Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MLB Player sues LAPD and loses

The case I am about to relate to you stems from a police case of mistaken identity and the victim was major league baseball player, Don Rudolph. In 1963 Rudolph was a pitcher with the Washington Senators. He had signed his contract for 1964 and after the incident signed his 1965 contract for $7,000. As stated in the court papers this was a 40% cut in salary. Rudolph blames this on the incident I am about to relay here.

It began in December 1963 when Don, his wife Patti Waggin, their child Julina and Patti's brother Al Hardwicke, his wife Mary, child and a relative named "Borden  Anderson," were at Don's home on Index Street in Granada Hills. If I am not mistaken Borden was a relative also known as "Scootchie" in letters I have written by Patti during her life.

At about 9:00 at night on December 5th, according to Don's testimony in court papers, Police officers (detectives) burst into the home without warrants, entered "wrongfully and with force," and the police "cursed, manhandled and berated" Don and Al. Finally they were "forcibly taken from this home and taken to two police stations, detained, interrogated, threatened and ultimately released."

Furthermore the testimony follows "All conduct was done in the presence of women and children, causing great fear, hysteria, upset and pandemonium." As a result they were compelled to seek medical treatment and continue to do so." Another key is as follows;

"In addition, Mr. Rudolph suffered injury to his left shoulder and arm, which may affect his occupation as a major league professional baseball player to the total damages of $500,000."

Don was a left handed pitcher. Don sued for half a million dollars in damages and another half million in punitive damages. He seems to claim his 1965 contract reflects the incident in one way or another. He goes on to say it now takes him "longer to warm up" and he must throw all year round to keep his arm loose. Whether this is true or not, it makes a great point for the suit. At any rate MLB at the time would have sided likely with law enforcement and Don may have been an outcast at the major league level.

As it was, Don never pitched in 1965 in the big leagues. His 1963 season, he was a workhorse throwing nearly 175 innings but lost 19 games for a lousy team. In 1964 he was 1-3, mainly in relief pitching only 70 innings. His brother told me they wanted to send him back to the minor leagues but he refused and was released. He was only 34. There might be some thinking the incident reflected on his status in MLB at the time.

We have tried to reach out to his lawyer at the time to get a feel for what Don was really thinking and if he wanted to pursue this as it happened. The lawyer refuses to talk to us. He has had his own issues with the state bar over the years. In his suit, Don named both police officers, Chief Parker, and two other uniformed officers as well as the City of Los Angeles.

There is a lot of confusion because the police report, while granting this was a case of mistaken identity, claimed a lot less violent confrontation.In court documents the defense testifies they were actually polite and did not burst in but "rang the doorbell" and were "admitted."

Furthermore, Don claims they were fingerprinted and photographed and the FBI and the State Bureau of Investigation held those photos. Don wanted them back because he didn't want, as a professional ballplayer, those photographs or mug shots circulating. He was right in demanding that but wrong in his assumption. Police records show he was never the subject of a mug shot. Don later admits in sworn testimony he assumed he was photographed but later learned he was part of "a line up."

In reality, what happened was a true case of mistaken identity. The cops were looking for two white men in a bunco fraud scheme involving the sale and licensing of fire extinguishers and later cosmetics. The two men fit the description of Don and Al. The fact Al was a convicted felon didn't help matters. The fact Don screamed at them he was a major league pitcher with the Washington Senators during the incident, didn't give police cause to believe him either.

The cops waited in a stake out across the street from the Rudolph home on a tip and their own investigative work (which evidently wasn't as good as they thought it was). A car came home shortly before 9:00 and Don got out and went into his house. Shortly thereafter while the Rudolph's and the Hardwicke's were enjoying a night watching television and snacking, the police came to the door.

Don's own handwritten notes (which I have) explain in detail how they busted into the room without a warrant, made accusations, threw him to the ground and handcuffed them both.  Both in total contrast to the police who say they questioned the two men directly before handcuffing them while they were standing up. They state they cuffed Hardwicke "in front," which in itself is unusual but maybe not for the day.

In the end the judge (no jury trial which seems odd) sided with the police. In 1965 Los Angeles this is not out of the ordinary. It was under Chief William Parker's regime. Parker is one of the least respected police chief's around.

The judge let the cops off Scott free and ordered Don to pay their court costs of $353.00.  The judge said his injuries were not significant, they were not fingerprinted or photographed, and they were not held illegally and were released in a couple of hours when it was realized they were not the crooks the cops were really looking for. Sort of a no-harm no-foul situation.

Don on the other hand was crying foul for everything from his injuries to false arrest and imprisonment. Certainly being hauled away in a police car in front of friends and neighbors in a quiet community, was not how he wanted to be remembered. It took a year almost to the day of the incident to get a final court ruling from Judge Aubrey Irwin of the Superior Court of Los Angeles...December 21st, 1965.

Don got nothing for his injury, except it looks like some insurance coverage and he never again pitched in the big leagues, or the minors for that fact. He was killed three years later in a trucking accident in the San Fernando Valley at age 37.

It is a sad case and there are still some questions left open which I believe his attorney at the time could answer. He won't talk to me however despite numerous attempts. He is in his 80's but still has an office.

The difference in today's world and 1965. I have reported on numerous cases recently with multi-million dollar settlements for much less than happened here. The bottom line is the city and the county today won't fight in court if they feel they can get off much cheaper by settling than paying legal fees. If the city had settled for half a million with Don Rudolph today it would have just gone away. Instead, the city got $353 which Rudolph had to pay, plus his own attorney fees.

The world has changed since 1965 and while back then few people would know about the case (very small write up in the LA Times when it was filed), today Don's face, and especially former burlesque queen and wife Patti Waggin, would have been plastered all over every station in the world. He might have even won at that point.





Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lancer's China Adventure

No, Lancer is not going to China, he's still in the West in the latest book, "The Santa Fe Affair."

Lancer's challenge in the third novel in the series "Lancer; Hero of the West" is to rescue a little boy and his father from the likes of former KKK members who run a small town in New Mexico. The pivot here is the little boy's mother was the daughter of a Chinese war lord and a Santa Fe rancher. The mother died in child birth.

Since the Klan doesn't like any ethnicity, and was particularly violent during it's early days, the little boy and his father are in real danger. Lancer is summoned. Throw in the fact the Chinese war lord is coming to America with a small army to regain his grandson, you have an international adventure where Lancer must sort things out.

The Santa Fe Affair actually takes place mostly in the town of El Macho. El Macho was a real place along the Pecos River about 14 miles from present day Santa Fe. We did take some historical license with the city. We searched graveyard records for names and brought in some legendary figures as we always do.

Two of the characters who play smaller parts were borrowed from other fiction, with credit, and honor as we really loved these characters. The cover of the book has some historical significance as well. Two local stores in the San Fernando Valley were nice enough to let us photograph some of their hardware which fit the theme of the book. We also gave them credit in the beginning.

We hope you enjoy this latest adventure of Lancer: Hero of the West and we look forward to the next adventure; The El Paso Affair.

Don't forget to join us at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival April 22-23. I'll be in the Buckeroo Bookstore selling and signing my books along with other authors from 1:30 to closing each day. C'mon out, enjoy some cowboy coffee and the best peach cobbler you've ever eaten. You'll need to stand in a long line for that though.

You can purchase paperbacks either on-line or at my website www.bobbrillbooks.com.

You can also buy it on-line in the Kindle download version by clicking here.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Santa Fe Affair is "LIVE"

We are "LIVE" with the latest Lancer; Hero of the West novel called "the Santa Fe Affair," in which Lancer takes on injustice at every level.


You can pick up a copy on Amazon at this link or you can purchase from my own website which is www.bobbrillbooks.com

Stay tuned for more.

I will also be signing books at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival in Santa Clarita at Hart Park in old Newhall on April 22-23 and will be there about 1:30pm each day. C'mon out and enjoy the fun. More to come.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Lancer; Hero of the West book coming next month

Finally, heh?

I've had several readers ask when is the next installment in the "Lancer; Hero of the West" novel series coming and the answer is before the end of April. I promised I'd have the new book out before the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival April 22-23. The book is in final editing now and the cover has been approved as well as the back cover so we're off and running.

I should have the final edits in place by the second week in April if not sooner and the on-line version will be available immediately after that. The soft cover or paperback versions will be available within 10 days, but definitely in time for the Santa Clarita event.

At that event, I will be there both of the afternoons starting about 1:30 after getting off work at KNX at noon. The drive to Santa Clarita and Hart Pack, traffic permitting, usually takes about an hour. I'll have the previous two books as well as the new one and for those interested I'll have copies of "Tales of My Baseball Youth" as well.

All books will be $10 at the event and for those desiring all three of the Lancer novels, I will offer a special onsite promotion of the three book trilogy for $25. This will be limited because I will have only a limited number of books to sell.

For those not going to the event, if you would like to pre-order a paperback from me, just send me an email to brillpro@gmail.com. This will give me an idea of how many books to have on hand. It is helpful. Thank you in advance.

The third Lancer book, "The Santa Fe Affair" really takes Lancer on his normal course but is much more. Lancer tackles a great deal of social injustice in this book from all corners of the world. I think you will find it interesting. The book is a little bit shorter than the previous Lancer books as well.

Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

BASEBALL TRIVIA #4


Baseball Trivia #4

In 1888, he led the league with a 35–12 record, 1.74 ERA and 335K's winning 19 straight games. Who was he?

1. Tim Keefe
2.Cy Young
3.Pete Alexander
4. Christy Mathewson

Answer: 1 Tim Keefe who won 342 games in his career and was known for pitching both sides of a double header. In 1964 he was elected to the Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

BASEBALL TRIVIA #3

BASEBALL TRIVIA #3


While I am hard at work on the next Lancer book "The Santa Fe Affair" the 2017 baseball season is fast approaching. Spring Training is here and here is the next baseball trivia question.

My hope is to put a new baseball trivia question up each day on Twitter and Facebook with the answer provided here. No points, not prizes but just a lot of fun. Come back daily for a new answer to the posted question. Thanx for joining me and have fun...

Trivia question #3



He never won more than 8 games and finished 30-52 pitching for 8 teams but what was Sleepy Bill Burns was better known for?

a. 2 no-hitters
b. Black Sox Scandal
c. 3 Wild pitches in inning
d. ran bases backwards

The answer:A key figure in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal it was Burns, probably under the direction of gambler Arnold Rothstein, who offered players money to throw the World Series.

Monday, February 27, 2017

BASEBALL TRIVIA POST 2

NEW TRIVIA POST BASEBALL #2

While I am hard at work on the next Lancer book "The Santa Fe Affair" the 2017 baseball season is fast approaching. Spring Training is here and here is the next baseball trivia question.

My hope is to put a new baseball trivia question up each day on Twitter and Facebook with the answer provided here. No points, not prizes but just a lot of fun. Come back daily for a new answer to the posted question. Thanx for joining me and have fun...

Trivia question #2

Name the Oscar won for the 1943 film Pride of the Yankees.

a. Best Picture
b. Best Actor
c. Best Script
d. Film Editing

The answer: Best Film Editing. The film, the story of NY Yankee great Lou Gehrig's life, was nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor/Actress, Screenplay and several others but NOT Best Director. The acting nominations were for Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright. Sadly it only took home ONE Academy Award but remains a fan favorite on many levels.