Player: Gardella, Danny
Card: 1983 TCMA ’45 Reprint #36 – Autographed
Daniel Lewis Gardella (February 26, 1920 – March 6, 2005) was a left fielder in Major League Baseball who played with the New York Giants (1944–45) and St. Louis Cardinals (1950). He was born in New York City, in the Fordham Road section of the Bronx. His father was Italian American and his mother, Henrietta was an immigrant who arrived from Italy in 1912. Danny and his brother Al (who also became a major leaguer) grew up playing with Bronx sandlot and club teams.
Today’s multimillionaire players probably don’t know Danny Gardella or the impact the wartime New York Giants outfielder had on their high salaries. Gardella’s brief adventure in the Mexican League and his challenge to baseball’s reserve clause was one of the first steps toward modern-day free agency. He is known as one of the handful of American Major League players who “jumped” their organized baseball teams to play in the “outlaw” Mexican League in 1946 seeking higher salaries (Others included Sal Maglie, Alex Carrasquel, Max Lanier and Mickey Owen.)
He was the first major league player who challenged baseball’s reserve clause in an early chapter in the labor-management skirmishes that brought free agency and multimillion-dollar player contracts. He was effectively banned from baseball, except for one pinch hit at-bat, thereafter.
Known for his on-field antics (and defensive adventures) Gardella would often walk on his hands, and perform other acrobatic stunts. He was also one of the first players to train with weights. After his playing career ended, he would often be recruited to sing before games.
Danny was mentioned in the Dave Frishberg Jazz song “Van Lingle Mungo.”
Danny is part of the New York City Born Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Danny is also part of the New York/SF Giants Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
Danny is also part of the St. Louis Cardinals Players Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See Danny’s baseball cards at TCDB
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