Alvin Dark: 1922-2014


Alvin Dark, who as a player was the 1948 Rookie of the Year and was selected to the All-Star team three times, and as a manager led both the Giants and the Athletics to the World Series, has died at age 92.

Dark was one of the best shortstops of his era, starring for the Giants but spending time with the Braves, Cardinals, Cubs and Phillies, Dark hit .289/.333/.411 over a 14-season career which spanned from 1946 through 1960. He was the Giants captain during the 1950s.

But Dark wasn’t just a baseball player. He was a star football player at LSU and Southwest Louisiana Institute before choosing baseball — he was actually drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles — and was an excellent amateur basketball player too. He served in the United States Marine Corps at the end of and right after World War II. While he didn’t see combat, he served in extremely dangerous circumstances in China right after the war during the Chinese Civil War in 1945.

As a manager, Dark was the first man to manage the All-Star Game in both leagues, by virtue of managing both the San Francisco Giants (1962) and the Oakland Athletics (1974) to pennants. He had two separate stints as A’s manager, actually, managing the club when it was in Kansas City in the 60s as well, with a few years as the Indians manager and general manager sandwiched in between. He was let go by Charlie O. Finley a second time following the 1975 season even though his A’s won 98 games. He managed the Padres for part of the 1977 season before being fired in spring training in 1978 which, no, doesn’t happen too terribly often.

Before his death, Dark was the oldest-living manager of a World Series team.

(most of the facts here were found in SABR’s thorough biography of Dark which can be read here)