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Mr. Alvin Dark (Deceased)

103 Cranberry Way
Easley, South Carolina 29642

Home Phone:
Work Phone:
Alvin Dark

Sport: Football

Alvin Ralph Dark was an All-State and All-Southern tailback at Lake Charles High in 1940, and captain of the Wildcats’ basketball team. But baseball was his first love.

Lake Charles High didn’t participate in baseball at that time, but he played Legion ball for five years"and received a scholarship to Louisiana State University to play basketball and baseball.

Dark, who had already accepted a basketball scholarship to Texas A&M, decided to go out for football at LSU after he noticed that the menu at the football training table was considerably more attractive than the wiener, sauerkraut and thin slices of roast beef served to other athletes.

He lettered in all three sports, and led the Tigers’ football team to a 21-7 victory over Ole Miss (quarterbacked by Charlie Conerly) with touchdown runs of 70 and 46 yards. But his most vivid memories of that game were four punts"a 75-yarder and three coffin corner kicks that pinned the Rebels inside their two-yard line.

Before one punt, Dark asked the referee where the ball would be placed if he hit the flag.

“Right there,” he replied. “Right on the one-foot line.”

Dark proceeded to hit the flag"“one of those things,” he recalled later, “you couldn’t do again in two lifetimes of punting.”

“He’ll be a great back if he gets to play three years of conference ball,” LSU coach Bernie Moore said of the 19-year-old sophomore.

Because of World War II, Moore knew that was a very big “if.” Dark joined the Marine Corps’ V-12 program and was assigned to a unit at Southwestern Louisiana institute in Lafayette. With the V-12 unit attracting several future National Football League standouts in addition to Dark, SLI posted its first unbeaten season since 1906 and was seriously considered for both the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl.

Most small colleges dropped football in 1943 because of the war, but SLI defeated Southwestern (Texas) 27-6 and played Arkansas A&M to a 20-20 tie. Its other games were with service teams, including a 6-0 victory over Randolph Field"a team led by former Tulsa star Glenn Dobbs which tied Southwest Conference champs Texas 7-7 in the Cotton Bowl.

When the other major bowls opted for “name” teams (LSU, with three losses, won the Orange Bowl) SLI had to settle for a 24-7 victory over Arkansas A&M in a Dec. 1, Oil Bowl rematch at Houston.

Colonel Earl “Red” Blaik invited Dark to join the powerhouse he was assembling at West Point, but Alvin"who had dreamed of playing big league baseball since he was in elementary school"didn’t want to make a four-year commitment to the Army after two years at West Point.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted him as a future choice, but Dark had no interest in pro football. Ted McGrew, a Boston Braves scout, was waiting for him in Lake Charles after the war. When McGrew asked Dark to write the amount he wanted on a piece of paper, Alvin put down $50,000"expecting it to open a bargaining session in which he’d happily settle for half as much.

McGrew looked at the paper and said, “You got it.”

After playing 15 games with the Braves at the end of the 1946 season, Dark spent the 1947 season with Milwaukee in the American Association. He hit .303 and won “Rookie of the Year” honors.

One year later, Dark was in the big leagues"hitting .322 and winning “Rookie of the Year” honors for manager Billy Southworth’s Boston Braves to lead the club to its first National League pennant since 1914.

He was traded to the New York Giants in 1950, and led the National League in doubles with 41 when the 1951 team erased a 13 ½ game deficit to beat the Dodgers in a playoff game. It was Dark, swinging on an 0-2 pitch by Don Newcombe, who got the scratch single that started the ninth inning rally climaxed by Bobby Thomson’s dramatic homerun.

Neither the 1948 Braves nor the 1951 Giants won the World Series, but the third time was the charm for Dark when the 1954 Giants beat the favored Dodgers by five games and then swept the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

Dark made two more World Series appearances as a manger, with the San Francisco Giants in 1962 and the Oakland A’s in 1974. The Giants won the first two games, but lost to the Yankees in a seven-game series. The A’s, united by their hatred of owner Charlie O. Finley, took their third straight world title in a five-game series with the Dodgers.

He led the A’s to another Division title in 1975 before Finley fired him after a playoff loss to the Boston Red Sox.

That wasn’t first time Finley fired Dark. In 1967, when the A’s were located in Kansas City (and in tenth place in American League standings), Finley fired Dark twice in a span of 11 hours"offering him a two year contract with a raise between firings.

The first firing was over the handling of a situation involving Lew Krausse, a young pitcher accused of “rowdysim” on a team flight. Relieved that his relationship with the overbearing Finley was over, Dark relaxed and told the owner his club had a great future and could be pennant contenders by 1971. He was so convincing that Finley offered him his job back, with a raise. But a petition signed by the players, supporting Dark against the owner, threw a monkey wrench into the deal. “I will never forget the way they have stood up for me,” a tearful Dark said leaving.

As a player, Dark had a .289 batting average in a 14-year major league career.

As both a player and manager, he received as much recognition for his Christian beliefs"tithing his income since he made $5.42 for two weeks of delivering newsopapers in Lake Charles"as he did for his performances. Finley repeatedly ordered him to “lay off the Bible,” but Dark was more likely to quote scripture than batting averages in press conferences.

Provided by Mason Lindsay, Dec. 2011
from http://www.lasportshall.com/index.php?src=directory&view=inductee&srctype=detail&back=inductee&refno=206

* * * * * * * * * *
The Brutality of War by Gene Dark, Alvin Dark's son - Nov. 2007.

When 19-year-old Gene Dark returned from Vietnam, he tried to forget the war. But he never could. For years, Dark thought about what he endured everyday. He finally realized that unless he wrote a book about his experiences, he'd continue to live with the deep-seated emotions of the time he spent in battle. This led him to publish The Brutality of War. Initially self published through iUniverse, The Brutality of War was recently acquired by Pelican Publishing Company. Dark discusses his inspiration for writing his book and his publishing journey.

“Writing a book is intense and demanding,” said Dark. “An author must be dedicated and hard-working.”

When he finally finished his book, Dark took it to traditional publishers and was met with only disappointment. “You often pour your heart out onto the pages only to be rejected for your effort,” Dark said. “No one wanted to publish my book, so I did it myself.”

Dark eventually decided to publish his book with iUniverse. The Brutality of War hit bookshelves in November 2007. Although it was not published through a traditional publisher, as he first hoped, Dark was impressed by the quality of his self-published book and the simplicity of the process. “The book was well done,” Dark said, “and everyone that I dealt with was honest, hard working, prompt, and did what they said they would do.”

The Brutality of War turned into a hit with readers. It had become so successful that the publicist he secured through the iUniverse Advance Publicity service decided to send a copy of the book, along with copies of the book reviews to Pelican Publishing Company, a traditional publisher located in Gretna, La., who enjoyed the book and decided to pick it up. In talking about his recent successes, Dark reflected on his publishing journey, “iUniverse is the reason I was picked up by Pelican Publishing.”

The book will be published under the same title at Pelican Publishing Company during the second half of 2009.

The author, who is also a chief operations officer for a master planned community in Lake Charles, La., has already started working on his next book. “If you believe in your story pursue the dream,” Dark says. He gives aspiring authors advice once said by Winston Churchill. “Never, never, never, never give up."
May, 2009

* * * * * * * * * *

October 7, 2010
Juanita Dark Lantrip
1926 - 2011

Juanita Dark Lantrip, 85, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Friday, October 07, 2011 from the comfort of daughter’s home. Mrs. Lantrip was born in Marlowe, OK on February 10, 1926 to Cordia Stallons Dark and Ralph Jacob Dark.

Mrs. Lantrip found great joy in music. She was music major at McNeese State University for two years, taught piano lessons to many, enjoyed singing in a sextet in college.

Mrs. Lantrip was a lifelong member of Trinity Baptist Church. For many years she sang in the church choir and taught Sunday school. She treasured her Sunday school class, Bible Explorers, which was taught by her lifetime friend and sister-in-law, Adrienne Dark Robinson. She was an avid sports fan and her family's biggest cheerleader. She will be greatly missed.

She leaves to cherish her memory, her husband of 65 years, William W. Lantrip Jr. (91 years old) of Lake Charles; two sons, Keith and Janet Lantrip of Katy, TX, Kenneth and Sherry Kaye Lantrip of Ruston; four daughters; Lynda and John "Boo" Riche of Sulphur, Amy and Al Walsh of Vero Beach, FL, Beth and Bob Fontenot of Katy, TX and Cherilyn Lantrip of Houston, TX; 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Carolyn Ann Lantrip; her parents, one brother, Lanier Dark and one sister, Margaret Dwyer.

Funeral services will be at 1:00 PM Sunday, October 9, 2011 in the Johnson Funeral Home Chapel. Reverend Al Walsh, III will officiate. Visitation Saturday will be from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM. Visitation Sunday will be from 11:00 AM until the time of service in the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to Trinity Baptist Church, 1800 Country Club Road, Lake Charles, LA, 70605.

* * * * * * * * * * *

On July 6, 1964, former Ragin� Cajun Alvin Dark appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, as the manager of the San Francisco Giants. Dark and Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson are the only baseball players in Major League history to win the Rookie of the Year award for the entire League. In 1949, the American and National Leagues began awarding separate Rookie of the Year awards for their respective leagues. Dark later went on to manage the Oakland Athletics to a World Championship in 1974.

Image courtesy of sicovers.com

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Louisiana Legend, Alvin Dark
Alvin Ralph Dark, known to many as �the Swamp Fox�,
was a five-sport letterwinner at Southwestern Louisiana
Institute (SLI) from 1943-44. He lettered in football (1943),
basketball, track, golf and baseball (1944).
Dark was a halfback on the 1944 Oil Bowl Championship
team. He was on Louisiana-Lafayette�s 1944 baseball team
during World War II. Dark�s 1944 season was cut short
as he was one of eight players called up for duty on the
Asian war front. In his one season with SLI, Dark appeared
in six games, batting .462 with 12 hits. Prior to the 1943-
44 athletics season, Dark spent one year at Louisiana State
After returning home from World War II, Dark signed
a major league contract with the Boston (now Atlanta)
Braves. He was originally drafted by the Philadelphia (now
Oakland) A�s in the second round in 1945, but he declined
the invitation. In 1947, he returned to Lafayette to further
his education in SLI�s College of Education. He wanted to
play sports again for Louisiana-Lafayette, but he was unable
to because he had already signed a professional contract.
Instead, Dark helped coach the football team.
In 1946, Dark made his Major League debut with the
Boston Braves. He only had 13 at bats and was sent down
to the minor leagues, where he was named Minor League
Rookie of the Year. In 1948, however, Dark returned to the
majors in his fi rst full season and was named the 1948 ML
Rookie of the Year. Dark batted .322 with 4 homeruns and
48 runs batted in on 175 hits (39 doubles, 6 triples). Jackie
Robinson is the only other player in major league history to
be named Rookie of the Year of the entire major leagues. In
1951, Dark was traded to the New York Giants.
In 1951, Dark led the New York Giants to the NL Pennant,
but lost to the New York Yankees 4-2 in the World Series.
In 1954, the Giants fi nally won the World Series, blanking
the Cleveland Indians 4-0. Dark fi nished his 14-year playing
career with a .289 batting average with 127 homeruns and
757 runs batted in. He was a three-time National League All-
Star for the New York Giants in 1951, 1952 and 1954.
During the 1956 season, Dark was traded to the St. Louis
Cardinals. He remained with the club before joining the
Chicago Cubs in 1958. He began the 1960 season with
the Philadelphia Phillies before ending his career with his
original club - the Milwaukee (then-Boston) Braves.
In 1961, he returned to the organization that he
helped lead to the World Series, the now-San Francisco
Giants. In his fi rst year as manager, he led the Giants to
a third-place fi nish in the National League with an 85-
69 record. The following year, the Giants won the NL
Pennant with a 103-62 record. Just like 1951, Dark and
Giants succumbed to the Yankees, this time in seven
games. Dark fi nished his four-year stint as the Giants
skipper with a 366-277 record. In 1966, he began the
fi rst of his two-year stints with the Athletics. He led
Kansas City to a 126-155 record.
In 1968, he became the Cleveland Indians manager.
The Indians enjoyed only one winning season during
his four-year leadership.
Dark returned to the Athletics in 1974, this time in
Oakland. With players like Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue
and Catfi sh Hunter, Dark led the Athletics to the World
Series Championship in his fi rst year as the A�s manager.
Oakland defeated the Dodgers in an All-California World
Series 4-1.
In 1975, Oakland lost to Boston in the American
League Championship Series.
Dark fi nished his managerial career with the San
Diego Padres in 1977.
Dark won two World Series championships - in 1954 with
the New York Giants and 1974 with the Oakland A�s. He was
a three-time all-star as a player (1951-52, 1954) and a twotime
all-star manager (1963, 1975).

Provided by Chris Yandle, Sports Information, from the 2006 Baseball Media Guide
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Alvin Dark: Unheralded Cajun star celebrated

Al Dark played one season for football team

Dan McDonald

He is known best nationally for a solid and storied 14-year playing career in major league baseball, much of it during the heyday of the New York/San Francisco Giants, and a major league managing career that included a World Series title and a pennant for those same Giants.
But South Louisiana sports buffs and long, long, long-time UL athletic fans know Al Dark very differently. To them, he's the "Swamp Fox" ... a member of what many historians consider the greatest football team in the university's history.

Now, 63 years after Dark's escapades became legendary for then-SLI's undefeated and Oil Bowl champion team in 1943, he's being recognized for those achievements.

Dark, now 84, will be in Lafayette for two days of activities including a private Friday night reception, and he will be honored Saturday during the UL-UL Monroe football contest at Cajun Field.
"He's never really been recognized by the university," said Pat McDonald, one of the organizers of the weekend's activities. "It's about time we honor him, for everything he did here."

UL baseball coach Tony Robichaux will make a presentation to Dark during Saturday's football game.

"We realized he'd never really been honored," said Hebert, who was able to reach Dark and the weekend's other particulars. "It was time to set that right."

Dark played halfback at LSU in 1942 and ran for 433 yards and a 7.2 rushing average, before going to then-SLI for the 1943-44 school year as part of the V-12 program. V-12 was initiated by the U.S. Navy in 1943 to meet a need for commissioned officers called to duty in World War II.

Even his one college year was cut short, when he was one of eight SLI baseball players called up before the spring season's end for duty on the Pacific front.

But in those few months, Dark made a huge impact on the Lafayette school.

The Comanche, Okla., native led the war-torn SLI team to a 4-0-1 regular-season record and to a berth in the inaugural Oil Bowl in Houston. There, the then-Bulldogs extracted revenge on Arkansas A&M, the team that had blemished the regular-season record with a tie, with a 24-7 win.

In that game, Dark ran for a touchdown and passed for another from his tailback slot, kicked three extra points and a field goal.

During his short stay on campus, he also lettered in basketball, track, golf and baseball, where he hit .461 before his season was prematurely ended.

It was in baseball that he became a nationally-known figure, even though he was drafted by the Philadelphia franchise of the fledgling NFL in 1945. After the war ended, he returned to Lafayette.

He did help coach the football team and eventually completed work on his education degree before going to the major leagues full-time for the 1948 season.

That year, he was named Rookie of the Year for the Giants, and eventually became a three-time All-Star pick in 1951-52 and 1954.

The most famous of his 1,828 major league games came at the end of the 1951 season, when his ninth-inning single started the Giants' rally that culminated in the "Shot Heard 'Round the World," Bobby Thompson's famous pennant-winning homer. Dark scored on a teammate's hit one batter before Thompson's legendary hit.

Originally published Nov. 30, 2006

AN Footnote: For additional information on Alvin Dark, please visit http://www.raginpagin.com/hotpage/showthread.php3?t=203
Compliments of Jon Robertson (Turbine)
Baseball:  1944
Basketball- (M):  1944
Coaches:  1947
Cross Country, Track & Field - (M&W):  1944
Football:  1943
Golf:  1944
Military Veteran:  1943, 1944, 1945