Friday, May 2, 2008

RIP Buzzie Bavasi

Yesterday marked the passing of great Dodger General Manager Buzzie Bavasi, who led the Dodgers to four of their six World Championships, including their only one in Brooklyn. He was 93.

Buzzie worked as an executive in the Dodgers’ minor league system in the 1940s, helping Branch Rickey guide and integrate players like Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and Roy Campenella into the major leagues. Bavasi was also instrumental in creating the now-legendary Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida.

In 1950, the Dodgers promoted him to GM, a position he held until the close of the 1968 season. During his tenure, the Dodgers beat the powerhouse Yankees to capture their first World Series title. Following their move to Los Angeles, Buzzie crafted the teams that won three other Series – in 1959, 1963 and 1965 – and eight National League pennants.

One of Bavasi’s sons, Bill, is now the General Manager of the Seattle Mariners.

By all accounts (see the official press release here and ESPN’s take here) Bavasi was a true baseball man with countless admirers. He leaves behind a legacy virtually unmatched by anyone else in the game, and he will be missed.

*sigh* I’m hoping the 50th anniversary year of the Dodgers doesn’t end up marked by too many more of these…

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