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Leo Ernest Durocher (July 27, 1905 – October 7, 1991), nicknamed Leo the Lip and Lippy, was an American professional baseball player, manager and coach.
He played in Major League Baseball as an infielder.
Upon his retirement, he ranked fifth all-time among managers with 2,008 career victories, second only to John McGraw in National League history.
Durocher still ranks tenth in career wins by a manager.
A controversial and outspoken character, Durocher had a stormy career dogged by clashes with authority, the baseball commissioner, the press, and umpires; his 95 career ejections as a manager trailed only McGraw when he retired, and still rank fourth on the all-time list. Durocher was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Leo Durocher was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on July 27, 1905, the youngest of four sons born to French Canadian parents. His mother was a hotel maid and his father was a railroad engineer. His parents were immigrants from Quebec and both they and Durocher's older brothers spoke only French; Durocher began attending elementary school without knowing how to speak English.
The Durochers lived only two blocks from Rabbit Maranville, who taught Durocher the game of baseball and gave him a glove. Durocher became a good athlete while in high school, and was offered a scholarship to Holy Cross, but was suspended from school after he hit a teacher, and never returned. Durocher became a prominent semi-professional athlete, with several Springfield-area employers competing to have him play on their company teams.
After being scouted by the New York Yankees, Durocher broke into professional baseball with the Hartford Senators of the Eastern League in 1925. He was called up to the Yankees and played in two games. Durocher spent two more seasons in the minors, playing for the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in 1926 and St. Paul Saints of the American Association in 1927.
Durocher rejoined the Yankees in 1928. A regular player, he was nicknamed "The All-American Out" by Babe Ruth. Durocher was a favorite of Yankee manager Miller Huggins, who considered Durocher a potential managerial candidate due to his competitiveness, passion, ego, and facility for remembering situations. Durocher's outspokenness did not endear him to Yankee ownership, however, and his habit of passing bad checks to finance his expensive tastes in clothes and nightlife annoyed Yankee general manager Ed Barrow.
Durocher helped the team win their second consecutive World Series title in 1928, then demanded a raise. He was later sold to the Cincinnati Reds on February 5, 1930. Durocher spent the remainder of his professional career in the National League.
After playing three seasons with the Reds, Durocher was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in mid-1933. Upon joining the Cardinals he was assigned uniform number 2, which he wore for the rest of his career, as player, coach and manager. That team, whose famous nickname "Gashouse Gang" was supposedly inspired by Durocher, were a far more appropriate match for him; in St. Louis, Durocher's characteristics as a fiery player and vicious bench jockey were given full rein. Durocher remained with the Cardinals through the 1937 season, captaining the team and winning the 1934 World Series (their third title in nine years) before being traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Primarily a shortstop, Durocher played through 1945, though his last year as a regular was 1939; after that year he never played more than 62 games in a season. He was known as a solid fielder but a poor hitter. In 5,350 career at bats, he batted .247, hit 24 home runs and had 567 runs batted in.
Durocher was named to the NL's All-Star team three times, once with St. Louis and twice with the Dodgers. In the 1938 game in Cincinnati, Durocher hit the only Little League Home Run in All-Star Game history.
Also in 1938, Durocher made history of a sort by making the final out in Johnny Vander Meer's second consecutive no-hitter.
Durocher was married four times. He was married to Ruby Hartley from 1930 to 1934. He was married to St. Louis socialite Grace Dozier from 1934 to 1943. In 1947 he married actress Laraine Day, and they divorced in 1960. His fourth wife was Lynne Walker Goldblatt, to whom he was married from 1969 to 1980.
In 1943, Durocher was deemed ineligible for service in World War II due to a punctured eardrum.
With Ruby Hartley, Durocher had a daughter named Barbara (born 1931).
He adopted two children with Day, daughter Melinda Michele (1944–2012) and son Chris (born 1945). Willie Mays used to babysit Chris on Giants' roadtrips—the two would room together and go see movies as well.
Durocher had real comedic talent, and portrayed himself on episodes of The Munsters, The Joey Bishop Show, Mister Ed, The Beverly Hillbillies, Screen Directors Playhouse, and other shows.
In the 2013 film 42 about Jackie Robinson, Durocher is played by Christopher Meloni.