best-of-nine semi-finals against St-Hyacinthe, he opened strongly with a single and home run in the first game. Then, with both teams tied at four games apiece heading into the finale, he and Sal Maglie took charge. Maglie held the Saints to four hits and only one run, striking out 10, and Dangerous Dan drove home five of the seven runs the Cubs scored that night.

Gardella’s playoff heroics continued into the first game of the finals against Farnham when Maglie’s shutout pitching and his grand slam homerun cemented a 7-0 victory. It took the Cubs nine games to win this series and the league championship. In the final match, as Maglie once again prevailed, Gardella scored the Cubs’ first run of the game.

Meanwhile, Gardella’s lawsuit was working its way through the justice system. In February 1949, a federal appeals court had decreed that it warranted a full trial, and this decision had put the baseball authorities very much on their guard, especially as Gardella’s was not the only legal action facing them. Other players, including both Sal Maglie and Max Lanier, had also launched similar legal proceedings,

In mid-June, Commissioner Chandler, fearing the prospect of looming court battles, lifted the banishments and offered a form of amnesty to the Mexican jumpers. Shortly afterward, Lanier and Maglie came to an agreement with major league baseball, and before the year was out, so did Gardella, albeit not without a fight.

He had devoted much of the 1949 season to preparing for the trial and for his day in court, and it was only with great reluctance that he finally accepted his lawyer’s advice to settle.

His lawyer (who was working on a fifty-percent contingency fee) insisted that it would be impossible to claim compensation for lost earnings because, in fact, Gardella had made more money in Mexico and Drummondville that he would have earned with the Giants.  The settlement was for $60,000, the equivalent of 6 years salary, and a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.

“It was baseball which was so wrong,” Gardella told author William Marshall. “So undemocratic - for an institution that was supposed to represent American freedom and democracy.”

Gardella began the 1950 season with the Cardinals, but after only one game was summarily dispatched to Houston, where he batted .211 before being given his unconditional release. Typical of his unconventional nature, when it came time to bid Houston adieu, Gardella, with a coat and travelling bag in hand, waved a grand farewell to all - from the top of the outfield fence!

“I’ve been climbing outfield fences all my life,” he said at the time. “ I might as well leave Houston climbing one.”

Danny Gardella made one last attempt to prolong his baseball career – by returning to Quebec and the Provincial league. In 1951, he signed on with Trois-Rivières but could do no better that hit a lowly .178, with three homers and twelve runs-batted-in.

And with that, his adventure in baseball had come to an end - but not his place in baseball history. Danny Gardella will be forever remembered for that time in 1949, when as a member of the Drummondville Cubs, he stood up to the captains of baseball industry and rattled them to their very core.

 
Now pitching for Drummondville: Sal Maglie

BILL YOUNG

More than fifty years ago, on Tuesday, October 4, 1949, Sal Maglie took to the mound under the lights at Drummondville's Piste de Course ballpark and delivered one of the most memorable moments ever in that city’s baseball history.

The Drummondville Cubs, the class of the Quebec Provincial League, were hosting the resilient Farnham Black Sox in Game Nine, the last game, of the league finals. Knowing that the fate of their entire season was riding on the outcome of this one match, more than 3500 Drummondville fans had braved the evening chill and now huddled together within the massive grandstand behind third base, shivering in nervous anticipation. Tonight, the winning team would walk away with the League trophy: the losers would just walk away. Hopes and expectations of the entire town, not to mention the odd wager or two, and indeed, Drummondville's very reputation as a sporting center, hung in the balance. And they were counting on Sal Maglie to deliver.

Today Sal Maglie occupies a place in baseball history, remembered for his outstanding exploits with baseball's National League New York Giants of the early 1950s. But that came later. In 1949, Sal Maglie was a thirty-two year old pitcher whose career appeared to be on the down turn. He was well aware that he was running out of time, that he might never again have a chance to play on a championship team - and so he took this opportunity very seriously.

-0-0-0-

A native of the Niagara Falls, NY area, Sal Maglie had been a career minor league pitcher who eventually worked his way up to the 1945 New York Giants, where he enjoyed modest success. However, with the end of World War II, former players began returning to their respective clubs, and Maglie saw that there would be little chance of his keeping a spot on the Giant’s roster. Thus, when given an opportunity to jump to the Mexican League - at this time actively recruiting players from the majors and high minors - he took the plunge.

A significant number of other players also made the same decision, such that the game's supreme authorities, led by High Commissioner Happy Chandler decided to set an example and banned them from all organized baseball for a period of five years. The jumpers would not be eligible to return until 1951.

After two years in Mexico, Maglie and most of the imported players called it quits and returned home – only to find they had run out of places to play. By 1949, Sal Maglie was at the nadir of his career. Now completely out of baseball,  he was pumping gas at the service station he owned in Niagara Falls, low on hope and desperately needing to be saved..

Fortunately for him, salvation took the form of the Quebec Provincial League, poised to embark on what many would regard as its greatest year ever. A stellar pool of players had become available – Quebecers, displaced major leaguers, young Latins, Negro League veterans, Mexican League jumpers – and every team in the loop was bent on recruiting the best talent it could find.

The Drummondville Cubs manager, Montrealer Stan Bréard, himself a career minor leaguer and jumper, had known Sal Maglie from their days down south and signed him on for $600 a month. 

Drummondville was delighted. On March 24, the daily LA PAROLE reported (my translation):

                   The big news of the week for our baseball fans has to be the official signing of well-known pitcher, Sal Maglie, formerly with the New York Giants of the National League. Maglie’s contract was received Monday night, duly and properly signed¼ Stan Bréard, who knows him well, is convinced that he will be a sensation in the Provincial League.

As indeed he was.

Sal Maglie was not Drummondville's only high profile signing. The legendary Quincy Trouppe, perennial All-Star in the Negro League came on board. So did ex-Giants Danny Gardella and Roy Zimmerman; and pitcher Max Lanier, a former all-star with the St. Louis Cardinals. Other regulars included: Victor Pellot, who would later gain fame in the major leagues as Vic Power; Roger Bréard, younger brother of Stan; Joe Tuminelli, a Dodger farmhand who preferred Quebec; and Conrado Perez, a Latin breaking into integrated baseball.

The Cubs got off to a great start as did the league, and in spite of certain surprises along the way, interest remained high throughout the season. Commissioner Chandler unexpectedly rescinded his ban on Mexican jumpers in mid- June, and while this did affect some teams – Lanier was the only one of the Drummondville nine to leave – the league continued to deliver excellent ball and draw good crowds.

Sal Maglie remained behind for several reasons. He was earning good money, he did not yet consider that he was ready to compete for a position with the Giants, and of greatest import, he believed he was honour-bound to fulfill his commitment to Drummondville.  

-0-0-0-

The regular season ended in early September, and although the Sherbrooke, St-Jean and Granby sides had all taken their run at the Cubs, Drummondville walked away with the pennant, finishing eight games ahead of second-place Granby. Maglie led the league in pitching with an 18-9 record. And now, Drummondville’s post-season run, an inconceivable circus of highs and lows, was about to begin.

The Cubs had every right to feel confident going into the league playoffs, if for no other reason than that their first round opponents would be the lowly St-Hyacinthe Saints who had ended the season twenty-seven games out.

As a result, the Cubs were not prepared for the rude awakening that greeted them, and while, ultimately, they did manage to slip past the Saints, it took them the full nine games and more than a little luck. Their less than stellar performance prompted whispers in certain quarters that not was all on the up-and-up. Rumours that some players, or even umpires, had taken money were exacerbated when Jean Barette, writing in LA PATRIE, branded the Cubs/Saints series “Arrangé!”

These rumblings ceased to be relevant, however, once Sal Maglie had bested St-Hyacinthe’s Walter Brown, formerly of the St. Louis Browns, to nail down the series. In a twinkling, despair had turned to joyous celebration. The Sporting News reported that admirers had showered Maglie with gifts and money worth $700 following the last out.

But the hard part still lay ahead. The Farnham Black Sox would see to that. Anchored deep in the league’s second division throughout the regular campaign, the Black Sox had been the surprise of the post-season. Handily, they had first dispatched St-Jean in the quarterfinals, and then Granby, and were now poised to pull off the greatest upset of all, besting the powerful Cubs. Farnham had a solid formation made up of experienced veterans, several of whom had survived the rigours of the Negro Leagues and winter ball. They were not easily intimidated.

Through the first eight games, fickle momentum played no favourites. The Cubs took the first two games, lost the following pair, won Game Five on Sal Maglie’s four-hit, 2-0 shutout, split the next two, and then with victory in their grasp, lost Game Eight. The stubborn Black Sox had succeeded in neutralizing Drummmondville’s strengths and were still in the hunt. And one more time, fortunes were about to rest on a last, winner-take-all, final game.

Sal Maglie had been outstanding throughout the playoffs. In five starts he had won four, lost none, saved another game in relief and maintained a batting average that was among the best on his team. Against Farnham, in two encounters, Maglie was yet to concede a run. And tonight, in the autumn chill, with everything on the line, he was being called upon one more time.

The game is still remembered as everything one could hope for in a final contest. Facing Maglie on the mound was the venerable Willie Pope, long a stalwart of the Negro Leagues and ace of the Farnham staff. Both had come to win, and for inning after pressure-filled inning, both bore down, giving away nothing. Maglie struck out ten batters in the game, Pope nine. Maglie issued no walks: Pope surrendered one, intentionally.

Farnham was first to put up a run, capitalizing on what the local papers called a lucky home run. In the fourth inning, Al Wilson hammered a long drive to centre field and as Pellot and Gardella converged on the ball, it dropped between and rolled to the fence. By the time Pellot could recover it, Wilson had round the bases and scored.

Pope managed to hold the lead until the seventh before Drummondville finally rallied, and when the dust had settled and the cheering stopped, five runs had crossed the plate, enough to seal the victory. They had done it. At last, the Cubs were truly champions.

One more time, Sal Maglie had prevailed: four hits, ten strikeouts and a 5-1 victory. His last game in Drummondville and it was a masterpiece. The Cubs had required ten wins to earn the title. Maglie had delivered five of them.

LA PAROLE spoke for the fans:

The baseball season now concluded will long be remembered in Drummondville. It offered some of the most brilliant play that we could ever hope to see in a community like ours. It brought us the championship, and glory to the name of Drummondville and to its citizens.

The town held a reception for the team the day following. Head table guests included Stan Bréard, Sal Maglie and Sal’s wife, Kathleen. The league trophy was presented, and Maglie was lauded for the contribution he had made to the city.

His year in Drummondville had run its course, but not his career. In 1950, in New York, Sal Maglie would experience the rebirth that for several years placed him among the premier hurlers in the National League. Drummondville, or so the locals insisted, had prepared him for this challenge. And they were delighted.

Fiche 
Saison 63-34, 1ere place
Séries Champions
Ligue Provinciale
 
Joueurs dans MLB 
 P  Danny Gardella
 P  Max Lanier 
 P  Sal Maglie 
 P  Vic Power 
Tex Shirley 
 P  Quincy Trouppe 
 P  Roberto Vargas 
 P  Roy Zimmerman
 
Joueurs dans Negro 
 P  Lenial Hooker
Medina Lazaro
 
Nos documents 
1949. Photo d'équipe des Cubs de Drummondville
1949. Hal Lanier, des Cubs de Drummondville 
1949. Cubs de Drummondville. Photo des lanceurs
Année ind. Deux photos du stade de Drummondville
1959 Carte Topps Vic Power
1966 Carte O-Pee-Chee Vic Power
 
Nos lectures 
L'histoire de la Ligue provinciale 1947-49. Christian Trudeau