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Sunday, April 26, 2020

Dillinger played ball before he robbed banks

Harry G. Leslie couldn’t take his eyes off the shortstop.

As governor of Indiana, Leslie had gotten into the habit of taking in some sports on his visits to the state’s penitentiaries—a former star athlete at Purdue, he believed in the rehabilitative power of organized competition, and he took an interest in inmates who applied themselves and excelled. So it wasn’t unusual that, during a trip to the Indiana Reformatory on a sunny afternoon in 1932, he decided to stop and watch the reformatory’s baseball team take on a local semipro club. And one prisoner in particular kept grabbing his attention.

“His play was marvelous, both in the field and at bat,” the Indianapolis Star later recalled. “He might have been a Major League shortstop the caliber of a Pee Wee Reese or a Phil Rizzuto.”

After another jaw-dropping putout, the governor had to know—who was this guy? A nearby guard had his answer: “That’s Johnny Dillinger.”

Wonder if he would have been willing to play softball with all of us…..


QLE Posted: April 26, 2020 at 01:42 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: john dillinger

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   1. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 26, 2020 at 07:54 AM (#5944476)
“His play was marvelous, both in the field and at bat,” the Indianapolis Star later recalled. “He might have been a Major League shortstop the caliber of a Pee Wee Reese or a Phil Rizzuto.”

And after Dillinger's playing career was over, he could've been a scout and signed Fidel Castro!
   2. AndrewJ Posted: April 26, 2020 at 10:43 AM (#5944506)
Wonder if he would have been willing to play softball with all of us…..

Nah, those Central Park games are way too histrionic. John Dillnger and Manhattan melodramas don't go well together...
   3. Tin Angel Posted: April 26, 2020 at 11:42 AM (#5944526)
Anyone have his dWAR and OPS+?
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: April 26, 2020 at 01:03 PM (#5944539)
"Why do you play baseball, Mr. Dillinger?"

"Because that's where the money will be - once they get rid of that damn reserve clause!"

[Dillinger is only the second-most cited criminal, behind Willie Sutton, as supposed author of the "why do I rob banks? because that's where the money is" line, but work with me here.]
   5. Yanigan Posted: April 26, 2020 at 01:51 PM (#5944558)
In a game of Strat, Dillinger could rob Banks of a hit.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 26, 2020 at 02:54 PM (#5944589)
A notorious Cubs fan.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: April 26, 2020 at 03:27 PM (#5944607)
So he made a different plea: If he couldn't be set free, at least let him transfer to the state prison up in Michigan City, where he said "they've got a real ball team."

They've still got a ballfield there, but it's not the really nice one of the past, and I don't think they let the inmates play baseball/softball any longer anyway (it's about four blocks from my son's high school, and we pass right by the yard on the way to his school).

   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 26, 2020 at 04:27 PM (#5944643)
BTW, an aged, obscure Primey, presented by a woman in red, for #2.
   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 27, 2020 at 05:43 AM (#5944822)
Dillinger supposedly wielded the biggest bat of them all.

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