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01/24/2010

Bobby Bragan's years in Hollywood

January 24, 2010 | 11:50 am

Bragan
Bobby Bragan, the fiery player and manager who died Thursday at 92, seemed like perfect casting as manager of the Hollywood Stars of the old Pacific Coast League.

The Stars and the Los Angeles Angels were the closest thing the Southland had to big league baseball in those days. The Dodgers were still in Brooklyn.

"We matured Bragan. ... I think we probably planted the seed where he could now manage in the major leagues," said former Hollywood Stars player Chuck Stevens in "The Grand Minor League, an Oral History of the Pacific Coast League" by Dick Dobbins (1999).

Bragan managed the Stars from 1953 to 1955. He was the Stars' manager at the time of a huge brawl during a 1953 doubleheader against their arch rivals, the Angels. Things were so unruly that Los Angeles police officers stayed in the dugout for the second game.

Bragan credited former Dodger general manager Branch Rickey with turning him into a manager with the Dodgers' minor league team in Ft. Worth, Texas. At the time, Bragan was a seldom-used player with the Dodgers.

"Mr. Rickey ...told me, 'You've been on the bench so long they're starting to call you Judge. How would you like to go to Forth Worth as a catcher-manager. I said yes sir and I didn't just find a job, I found a home," he told the Forth Worth Star Telegram in 2007.

You can find Bragan's obituary here.

-- Keith Thursby

Photo: Bobby Bragan is ordered by an umpire to leave the field during a game managing the Hollywood Stars. Photo credit: Associated Press

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