January 6, 1918: John Corriden
The son of a five-year MLB veteran Red Corriden, John Corriden faced an uphill climb to the major leagues. Making his first professional appearance with the D-League Olean Oilers at 23 years old, Corriden hit .326, which earned him a promotion to the C-League, where he suited up for the Dayton Ducks during the 1942 season.
Over the next several seasons, he worked his way up to Double-A where he spent part of 1943 and all of 1944 & 1945 with the Montreal Royals where Jackie Robinson would follow him just a year later. Like Robinson would, Corriden got a chance with the Dodgers, just one year before Robinson broke the color barrier.
On April 20, 1946 the Dodgers hosted the rival New York Giants in front of nearly 30,000 fans at Ebbets Field. In just the fourth game of the season, Brooklyn came up to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 5-4. Dick Whitman singled and Billy Herman walked, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. As the go-ahead run, the not-so-swift-of-foot Herman was replaced with a pinch runner. Out trotted Corriden to first base to play an active part in a big-league game for the first time in his life.
After a groundout and intentional walk made it bases loaded with one out, Eddie Stanky singled to right field, which tied the score and left Corriden at third base. The next batter, Augie Galan, changed that with one swing of the bat. His single scored Corriden and Carl Furillo to give the Dodgers a 7-5 lead late. As Corriden touched home plate, he tallied his first career run without ever coming to the plate. As it turns out, he would never come to the plate in a big-league game.
Howie Schultz replaced Corriden playing first base and batting second for the remainder of the game. With that, Corriden could only watch from the dugout as the rest of the game's drama unfolded. New York managed a comeback to knot things up at eight entering the bottom of the ninth. With two on, two out Whitman came through with a walk-off single to send the fans home happy after witnessing a 9-8 Dodger victory.
Despite being utilized as a bench utility player early in the season, Corriden was jettisoned back to the minor leagues shortly thereafter and faced an uphill battle in getting back. The 28-year-old clearly wasn't going to be an everyday player, but forced to toil in the minors, it seemed like he may never return to baseball's biggest stage like his dad experienced for several years. Corriden played in Triple-A Jersey City as a member of the rival New York Giants organization the following year before taking 1948 off.
It appeared as though that might be his last hurrah, but he made a comeback in 1949 where he played for the D-League Salisbury Pirates and two Independent League teams. Just one year later, his dad Red became the Chicago White Sox manager for more than 120 games in a seemingly interim role. His dad, both as a player and manager, was able to experience the major leagues for an extended period of time. Though he never got to bat and was only the base paths for mere minutes, Corriden can still say what his dad can: he played in the major leagues. No matter the hard and unsuccessful path back, nobody can ever take that away from him.