American baseball player
Died when: 72 years 305 days (874 months)
Star Sign: Sagittarius
Walter Emmons Alston (December 1, 1911 – October 1, 1984), nicknamed "Smokey", was an American baseball player and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). He is best known for managing the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1954 through 1976, and signed 23 one-year contracts with the team. He had a calm, reticent demeanor, for which he was sometimes also known as "The Quiet Man." Alston grew up in rural Ohio and lettered in baseball and basketball at Miami University in Oxford. Though his MLB playing career consisted of only one game, two innings played, and one at-bat with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1936, Alston spent 19 years in minor league baseball as a player (1935–1939 and 1943), player-manager (1940–1942, 1944–1947) and non-playing manager (1948–1953). His service included a stint as skipper of the 1946 Nashua Dodgers, the first U.S.-based integrated professional team in modern baseball. He was promoted to manage the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 after six successful seasons with Brooklyn's Triple-A teams, the St. Paul Saints and Montreal Royals. As a major league manager, Alston led Dodger teams to seven National League (NL) pennants and four world championships. His 1955 team was the only World Series championship team while the club was in Brooklyn; they clinched the NL pennant earlier in the calendar year than any previous pennant winner in league history. Alston retired with more than 2,000 career wins and managed NL All-Star teams to seven victories. He was selected as Manager of the Year six times. Alston was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. He suffered a heart attack that year, was hospitalized for a month and was unable to attend his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He never fully recovered and died at a hospital in Oxford, Ohio, on October 1, 1984.