Dodger players buy homes in Compton, September 9, 1958

Dodgers settling down in Los Angeles

Charlie Neal and Johnny Roseboro buy homes in Compton while Ed Roebuck is building a house in Long Beach.

Los Angeles Times file photo

John Klippstein

By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

The Dodgers were already planning for the off-season.

The Times’ Frank Finch surveyed several players and coaches to find who might be moving to Southern California. As you might expect, more than a few Dodgers planned on settling in Southern California after their first season playing in L.A.

Infielder Charlie Neal and catcher John Roseboro had already moved to Compton and pitcher Ed Roebuck was building a house in Long Beach. Infielder (and sometimes outfielder) Jim Gilliam and coach Greg Mulleavy were both moving from New Jersey to the Southland.

Finch noted that the Dodgers included four Southern California natives: Don Drysdale, Duke Snider, infielder Bob Lillis and pitcher Ralph Mauriello.

What I found fascinating in Finch’s story was his list of how Dodger players and coaches would earn money during the off-season. Some would play winter ball. Gilliam, Roseboro and Neal were planning to join a barnstorming team led by Willie Mays.

Pitcher Babe Birrer would play winter ball or teach school in Buffalo, Finch wrote. Carl Erskine would “resume his YMCA activities in Anderson, Ind.” Coach Rube Walker would sell cars in Lenoir, N.C., if he didn’t go to winter ball.

Drysdale and Sandy Koufax had military obligations. Drysdale would report in two weeks to Ft. Ord, right after his honeymoon. But my favorite was pitcher John Klippstein, who planned on selling cardboard boxes for a company in Chicago. 

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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2 Responses to Dodger players buy homes in Compton, September 9, 1958

  1. Jonathan King says:

    Loved the ” Dodgers settling down in L.A.” clip. In addition to providing a little homey insight into some of my
    childhood heroes, it’s a reminder of what life was like for a ballplayer in the pre-free-agent days. You’d play a full season, then go sell cardboard boxes or cars in the off-season to make ends meet.


  2. Dona Junta says:

    This is intresting that they settled in those cities but over the years those cities mostly gotten a bad rep but we forget that at one point things were not always like that especially in Compton, what year was that by the way?


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