The Brooklyn Dodgers had great teams in the immediate postwar years, teams that would win pennants or fight for them until the last day of the season (and sometimes beyond). No team can be successful, though, without a significant presence behind the plate. In the early part of the 1946 season, the Dodgers were struggling to find that presence. Manager Leo Durocher knew the men he had—Ferrell Anderson and Don Padgett—were not the answer. Durocher was desperate to trade for a catcher, even approaching the Cardinals’ manager, Eddie Dyer. Dyer demurred, telling Leo he was not going to help his closest rival.
Sometimes the trade not made is the best move, and such was the case for Durocher and the Dodgers in 1946. Forced to go to their farm system, Brooklyn called up young Bruce Edwards from their Mobile (Alabama) team in the Class DoubleA Southern Association. Edwards, fresh from Military service and mature beyond his years, would be just what Leo needed, solidifying the defense and contributing greatly to the Dodgers’ successes of 1946 and 1947.
Charles Bruce Edwards was born in Quincy, Illinois, on July 15, 1923, to Wade and Elsie Edwards. Wade was a truck driver and Elsie a housewife. The family moved to Sacramento, California, in time for Bruce to attend Sacramento High School.
Bruce Edwards finished fourth in the voting for the National
League’s Most Valuable Player Award, the highest-rated
Dodgers scouts Tom Downey and Bill Svilich signed the seventeen-year-old Edwards in 1941 at a tryout camp in San Mateo, California. The Dodgers sent him to the Santa Barbara Saints of the Class C California League. Edwards, a righthanded hitter, batted .259 with 10 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 home run in fifty-three games. After a brief stay with Santa Barbara in 1942, where he was converted from an outfielder to a catcher, he moved up to the Durham (North Carolina) Bulls of the Class B Piedmont League. It was the last professional baseball for Bruce Edwards for three years. Bruce enlisted in the army in January 1943