While the baseball season technically started last week, it doesn’t return to the nation’s capital until Thursday, April 5—the home opener for the Washington Nationals. Most likely, the team will be returning to Washington, DC, from Atlanta on a chartered flight.
The Cincinnati Reds were the first baseball team to fly charter to an away game in 1934 and the 1946 New York Yankees were the first team to fly charter for a full season. On July 5, 1940, Leo Durocher, player/manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers, posed in the cockpit of American Airlines’ DC-2 “Flagship Brooklyn.” Photographer Rudy Arnold was there to take a photograph of this event. Arnold’s incredible photography collection is now in the National Air and Space Museum Archives.
The photo was taken several years before Durocher uttered his most famous phrase: “Nice guys finish last." (Or did he?) Either way, in 1940, Durocher’s guys finished second in the National League to the Cincinnati Reds, their best finish in sixteen years.
Regardless of where your favorite team of “nice guys” ends up this baseball season, there are definitely plenty of charter flights in their future!