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Chuck Dressen was born in Decatur in 1894. He played numerous sports during his life, but made history in baseball.
At 5-foot-5 and less than 150 pounds, Dressen might not have seemed a contender for any kind of athletic feats, but he was a baseball and football player for hire while he worked as a Wabash Railroad switchman.
He played two seasons in the Three-I league (which included the Decatur Commodores) before being recruited to play for the Decatur Staleys football team in its sole NFL season.
Eventually devoting himself exclusively to baseball, he played with the Cincinnati Reds for seven seasons. In 1926 and 1927, at age 31 and 32, he led the National League in assists as a third baseman.
But it was as a manager where Dressen made his most lasting marks. His first major league managing position was with the Reds. He managed and coached in the major leagues from 1934 to 1966.
He was manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers "Boys of Summer," the team that provided much drama in New York in the early 1950s. He was the manager of the Dodgers team that blew a double-digit lead against the New York Giants in 1951 and then lost in a three-game playoff that culminated with Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard ‘Round the World," a three-run homer that gave New York the National League title.
Dressen's 1952 and 1953 Dodgers won N.L. titles, but lost World Series titles to the New York Yankees both years.
Dressen also managed the Washington Senators, Milwaukee Braves and Detroit Tigers. His career managerial record was 1008-973, and he's one of 64 managers in major league history to record at least 1,000 victories.
Dressen is the answer to a unique baseball question: Who was the only man in uniform for New York's three baseball teams — the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants — when they clinched a pennant? In addition to the Dodgers, he coached with the pennant-winning 1947 Yankees, and played with the 1933 Giants.
Dressen died of a heart attack in 1966.