My 11th ’35 Goudey: Four Dodgers

Like my 10th card, my 11th card was also an Ebay win. It featured four Dodgers players. It’s a common card, with no Hall of Famers, but all of the players were starters for the Dodgers–no filling up space with utility infielders or middle relievers on this card, at least. A Dodgers fan unwrapping this card in 1935 wouldn’t have been too disappointed.

And even though there are no Hall of Famers on the card, there are some interesting stories here. Two of the players were once traded for each other before becoming teammates, and one of the players was the oldest surviving player to play for all three New York teams when he died at the age of 99.

Watty Clark was a left-handed pitching curveball specialist near the end of his career. 1935 was his last hurrah of sorts, and he won 13 games that year. He had won 20 games in 1932, and it would be 30 years before another Dodgers left-hander would win 20.

The Dodgers traded Clark to the cross-town Giants in 1933 for Sam Leslie, who also appears on this card. Clark pitched poorly for the Giants, and a year later the Dodgers reacquired him for cash.

Sam Leslie was the Dodgers’ first baseman that year. He hit for high average but not much power. He played 10 seasons in the majors for the Dodgers and Giants, including two stints with the Giants, and was the only player to hit for the cycle in 1936. Injuries shortened his career and he retired after the 1938 season.

Lonny Frey was the Dodgers’ shortstop that year. He led the team in home runs with 11. He was a three-time All Star and a productive middle infielder in an era when hard-hitting middle infielders were scarce. He missed two seasons of his career to serving in World War II, and late in his career, he was young Yogi Berra’s roommate, tasked with keeping the then-rookie future Hall of Famer out of trouble. Frey died in 2009 at the age of 99, with the distinction of being the last surviving player to play for all three New York teams: the Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees. At the time of his death, he also was the oldest surviving player to have played in the Pacific Coast League.

Joe Stripp was the Dodgers’ third baseman that year. In 1934, he was the last batter to face a legally thrown spitball in the major leagues, when Burleigh Grimes pitched to him to wrap up his career. Twice in his career he was traded for a Hall of Famer, first for Ernie Lombardi and next for Leo Durocher. A good defensive third baseman with good speed, he played 11 seasons and had a career batting average of .294.

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