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Hall of Fame--A Major Leaguer

September 2000
BY ERIK CAGLE


The Cleveland Indians baseball team may have the commercial printing industry to blame for having one less star player.

Dave Bracken, president of The Press of Ohio and a 2000 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee, was a pretty good player in his heyday, at least good enough to set a hitting record for his college team. He played alongside and against future major leaguers such as Mike Hershberger and Bill Halter, and was even offered a professional contract following a tryout at old Cleveland Stadium. Alas, a career in pro baseball was not meant to be, according to Bracken.

"When I graduated from college, I looked at pro baseball, but I realized that the competition was taller, faster and better," notes Bracken, who was elected into the Mount Union College Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 and Star County Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

Thus, he would not become the next Dale Mitchell, and the Indians were doomed to suffer through three more decades of losing, the polar opposite of what became of David Bracken. He eventually made it to the Hall of Fame without the help of baseball. Rather, it was his work with Danner Press, The Press of Ohio and 38 years of industry experience, not his batting average, that has earned him kudos.

Both baseball—sports in general—and printing were critical elements in Bracken's formative years in Akron, OH. His father, Fred, was one of the founders of Danner Press, and the younger Bracken started working there during summers at the age of 12. One of his earliest memories there proved to be unpleasant; as he was cleaning scrap off the inserting machines, he managed to lose his day's pay of 75 cents while playing around the scrap.

Warming Up
Bracken stuck with commercial printing after graduating from Mount Union College in 1961 with a BA in business. He took a position in the prep department working the 4 to 12 shift for $220 a week, which was decent money at the time. This was good, since he'd just graduated and his wife was expecting their first child.

At this point, Bracken had a tough decision to make. He saw an opportunity to take a customer service job, which could be a gateway into more of a managerial position (not to mention offering a straight day shift). But the pay scale was virtually cut in half, from $220 to $115 a week. Much like his decision to forego baseball, Bracken considered the long-term benefits of such a move over the short-term, instant gratification of making more money. Staying put was not taking the direction he envisioned career-wise.

 

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