A Few More Stories On A Legendary Team

A couple follow-ups to yesterday’s story on the Crenshaw Post 715 American Legion baseball team.

The coach, Benny Lefebvre, ran a summer baseball camp on Catalina Island in the 1950’s. Catalina, which was owned by William Wrigley, had its own private security at the time.

One day, Benny wanted to use the facilities. A warden said no and started giving Lefebvre a hard time. They went into a shed. The warden came out of the shed with a bloody nose and Lefebvre got what he wanted.

  • Decades later, in 1980, Tommy Lasorda and Jim Lefebvre (Benny’s son) were guests on a show at KNBC in Burbank. Lasorda had fired Lefebvre the year before as Dodgers’ hitting coach and Jim Lefebvre had been hired by the San Francisco Giants.

The pair were not supposed to meet during the taping but ran into each other on an empty sound stage. Lasorda started yelling and cursing at Lefebvre, took off his coat and pulled his arm back. Lefebvre decked him and cut Lasorda’s lip.

Lasorda claimed he was sucker punched. “He’s right. It was the sucker who got punched,” Lefebvre said.

Another version I heard is that Lefebvre said, “(Lasorda) didn’t bleed Dodger Blue that day.”

  • Dean Stockwell was a child star who was about 15 years old and went to all the Crenshaw Post 715 games. One day, the team publicist (who was all of 17-18 years old himself) drove Stockwell to a game.

Stockwell told the publicist about the movie he made the previous year, “Kim” with the legendary actor, Errol Flynn, and told of his first encounter.

Stockwell was around 13 at the time and walked onto the set the first day with his mother and studio teacher, a 63-year-old woman with white hair.

Flynn saw the young Stockwell and said, “Hi. Have you had your first (encounter with a woman) yet?”

His mother and the teacher were speechless. Stockwell didn’t answer because he didn’t know what the profane one-word term Flynn used actually meant.

Image result for kim movie poster 1951

12 thoughts on “A Few More Stories On A Legendary Team

  1. Just googled Catalina baseball field. It was the Cubs spring training site for a bit. It’s been a while since I have been there, I didn’t think there was enough flat ground for a field. Good work Scott.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, real fun post. For all his polemics, Scott still has a deep love for sports and sports lore. Not sure there’s anybody around that equals him when he’s up to this stuff.
      [It’s a lot to ask for….and the conditions would have to be just right…..but I’d love it if there were someway the Benny Lefebvre/Warden story could get re-enacted with Clay and Deontay during spring ball].
      btw, It musta been tough for Errol Flynn to live up to his image 24/7. He knew he was Hollywood’s bad boy ….and he never wanted to let anybody down. Anyone who titles his autobiography “My Wicked, Wicked Ways” is going out of his way to please [the second “Wicked” being the ‘tell’]……

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t recall Dodger hitting that year was the major problem…looked up stats and Dodgers finished second in runs per game that year in the NL. The issue had more to do with the pitching.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. 67 I am counting down the days until Dodger baseball fires up again. Last year was unbelievably fun. I honestly believe Mookie is the best Dodger baseball player of my lifetime.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I attended that Lefebvre baseball camp on Catalina Island. However, it later became Jim Lefebvre baseball camp when Jim was with the Dodgers from 1965 to I believe 1970.. Jim, would visit the camp on Dodger day offs, but Benny did most of the instruction. Some of the best best talent in Southern California attended that camp from ages 9 to 15, and boy Benny was one of the great hitting instructors of all time, and played a major part in my development from a 10 year kid into a high school, college, and major league player. Jimmy, and his brother Tippy were both great guys as was his father who later coached at St. Bernards high school in Playa del Rey where Jimmy lived while he was with the Dodgers. Those were great times attending baseball camp on Catalina Island.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I attended Jim Lefebvre baseball camp when I was nine years old. That what it was called. We were dropped off in San Diego area and bused to a place near the Mexican border, near Boulevard, California. The brochure showed shade trees, there were only a couple of Oak Trees, and fishing too, which consisted of trying a piece of ham to a string, no hooks. I was disappointed, I like fishing. When we got to the cabins that housed the kids, the counselors had not showed up, and we Teepeed one of the cabins
      and we broke the lid to our counselors listerine bottle. Why the counselors weren’t there to greet us was a mystery. After that, the counselors decided we needed discipline, and they made us do tons of exercises and pick up big rocks and put them in a pile. I resisted and demanded I call my parents. The one practice field was sand infield, but the main field had newly planted grass they were watering. Eventually,
      the competition began, and we started playing baseball, and it was great.
      There was a small man made lake/pond, with two hills of giant boulders where
      we played capture the flag. We were made to walk to the showers in the dark, despite seeing a tanrantula, and my friend from my hometown, had a scorpion in his chest in the bunk house. In in the end, it was a great camp. The only 8 track tape they had they played over and over was the best of the Guess Who. I have photos of the camp in storage. Oh, when I went to a Dodger Game, and mentioned the camp to Jim, he didn’t seem like he knew of it. Who knows. Would love to hear from others. There was a great left handed pitcher whose dad was a producer for game shows. Oh man did I smash one off of him. Ok, well, there’s absolutely nothing on this camp online. Thought I’d share. In March of 23′, when I get to my storage, I can share some of the photos.


  3. Whenever Anderson took on a managers job, he hired Consolo as a coach. Consolo got 10 years in the majors strictly as a utility infielder and of course running for Ted Williams. He played for the Angels a short stint. Both were starters on the Dorsey Basketball team. Dorsey also had Conrad Burke and Nolan Johnson who both won scholarships to UCLA. Burke was a 2 year starter and Johnson backed up Willie Naulls. In spite of that Dorsey had an average team because of poor coaching.

    Liked by 1 person

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