Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Daniel L. Gardella, August 27, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:48 - Early career in baseball

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Partial Transcript: I wondered if you might tell me a little bit about your baseball career, its beginnings?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella discusses his early career in Minor League baseball. He mentions some of the well-known players he knew and some of the towns where he played.

Keywords: Al Gardella; Baseball clubs; Baseball teams; Johnny Gorsica

Subjects: American League (Major League Baseball); Baseball; Baseball managers; Baseball players; Gardella, Daniel L.; Major League Baseball (Organization); Minor league baseball.

00:04:55 - Playing against Major League teams

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Partial Transcript: Were any of these teams affiliated with a major league team?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella recalls how the smaller organizations played against Major League teams such as the Detroit Tigers and the New York Giants. He mentions meeting Murray "Moe" Franklin and Joe Birmingham, two players who later became famous.

Keywords: Baseball during World War II; Baseball organizations; Baseball teams; Joe Birmingham; Moe Franklin; Murray Franklin

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players; Baseball players--1940-1950; Detroit Tigers (Baseball Team); Minor league baseball; New York Giants (Baseball Team); World War, 1939-1945

00:08:36 - Career during World War II

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Partial Transcript: So, see, during the war then you were working in the shipyards and said you were building, what, sub chasers and tugboats?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella advanced to the major leagues during World War II. He explains how the war gave him the opportunity to play for the New York Giants.

Keywords: Batting; Charles Leo Harnett; Gabby Harnett; Joe Birmingham; Shipyard teams

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball managers; Baseball player-managers; Major League Baseball (Organization); New York Giants (Baseball Team); World War, 1939-1945

00:13:14 - Career with the New York Giants / Ace Adams

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Partial Transcript: ...Weren't you a low-ball hitter?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella discusses his career with the New York Giants as a batter. He explains different batting techniques and recalls meeting relief pitcher Ace Adams.

Keywords: Ace Adams; Batters; Batting; Contracts; Home runs; Pitching

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players; Baseball players--1940-1950; Baseball players--Salaries, etc.--United States; Baseball--Management; Major League Baseball (Organization); New York Giants (Baseball Team); Pitchers (Baseball)

00:18:37 - Encountering Jorge Pasquel

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Partial Transcript: But why hadn't you signed? Was it because what they were offering you?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella explains why he left the New York Giants. He recalls playing baseball in Mexico and meeting millionaire Jorge Pasquel.

Keywords: Mexican League; Mexico; Miguel Aleman Valdes

Subjects: Aleman, Miguel, 1905-1983.; Baseball; Baseball players; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955

00:23:06 - The Mexican League and its players

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Partial Transcript: Now, he was a good friend of, a very good friend of Aleman, the president.

Segment Synopsis: Gardella talks about Jorge Pasquel's political connections and the creation of the Mexican League. He identifies some of the great American players in the league.

Keywords: George Hausmann; Mexican League; Mexico; Roy Zimmerman

Subjects: Aleman, Miguel, 1905-1983.; Baseball; Baseball players; Baseball players--1940-1950; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Maglie, Sal, 1917-; Pasquel, Jorge, 1907-1955

00:26:33 - Returning to the Major Leagues

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Partial Transcript: Okay, let me backtrack a little bit on you. Um, let's go back to the, again to this period that you met Pasquel...

Segment Synopsis: Gardella recalls his return to the New York Giants. He remarks on some of the changes in its management.

Keywords: Baseball managers; Eddie Brannick; Ernie Lombardi; Horace Stoneham; Joe "Ducky" Medwick; management

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players; Baseball--Management; New York Giants (Baseball Team)

00:31:18 - Arrival in Mexico / Nap Reyes

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Partial Transcript: They, they sort of indicated or you had gotten the idea pretty well that they wanted to, wanted to unload you? Is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella recalls arriving in Mexico and attending a lavish party. He also mentions baseball player Nap Reyes.

Keywords: Contracts; Mexican League; Mexico; Nap Reyes; Parties; Salaries

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; New York Giants (Baseball Team); Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955

00:36:40 - Living conditions in Mexico / Babe Ruth's visit to Mexico

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Partial Transcript: What kind of furnishings did you have?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella describes life in Mexico and Babe Ruth's visit to Mexico City.

Keywords: Admiral Halsey; Baseball games; Living conditions; Mexico; Ramon Bragana

Subjects: Baseball; Mexico City (Mexico).; Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955; Ruth, Babe, 1895-1948

00:41:43 - Playing baseball in Cuba / an encounter with a police officer

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Partial Transcript: Were you around when the rest of that happened?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella discusses playing baseball in Cuba. He also describes an encounter with a Cuban police officer.

Keywords: Baseball games; Casinos; Jean-Pierre Roy; Lucky Luciano; Police officers; Roy Zimmerman; Tommy de la Cruz

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players; Cuba.; Gambling; Owen, Mickey

00:45:55 - More on Jorge Pasquel / bullfighting

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Partial Transcript: Um, you mentioned that Pierre Roy is announcing up in Canada.

Segment Synopsis: Gardella describes Jorge Pasquel in more detail. He also discusses bullfighting.

Keywords: Automobiles; Bullfights; Family; Jorge Pasquel; Matadors; Police

Subjects: Families; Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955; Police

00:50:39 - Life in Mexico / Mexican culture

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Partial Transcript: Most of the ballplayers go?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella explains how he became accustomed to life in Mexico. He describes the gun culture of Mexico.

Keywords: Assimilation; Culture; Guns; Language; Living conditions; Mexican customs; Mexico; Pistols

Subjects: Maglie, Sal, 1917-; Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955

00:55:26 - Americans playing in the Mexican League

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Partial Transcript: Was this in Pasquel's office?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella explains how some of the American players in the Mexican League had difficulty adjusting to living in Mexico.

Keywords: Americans; Assimilation; Baseball players; Brian Stevens; Mexican League; Mexico; Nap Reyes

Subjects: Baseball players; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Maglie, Sal, 1917-; Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955

01:00:14 - Recollections of players in the Mexican League

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Partial Transcript: Who was the leader among those players?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella remembers how some of the American players had difficulty adjusting to living in Mexico, and recalls some of the players he knew there.

Keywords: Acculturation; American customs; Assimilation; Fred Martin; Harry Feldman; Lou Klein; Luis Olmo; Mexican customs; Mexico; Nap Reyes; Roy Zimmerman

Subjects: Baseball players; Baseball players--1940-1950; Cuba.; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Maglie, Sal, 1917-

01:05:07 - More Mexican League baseball players / pitching techniques

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned Murray Franklin.

Segment Synopsis: Gardella reminisces about some of the more talented players in the Mexican League. He also explains some pitching techniques.

Keywords: Ace Adams; Joe Birmingham; Luis Olmo; Murray "Moe" Franklin; Nap Reyes; Pitching; Roland Gladu; Tommy de la Cruz

Subjects: Baseball players; Baseball players--1940-1950; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Maglie, Sal, 1917-

01:11:00 - Players' backgrounds and skills / Chandler's ban on Mexican League players

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Partial Transcript: Roland Gladu--good hitter, and he was stealing the signals and I hit a home run that day and I went ahead of, uh, Luis Olmo...

Segment Synopsis: Gardella discusses some of his fellow players' backgrounds and skills in depth. He briefly mentions Happy Chandler banning the Mexican League players from returning to the Major Leagues.

Keywords: "Colored" baseball players; Adrian Zabala; Bans; Black baseball players; Compensation; Luis Olmo; Pitching; Red Hayworth; Roland Gladu

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball players; Baseball players--1940-1950; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Dandridge, Ray; Lanier, Max; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Maglie, Sal, 1917-; Pitchers (Baseball)

01:16:08 - Playing conditions in the Mexican League / salaries

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember any other black ballplayers?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella answers questions about playing conditions in the Mexican League and discusses salaries.

Keywords: Ballparks; Baseball fields; Baseball parks; Mexico; Money; Playing conditions; Salaries

Subjects: Baseball managers; Baseball players; Baseball players--Salaries, etc.--United States; Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955; Veracruz (Veracruz-Llave, Mexico).

01:20:50 - Playing in different Mexican cities

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Partial Transcript: A lot of Giants that came down. A good portion of those players were Giants.

Segment Synopsis: Gardella recalls playing in different Mexican cities, and talks about the position that he played in the Mexican League.

Keywords: Baseball teams; Mexican League; Mexican cities; Playing positions; Railroad tracks; Travel

Subjects: Baseball; Laredo (Tex.).; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Mexico City (Mexico).; New York Giants (Baseball Team); Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955; St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball Team); Tampico (Tamaulipas, Mexico).

01:25:19 - Clubhouse facilities / traveling in Mexico

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Partial Transcript: Another thing that, uh, I've read about was that the clubhouse facilities were terrible.

Segment Synopsis: Gardella describes the conditions of the clubhouse facilities, and he explains how the teams usually traveled from one city to another.

Keywords: Airplanes; Clubhouses; Equipment; Facilities; Trains; Travel

Subjects: Baseball--United States--Social aspects; St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball Team)

01:29:08 - Leaving the Mexican League

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned earlier that you didn't return to Mexico for the 1947 season.

Segment Synopsis: Gardella explains why he left the Mexican League in 1947.

Keywords: Compensation; Mexican League; Playing conditions; Salaries

Subjects: Aleman, Miguel, 1905-1983.; Baseball; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Pasquel, Jorge--1907-1955

01:33:29 - Being banned from Major League baseball

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Partial Transcript: You did several things, um, in 1947, you contacted, uh, Frederick Johnson.

Segment Synopsis: Gardella discusses his reaction to being banned from playing in the Major Leagues.

Keywords: "Negro" baseball players; Bans; Baseball bans; Black baseball players; Court cases; Lawsuits

Subjects: African American baseball players; American League (Major League Baseball); Baseball commissioners; Baseball commissioners--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Cleveland Buckeyes (Baseball Team); Johnson, Frederick A.; Major League Baseball (Organization); New York Giants (Baseball Team); Paige, Satchel, 1906-1982

01:37:10 - Reflections on Gardella's baseball career

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Partial Transcript: Did this have any impact on you? Did you think about that?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella reflects on his career with the New York Giants during World War II.

Keywords: Bans; Careers; Fate; Kismet; Motives; Playing baseball; Reflections; Serendipity

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players; Baseball--United States; Gardella, Daniel L.; New York Giants (Baseball Team)

01:42:11 - The baseball reserve clause / Frederick Johnson

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Partial Transcript: Even if you couldn't of made it back to the Giants, would you have continued in Minor League ball if you could have?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella reflects on the reserve clause and shares his opinion of his lawyer, Frederick Johnson.

Keywords: Baseball reserve clause; Court cases; Laws; Lawsuits; Lawyers; Reserve clauses

Subjects: Actions and defenses--New York (State); Athletics; Baseball commissioners--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States; Johnson, Frederick A.; Minor league baseball; Minor league baseball.

01:45:33 - Earning a living while being banned from Major League baseball

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Partial Transcript: So, during this period of time, you were trying to eke out a living and you played in Cuba, and you barnstormed. Do you remember anything about barnstorming?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella explains how he earned money while he was banned from playing in the Major Leagues. He recalls playing in Cuba and Canada.

Keywords: Barnstorming; Baseball games; Canada; Careers; Flying; Money; Salaries; Tours

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players--1940-1950; Baseball players--Salaries, etc.--United States; Cuba.

01:48:55 - Chandler's rescinding the ban on Mexican League players

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Partial Transcript: In 1949, because of your case, primarily, Chandler rescinded his ban...

Segment Synopsis: Gardella explains that he was not motivated by money when he initiated his lawsuit. He states that he pursued his case, even when some of the other players asked him to drop it.

Keywords: Bans; Court cases; Fred Martin; Gardella v. Chandler; Lawsuits; Rescission; Roy Zimmerman; Settlements

Subjects: Actions and defenses--New York (State); Baseball players; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Owen, Mickey

01:53:08 - Settling Gardella v. Chandler / joining the Cardinals

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Partial Transcript: So nobody from the Giants ever contacted you?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella explains what the settlement meant to him and how he spent the money. He also discusses his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Keywords: Attorneys; Compensation; Earnings; Lawyers; Money; Settlements

Subjects: Baseball commissioners; Baseball commissioners--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Musial, Stan, 1920-2013; St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball Team)

01:57:04 - The end of Gardella's baseball career

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Partial Transcript: Did he, did he say anything, did he say anything to you about his experiences with Pasquel?

Segment Synopsis: Gardella discusses the end of his career in baseball and muses on what makes some players great.

Keywords: Athleticism; Health; Healthy living; Longevity; Opportunities; Talents

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players; St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball Team)

02:01:12 - Living a healthy lifestyle

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything, in sort of a closing, is there anything about this period that you recall, that you feel has significance...

Segment Synopsis: Gardella offers his thoughts on living a healthy lifestyle and states that during the time of his career, baseball players typically refrained from drug abuse.

Keywords: Alcohol; Drugs; Eating; Eating habits; Healthy living; Illegal drugs; Stimulants; Vegetarianism

Subjects: Alcohol; Baseball players; Drug abuse; Food; Food habits

02:04:35 - Gardella's refusal to drop his lawsuit

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Partial Transcript: One thing that I neglected to ask you about earlier is that Frederick Johnson mentioned...

Segment Synopsis: Marshall asks Gardella why he balked at dropping his lawsuit. Gardella explains that it was more a matter of principle than of compensation. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Gardella v. Chandler; compensation; court cases; infringement; laws; lawsuits; reserve clause

Subjects: Actions and defenses--New York (State); Baseball commissioners; Baseball commissioners--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States; Johnson, Frederick A.