Bobby Bragan left remarkable legacy
By Craig Muder
The image is a silly one, with the men pictured engaged in a pretend scream.
But for Pittsburgh Pirates manager Bobby Bragan, the passion was real. It was a fire that burned for more than 90 years – a fire that helped forge the careers of several Hall of Famers.
The photo, one of more than half a million in the Hall of Fame’s photo collection, shows Bragan and actor Joe E. Brown, the father of Pirates general manager Joe L. Brown.
Joe E. Brown was a huge baseball fan and appeared in several baseball-themed moves. Bragan, on the other hand, was a man who shaped baseball history.
Bragan passed away Thursday night at the age of 92. He played for seven seasons in the big leagues during the 1940s, finishing with a .240 average. But after retiring following the 1948 season, Bragan found his calling when Dodgers’ general manager Branch Rickey made him a minor league manager.
“Every one of my wins should have a note that says: ‘See Bobby Bragan,'” said Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams, who played for Bragan with the Dodgers’ minor league team in Fort Worth, Texas. “He disciplined me, and therefore taught me how to discipline.”
Bragan managed in the big leagues for seven seasons, starting with the Pirates in 1956 and 1957. He moved on to the Indians in 1958, then managed the Braves from 1963-66. His final record: 443-478.
But for those he touched, Bobby Bragan was one of the most influential men of their careers.
His photo – like more than 500,000 others in the Hall of Fame’s collection – will be preserved in Cooperstown forever.
Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.