A First For American Baseball — Baltimore Orioles Play Game To An Empty Stadium — Thugs Win! — Baltimore Loses! — Videos

Posted on April 29, 2015. Filed under: American History, Baseball, Blogroll, College, Education, Faith, Family, Heroes, history, Law, liberty, Links, Money, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Sports, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

USA: Orioles face White Sox in empty stadium, first in MLB history

No fans? Play ball! Orioles start their crowd-less game

Camden Yards Empty As Orioles Face White Sox

Take Me Out To The Ball Game –

Mother Goose Club Rhymes for Kids

1955 World Series Highlights | Brooklyn Dodgers vs New York Yankees

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The Last Brooklyn Dodger and Baseball Hall of Famer Duke Snider Dies At Age 84–Videos

Posted on February 28, 2011. Filed under: Baseball, Blogroll, liberty, Life, Links, media, Sports, Talk Radio, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/edb/reader.html?magID=SI&issueDate=19550627&mode=reader_vault

“In the split second from the time the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand until it reaches the plate you have to think about your stride, your hip action, your wrist action, determine how much, if any the ball is going to break and then decide whether to swing at it.”

~Duke Snider

Hall of Famer Duke Snider Dies

 

Duke Snider

 

Duke Snider Induction Speech

 

Duke Snider: In His Own Words

 

1955 – Seven Days Of Fall, DVD Preview

 

The Dream of ’55

 

Branch Rickey

 

Jackie Robinson: A Life Story

 

Carl Erskine Remembers

Carl Erskine Remembers II

 

Carl Erskine Remembers III

 

Brooklyn Dodgers Batboy

 

 

The Lost Ball Parks: Ebbets Field

 

Until 1958, New York City had three baseball teams, the New York Yankees, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Since I was born in Brooklyn, New York, I was naturally a Brooklyn Dodger fan as a kid growing up in the 1950s on Long Island.

Like most kids I played little league baseball and was a left fielder and cheered for fellow left fielder Sandy Amoros who made the memorable catch and throw in the 1955 World Series that Brooklyn won over the New York Yankees:

1955 World Series Highlights (Brooklyn Dodgers vs NYY)

I also drank chocolate flavored Ovaltine in a rocket cup:

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT DUKE SNIDER OVALTINE COMMERCIAL

Duke Snider was one of the greatest center fielders and the last of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

May he rest in peace.

The Brooklyn Dodgers while called Dem Bums will always be winners and America’s team especially to those from Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Dodgers

 

Dave Van Horne recalls Duke Snider

Brooklyn Dodger

“We wept, Brooklyn was a lovely place to hit. If you got a ball in the air, you had a chance to get it out. When they tore down Ebbets Field, they tore down a little piece of me.”

~Duke Snider

A girl from Brooklyn sings two for the Duke and the memories of the many boys who followed the boys of summer.

Barbra Streisand – HD STEREO – Memory

Barbra Streisand – The Way We Were

 

Background Articles and Videos

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers
Most Games by Position

C Roy Campanella (121)
1B Gil Hodges (139)
2B Jim Gilliam (99)
3B Jackie Robinson (84)
SS Pee Wee Reese (142)
LF Sandy Amoros (102)
CF Duke Snider (146)
RF Carl Furillo (139)
   
SP Carl Erskine
SP Billy Loes
SP Don Newcombe
SP Johnny Podres
   
RP Don Bessent
RP Jim Hughes
RP Clem Labine
CL Ed Roebuck

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers
Uniform Numbers

#1 Pee Wee Reese
#4 Duke Snider
#6 Carl Furillo
#8 George Shuba
#10 Rube Walker
#12 Frank Kellert
#14 Gil Hodges
#15 Sandy Amoros
#17 Carl Erskine
#18 Jim Hughes
#19 Jim Gilliam
#23 Don Zimmer
#27 Bob Borkowski
#27 Tommy Lasorda
#28 Chuck Templeton
#30 Billy Loes
#32 Sandy Koufax
#34 Russ Meyer
#36 Don Newcombe
#37 Ed Roebuck
#39 Roy Campanella
#40 Roger Craig
#41 Clem Labine
#42 Jackie Robinson
#43 Don Hoak
#45 Johnny Podres
#46 Don Bessent
#48 Karl Spooner
#49 Joe Black
#49 Walt Moryn
#51 Bert Hamric
#54 Dixie Howell

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/roster.php?y=1955&t=BRO

Dem Bums: The Brooklyn Dodgers

 

What’s my Line?  Duke Snider

 

Duke Snider and Sal Maglie–What’s My Line?

 

Branch Rickey–What’s My Line

What’s my Line? Jackie Robinson

 

Ohio Wesleyan alumnus Branch Rickey (1904) and the Branch Rickey-Jackie Robinson Legacy

 

Duke Snider


Last Out at Ebbetts Field

 

Saying Goodbye Ebbets Field

 

An Ebbets Field Story

 

New York Baseball Lost

 

Ebbets Field Model

 

Ebbets Field Model at Night

 

Hall-of-Famer Duke Snider, the last surviving regular of the ‘Boys of Summer’ Dodgers, dead at 84

“…Now there are none.

Hall of Famer Duke Snider, the last of the surviving starting 8 of the 1950s “Boys of Summer” Dodgers, whose prolific home runs and center field prowess earned him royalty status in Brooklyn and immortalization in one of baseball’s most famous ballads, died Sunday in Escondido, Calif., of natural causes. He was 84.

Snider, who died at the Valle Vista Convalescent Hospital, had been in ill health the last couple of years from diabetes. With his death, all the regular position players – catcher Roy Campanella, first baseman Gil Hodges, second baseman Junior Gilliam, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, third baseman Billy Cox, right fielder Carl Furillo and Jackie Robinson, a regular at several positions – are now gone. They played on those star-crossed Dodger teams that won six NL pennants but just one World Series in Brooklyn from 1947-1957. Robinson, Reese and Campanella also are enshrined in Cooperstown. …”

“…In six World Series with the Dodgers, five of them in Brooklyn and one in Los Angeles, Snider hit .286 with 11 homers and 26 RBI in 36 games. He is the only player in history to hit four homers in two different Series, having accomplished that feat in ’52 and ’55, both against the Yankees. For his career, Snider hit .295, with 2,116 hits, 407 homers and 1,333 RBI in 2,143 games. He also slugged .540, had five straight 40-plus homer seasons and six 100-RBI seasons, including a league-leading 136 in 1955. He won a home run title with 43 in 1956 and led the NL in runs scored three consecutive seasons, 1953-55.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2011/02/27/2011-02-27_halloffamer_duke_snider_the_last_surviving_regular_of_the_boys_of_summer_dodgers.html

 

Duke Snider

Edwin DonaldDukeSnider (September 19, 1926 – February 27, 2011), nicknamed “The Silver Fox” and “The Duke of Flatbush”, was a Major League Baseball center fielder and left-handed batter who played with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1947–62), New York Mets (1963), and San Francisco Giants (1964).

Snider was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.

Born in Los Angeles, Snider was nicknamed “Duke” by his father at age five.[1] Growing up in Southern California, Snider was a gifted all-round athlete, playing basketball, football, and baseball at Fallbrook High School. He was a strong-armed quarterback, who could reportedly throw the football 70 yards on the fly. Spotted by one of Branch Rickey’s scouts in the early 1940s, he was signed to a baseball contract out of high school in 1943.[1]He played briefly for the Montreal Royals of the International League in 1944 (batting twice) and for Newport News in the Piedmont League in the same year. After serving in the military in 1945, he came back to play for the Fort Worth Cats in 1946 and for St. Paul in 1947. He played well and earned a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers later that year. He started the next season (1948) with Montreal, and after hitting well in that league with a .327 batting average, he was called up to Brooklyn for good during the middle of the season.

In 1949 Snider came into his own, hitting 23 home runs with 92 runs batted in, helping the Dodgers into the World Series. Snider also saw his average rise from .244 to .292. In 1950 he hit .321. But when his average slipped to .277 in 1951, and the Dodgers squandered a 13-game lead to lose the National League pennant to the New York Giants, Snider received heavy media criticism and requested a trade.

“I went to Walter O’Malley and told him I couldn’t take the pressure,” Snider was quoted in the September 1955 issue of SPORT magazine. “I told him I’d just as soon be traded. I told him I figured I could do the Dodgers no good.”

From 1947 to 1956, Brooklyn ruled the National League, winning 6 of 10 pennants. They benefited greatly from a large network of minor league teams created by Branch Rickey in the early 40’s. It is here when the system called the “Dodger Way” of teaching fundamentals took root. From that large network of teams, a number of young talented players began to blossom at the same time: Snider, Gil Hodges, Carl Erskine, Ralph Branca, Clem Labine, Carl Furillo, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Joe Black, and Jim Gilliam. Most have been enshrined in Roger Kahn’s classic book, The Boys of Summer.

By 1949, Snider, as he matured, became the triggerman in a power-laden lineup which boasted the likes of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Billy Cox, Roy Campanella, Carl Erskine, Preacher Roe, Carl Furillo, Clem Labine and later with Joe Black. Often compared with two other New York center fielders, fellow Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, he was the reigning “Duke” of Flatbush. Usually batting third in the line-up, Snider put up some impressive offensive numbers: He hit 40 or more home runs in five consecutive seasons (1953–57), and averaged 42 home runs, 124 RBI, 123 runs, and a .320 batting average between 1953-1956. He led the league in runs scored, home runs, and RBIs in separate seasons. He appeared in six post-seasons with the Dodgers (1949, 1952–53, 1955–56, 1959), facing the New York Yankees in the first five and the Chicago White Sox in the last. The Dodgers won the World Series in 1955 and in 1959.

Snider’s career numbers took a dip when the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Coupled with an aching knee and a 440-foot right field fence at the cavernous Coliseum, Snider hit only 15 home runs in 1958. Injuries and age would eventually play a role in reducing Snider to part-time status by 1961.

In 1962, when the Dodgers led the NL for most of the season only to find themselves tied with the hated Giants at the season’s end, it was Snider and third base coach Leo Durocher who reportedly pleaded with Manager Walter Alston to bring future Hall of Fame pitcher (and Cy Young award winner that year) Don Drysdale into the ninth inning of the third and deciding play-off game. Instead, Alston brought in Stan Williams in relief of a tiring Eddie Roebuck. A 4-2 lead turned into a 6-4 loss as the Giants rallied to win the pennant. For his trouble, Snider was sold to the New York Mets. It is said that Drysdale, his roommate, broke down and cried when he got the news of Snider’s departure.

When Snider joined the Mets, he discovered that his familiar number 4 was being worn by Charlie Neal, who refused to give it up. So Snider wore number 11 during the first half of the season, then switched back to 4 after Neal was traded. He proved to be a sentimental favorite among former Dodger fans who now rooted for the Mets, but after one season, he asked to be dealt to a contending team.

Snider was sold to the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day in 1964. Knowing that he had no chance of wearing number 4, which had been worn by Mel Ott and retired by the Giants, Snider took number 28. He retired at the end of the that season.

In Snider’s 18-year career, he batted .295 with 407 home runs and 1,333 RBI in 2,143 games. Snider went on to become a popular and respected analyst and play-by-play announcer for the Montreal Expos from 1973 to 1986, characterized by a mellow, low-key style. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_Snider

 

KEISSER: From coast to coast, this loss is a bummer for all who follow Dodgers

“…He spent most of his career in Brooklyn, where he earned the “Duke of Flatbush” nickname, where he was one of the “Boys of Summer,” where he won the 1955 World Series, Brooklyn’s one and only, and where he became part of the New York center-field trilogy of “Willie, Mickey and the Duke.”

The passing of Duke Snider on Sunday morning at 84 is one of those moments when everyone associated with the national pastime feels some ache, be it a tear or a twinge. Baseball has lost a Hall of Famer and a two-coast icon who hit .295 with 407 home runs in his career, but his passing also means all seven everyday starters for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1949 to 1957 have died: Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Billy Cox, Carl Furillo and now Duke. …”

“…His years in Brooklyn were epic. He hit 316 home runs in his career there – nine years full-time, parts of two others – including 40 or more five straight years (53-57), an achievement neither Willie Mays nor Mickey Mantle ever matched.

He scored 100-plus runs six times and had 198 or more hits three times. He is the first National League player to hit four home runs in a World Series. He did it twice – 1952 and 1955 – the only player to do that. His 11 career World Series home runs is still the NL record and fourth all-time behind guys named Mantle, Ruth and Gehrig. He ranked eighth all-time in home runs when he retired.

Los Angeles never got to see the Duke Snider who played in Brooklyn. He was just 31 when the team moved to L.A. and the Coliseum. People joked about the short Chinese Wall in left field, but the real joke was on Snider.

He didn’t see the park layout until Opening Day – 425 feet to dead center field, expanding to 440 feet in right center and then 395 in straightaway right, before a quick ducktail to the foul pole that seemed to smirk at him when he played right field. Willie Mays saw it and said “Duke, they buried you.”

Snider hit just 15 home runs in 1958, and not one of them to right field at the Coliseum, an epic statistical anomaly.

If the Dodgers had never moved, or the right-field dimensions weren’t so absurd, Snider probably would have 500 career home runs rather than the 407 he ended with. But he never blamed the stadium.

“The Coliseum did take some away. I hit a lot of 400-foot outs,” Snider said. “But I can’t look at it that way. I lost a lot more to my knee injuries. If I had stayed healthy and been able to play every day until I was 37 instead of sporadically as I did, I might have reached those numbers. In 1958, I was probably 70 percent of the player I was in 1957.

“Injuries are part of the game. Mickey Mantle would have had more if not for a bad knee, and Sandy Koufax’s career was cut short by arthritis. I think my numbers are pretty good given what I dealt with those last years.” …”

Read more: http://www.sgvtribune.com/sports/ci_17498763#ixzz1FXztLzC6

Read more: http://www.sgvtribune.com/sports/ci_17498763#ixzz1FXydWE7Q

Sandy Amorós

Edmundo “Sandy” Amorós Isasi (January 30, 1930 – June 27, 1992) was a Cuban left fielder in Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers. Amorós was born in Havana. He both batted and threw left-handed. Dodgers scout Al Campanis signed him in 1951, struck by the small man’s speed.

Amorós, nicknamed for his resemblance to boxing champ Sandy Saddler, had a largely unremarkable major league career. However, his defining moment with the Brooklyn Dodgers was one of the most memorable events in World Series history. It was the sixth inning of the decisive Game 7 of the 1955 World Series. The Dodgers had never won a World Series in their history and were now trying to hold a 2-0 lead against their perennial rivals, the New York Yankees. The left-handed Amorós came into the game that inning as a defensive replacement, as the right-handed throwing Jim Gilliam moved from left field to second base in place of Don Zimmer. The first two batters in the inning reached base and Yogi Berra came to the plate. Berra, notorious for swinging at pitches outside the strike zone, hit an opposite-field shot toward the left field corner that looked to be a sure double, as the Brooklyn outfield had just shifted to the right. Amorós seemingly came out of nowhere, extended his gloved right hand to catch the ball and immediately skidded to a halt to avoid crashing into the fence near Yankee Stadium’s 301 distance marker in the left field corner. He then threw to the relay man, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who in turn threw to first baseman Gil Hodges, doubling Gil McDougald off first; Hank Bauer grounded out to end the inning. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Amor%C3%B3s

History of the Brooklyn Dodgers

Brooklyn was home to numerous baseball clubs in the mid-1850s. Eight of 16 participants in the first convention were from Brooklyn, including the Atlantic, Eckford, and Excelsior clubs that combined to dominate play for most of the 1860s. Brooklyn helped make baseball commercial, as the locale of the first paid admission games, a series of three all star contests matching New York and Brooklyn in 1858. Brooklyn also featured the first two enclosed baseball grounds, the Union Grounds and the Capitoline Grounds; enclosed, dedicated ballparks accelerated the evolution from amateurism to professionalism.

Despite the success of Brooklyn clubs in the first Association, officially amateur until 1869, they fielded weak teams in the succeeding National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, the first professional league formed in 1871. The Excelsiors no longer challenged for the amateur championship after the Civil War and never entered the professional NA. The Eckfords and Atlantics declined to join until 1872 and thereby lost their best players; Eckford survived only one season and Atlantic four, with losing teams.

The National League replaced the NA in 1876 and granted exclusive territories to its eight members, excluding the Atlantics in favor of the New York Mutuals, who had shared the same home grounds. When the Mutuals were expelled by the league, the Hartford Dark Blues club moved in, changed its name to The Brooklyn Hartfords[1] and played its home games at Union Grounds in 1877 before disbanding.

The origin of the Dodgers

The team currently known as the Dodgers was formed (as the “Brooklyn Grays”) in 1883 by real estate magnate and baseball enthusiast Charles Byrne, who convinced his brother-in-law Joseph Doyle and casino operator Ferdinand Abell to start the team with him. Byrne set up a grandstand on Fifth Avenue and named it Washington Park in honor of George Washington. The team played in the minor Inter-State Association of Professional Baseball Clubs that first season. Doyle became the first manager of the team, which drew 6,000 fans to its first home game on May 12, 1883 against the Trenton team. The team won the league title after the Camden Merritt club disbanded on July 20 and Brooklyn picked up some of its better players. The Grays were invited to join the American Association for the following season. [2]

After winning the AA championship in 1889, the team moved to the National League and won the 1890 NL Championship, the first Major League team to win consecutive championships in two different leagues. Their success during this period was partly attributed to their absorbing the players of the defunct New York Metropolitans and Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders. In 1899, the Dodgers merged with the Baltimore Orioles, as Baltimore manager Ned Hanlon became the club’s new skipper and Charles Ebbets became the primary owner of the team.

The team’s nickname

Logo of the Brooklyn Dodgers/Superbas from 1910 through 1913

By 1890 New Yorkers (Brooklyn was a separate city until it became a borough in 1898) routinely called anyone from Brooklyn a “trolley dodger”, due to the vast network of street car lines criss-crossing the borough as people dodged trains to cross the streets. When the second Washington Park burned down early in the 1891 season, the team moved to nearby Eastern Park, which was bordered on two sides by street car tracks. That’s when the team was first called the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers. That was soon shortened to Brooklyn Dodgers.[3] Possibly because of the “street character” nature of Jack Dawkins, the “Artful Dodger” in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, sportswriters in the early 20th Century began referring to the Dodgers as the “Bums”.

Other team names used by the franchise which would finally be called the Dodgers were the Grays, the Grooms, the Bridegrooms, the Superbas and the Robins. All of these nicknames were used by fans and sportswriters to describe the team, but not in any official capacity. The team’s legal name was the Brooklyn Base Ball Club.[4] However, the Trolley Dodger nickname was used throughout this period, along with these other nicknames, by fans and sportswriters of the day. The team did not use the name in any formal sense until 1932, when the word “Dodgers” appeared on jerseys for the team.[5] The “conclusive shift” came in 1933, when both home and road jerseys for the team bore the name “Dodgers”.[6]

Examples of how the many popularized names of the team were used interchangeably are available from newspaper articles from the period before 1932. A New York Times article describing a game the Dodgers played in 1916 starts out by referring to how “Jimmy Callahan, pilot of the Pirates, did his best to wreck the hopes the Dodgers have of gaining the National League pennant”, but then goes on to comment “the only thing that saved the Superbas from being toppled from first place was that the Phillies lost one of the two games played”.[7] What is interesting about the use of these two nicknames is that most baseball statistics sites and baseball historians generally now refer to the pennant-winning 1916 Brooklyn team as the Robins. A 1918 New York Times article does use the nickname Robins in its title “Buccaneers Take Last From Robins”, but the subtitle of the article reads “Subdue The Superbas By 11 To 4, Making Series An Even Break”.[8]

Another example of the interchangeability of the different nicknames is found on the program issued at Ebbetts Field for the 1920 World Series, which identifies the matchup in the series as “Dodgers vs. Indians”, despite the fact that the Robins nickname had been in consistent usage at this point for around six years.[9]

Rivalry with the Giants

Main article: Dodgers–Giants rivalry

The historic and heated rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants is more than a century old. It began when both clubs played in New York City (the Dodgers in Brooklyn and the Giants in Manhattan). When both franchises moved to California after the 1957 season, the rivalry was easily transplanted, as the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have long been rivals in economics, culture and politics.

“Uncle Robbie” and the “Daffiness Boys”

Manager Wilbert Robinson, another former Oriole, popularly known as “Uncle Robbie”, restored the Brooklyn team to respectability. His “Brooklyn Robins” reached the 1916 and 1920 World Series, losing both, but contending perennially for several seasons.[10] Charles Ebbetts and Ed McKeever died within a week of each other in 1925, and Robbie was named president while still field manager.[11] Upon assuming the title of president, however, Robinson’s ability to focus on the field declined, and the teams of the late 1920s were often fondly referred to as the “Daffiness Boys” for their distracted, error-ridden style of play.[12] Outfielder Babe Herman was the leader both in hitting and in zaniness. The signature Dodger play from this era occurred when Herman doubled into a double play, in which three players – Dazzy Vance, Chick Fewster, and Herman – all ended up at third base at the same time. After his removal as club president, Wilbert Robinson returned to managing, and the club’s performance rebounded somewhat.[12]

When Robinson retired in 1931, he was replaced as manager by Max Carey.[12] Although some suggested renaming the “Robins” the “Brooklyn Canaries”, after Carey (whose last name was originally “Carnarius”), the name “Brooklyn Dodgers” returned to stay following Robinson’s retirement.[12] It was during this era that Willard Mullin, a noted sports cartoonist, fixed the Brooklyn team with the lovable nickname of “Dem Bums”. After hearing his cab driver ask “So how did those bums do today?” Mullin decided to sketch an exaggerated version of famed circus clown Emmett Kelly to represent the Dodgers in his much-praised cartoons in the New York World-Telegram. Both the image and the nickname caught on, so much so that many a Dodger yearbook cover, from 1951 through 1957, featured a Willard Mullin illustration with the Brooklyn Bum.

Perhaps the highlight of the Daffiness Boys era came after Wilbert Robinson left the dugout.[12] In 1934, Giants player/manager Bill Terry was asked about the Dodgers’ chances in the coming pennant race and cracked infamously, “Is Brooklyn still in the league?” Managed now by Casey Stengel (who played for the Dodgers in the 1910s and would go on to greatness managing the New York Yankees),[12] the 1934 Dodgers were determined to make their presence felt. As it happened, the season entered its final games with the Giants tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the pennant, with the Giants’ remaining games against the Dodgers. Stengel (along with a legion of angry Brooklyn fans) led his Bums to the Polo Grounds for the showdown, and they beat the Giants twice to knock them out of the pennant race.[12] The “Gashouse Gang” Cardinals nailed the pennant by beating the Cincinnati Reds those same two days.[12]

One key development during this era was the 1938 appointment of Leland Stanford MacPhail – better known as Larry MacPhail – as the Dodgers’ general manager.[12] MacPhail, who brought night baseball to MLB as general manager of the Reds, also introduced Brooklyn to night baseball and ordered the successful refurbishing of Ebbets Field.[12] He also brought Reds voice Red Barber to Brooklyn as the Dodgers’ lead announcer in 1939, just after MacPhail broke the New York baseball executives’ agreement to ban live baseball broadcasts, enacted because of the fear of what effect the radio calls would have on the home teams’ attendance.

MacPhail remained with the Dodgers until 1942, when he returned to the Armed Forces for World War II. (He later became one of the New York Yankees’ co-owners, bidding unsuccessfully for Barber to join him in the Bronx as announcer.) MacPhail’s son Leland Jr. (Lee MacPhail) and grandson Andy MacPhail also became MLB execs.

The first major-league baseball game to be televised was Brooklyn’s 6–1 victory over Cincinnati at Ebbets Field on August 26, 1939. Batting helmets were introduced to Major League Baseball by the Dodgers in 1941.

Breaking the color barrier

Jackie Robinson.

For most of the first half of the 20th century, no Major League Baseball team employed a black player. A parallel system of Negro Leagues developed, but most of the Negro League players were denied a chance to prove their skill before a national audience. Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play for a Major League Baseball team when he played his first major league game on April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It happened mainly due to General Manager Branch Rickey’s efforts. The deeply religious Rickey’s motivation appears to have been primarily moral, although business considerations were also present. Rickey was a member of The Methodist Church, the antecedent denomination to The United Methodist Church of today, which was a strong advocate for social justice and active later in the Civil Rights movement.[13]

Rickey had also considered Robinson’s outstanding personal character in his decision, since he knew that boos, taunts, and criticism would arrive when Robinson was promoted to the Major Leagues, and that Robinson would have to be tough enough to withstand this abuse. He was. Rickey also wanted the first African-American Major Leaguer to be a no-doubt-about-it star, and Robinson definitely came through on that account as well, helping to lead the Dodgers to their best-ever stretch of success.[14]

The inclusion of Robinson on the team also led the Dodgers to move its spring training site. Prior to 1946, the Dodgers held their spring training in Jacksonville, Florida. However, the city’s stadium refused to host an exhibition game with the Montreal Royals – the Dodgers’ own farm club – on whose roster Robinson appeared at the time, citing segregation laws. Nearby Sanford similarly declined. Ultimately, City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach agreed to host the game with Robinson on the field. The team would return to Daytona Beach for spring training in 1947, this time with Robinson on the big club. Although the Dodgers ultimately built Dodgertown and its Holman Stadium further south in Vero Beach, and played there for 61 spring training seasons from 1948 through 2008, Daytona Beach would rename City Island Ballpark to Jackie Robinson Ballpark in his honor.

This event was the continuation of the integration of professional sports in the United States, with professional football having led the way in 1946, with the concomitant demise of the Negro Leagues, and is regarded as a key moment in the history of the American civil rights movement. Robinson was an exceptional player, a speedy runner who sparked the team with his intensity. He was the inaugural recipient of the Rookie of the Year award, which is now named the Jackie Robinson award in his honor. The Dodgers’ willingness to integrate, when most other teams refused to, was a key factor in their 1947–1956 success. They won six pennants in those 10 years with the help of Robinson, three-time MVP Roy Campanella, Cy Young Award winner Don Newcombe, Jim Gilliam, and Joe Black. Robinson would eventually go on to become the first African-American elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

“Wait ’til next year!”

After the wilderness years of the 1920s and 1930s, the Dodgers were rebuilt into a contending club first by general manager Larry MacPhail and then the legendary Branch Rickey. Led by Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges in the infield, Duke Snider in center field, Carl Furillo in right field, Roy Campanella behind the plate, and Don Newcombe on the pitcher’s mound, the Dodgers won pennants in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953, only to fall to the New York Yankees in all five of the subsequent World Series. The annual ritual of building excitement, followed in the end by disappointment, became a common pattern to the long suffering fans, and “Wait ’til next year!” became an unofficial Dodger slogan.

While the Dodgers generally enjoyed success during this period, in 1951 they fell victim to one of the largest collapses in the history of baseball.[15] On August 11, 1951 Brooklyn led the National League by an enormous 13½ games over their archrivals, the Giants. However, while the Dodgers went 26–22 from that time until the end of the season, the Giants went on an absolute tear, winning an amazing 37 of their last 44 games, including their last seven in a row. At the conclusion of the season, the Dodgers and the Giants were tied for first place, forcing a three-game playoff for the pennant. The Giants took Game 1 by a score of 3–1 before being shut out by the Dodgers’ Clem Labine in Game 2, 10–0. It all came down to the final game, and Brooklyn seemed to have the pennant locked up, holding a 4–2 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson hit a stunning three-run walk-off home run off the Dodgers’ Ralph Branca to secure the NL Championship for New York. Today, this home run is known as the Shot Heard ‘Round The World.

In 1955, by which time the core of the Dodger team was beginning to age, “next year” finally came. The fabled “Boys of Summer” shot down the “Bronx Bombers” in seven games[16], led by the first-class pitching of young left-hander Johnny Podres, whose key pitch was a changeup known as “pulling down the lampshade” because of the arm motion used right when the ball was released.[17] Podres won two Series games, including the deciding seventh. The turning point of Game 7 was a spectacular double play that began with left fielder Sandy Amoros running down Yogi Berra’s long fly ball, then throwing to shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who doubled up a surprised Gil McDougald at first base to preserve the Dodger lead. The Dodgers won 2–0.

Although the Dodgers lost the World Series to the Yankees in 1956 (during which the Yankees pitcher Don Larsen pitched the only postseason perfect game in baseball history, and the only post-season no-hitter until Roy Halladay’s no-hitter for the Phillies over the Reds on October 6, 2010), it hardly seemed to matter. Brooklyn fans had their memory of triumph, and soon that would be all they were left with – a victory that decades later would be remembered in the Billy Joel single “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, which included the line, “Brooklyn’s got a winning team.”

Move to California

Real estate businessman Walter O’Malley had acquired majority ownership of the Dodgers in 1950, when he bought the shares of his co-owners, the estate of Branch Rickey and the late John L. Smith. Before long he was working to buy new land in Brooklyn to build a more accessible and better arrayed ballpark than Ebbets Field. Beloved as it was, Ebbets Field had grown old and was not well served by infrastructure, to the point where the Dodgers could not sell the park out even in the heat of a pennant race (despite largely dominating the league from 1946 to 1957).

New York City Construction Coordinator Robert Moses, however, sought to force O’Malley into using a site in Flushing Meadows, Queens – the site for what eventually became Shea Stadium. Moses’ vision involved a city-built, city-owned park, which was greatly at odds with O’Malley’s real-estate savvy. When it became clear to O’Malley that he was not going to be allowed to buy any suitable land in Brooklyn, he began thinking elsewhere.

Walter O’Malley was free to purchase land of his own choosing but needed Robert Moses to condemn land along the Atlantic Railroad Yards (O’Malley’s preferred choice) in downtown Brooklyn under Title I authority. Title I gave the city municipality power to condemn land for the purpose of building what it calls “public purpose” projects. Moses interpretation of “public purpose” was to build public parks, public housing and public highways/bridges. What O’Malley wanted was for Moses to use this authority rather than pay market value for the land. With Title I, the city, aka Robert Moses, could have sold the land to O’Malley at a below market price. Robert Moses refused to honor O’Malley’s request and responded by saying, “If you want the land so bad, why don’t you purchase it with your own money?”[18]

Meanwhile, non-stop transcontinental air travel had become routine during the years since the Second World War, and teams were no longer bound by much slower railroad timetables. Because of these transportation advances, it became possible to locate teams further apart – as far west as California – while maintaining the same game schedules.

When Los Angeles officials attended the 1956 World Series looking to entice a team to move to the City of Angels, they were not even thinking of the Dodgers. Their original target had been the Washington Senators (who would in fact move to Bloomington, Minnesota to become the Minnesota Twins in 1961). At the same time, O’Malley was looking for a contingency in case Moses and other New York politicians refused to let him build the Brooklyn stadium he wanted, and sent word to the Los Angeles officials that he was interested in talking. Los Angeles offered him what New York would not: a chance to buy land suitable for building a ballpark, and own that ballpark, giving him complete control over all its revenue streams.

Meanwhile, Giants owner Horace Stoneham was having similar difficulty finding a replacement for his team’s antiquated home stadium, the Polo Grounds. Stoneham was considering moving the Giants to Minneapolis, but was persuaded instead to move them to San Francisco, ensuring that the Dodgers would have a National League rival closer than St. Louis. So the two arch-rival teams, the Dodgers and Giants, moved out to the West Coast together after the 1957 season.

The Brooklyn Dodgers played their final game at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957, which the Dodgers won 2–0 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On April 18, 1958, the Los Angeles Dodgers played their first game in LA, defeating the former New York and now new San Francisco Giants, 6–5, before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[19] Sadly, catcher Roy Campanella, left partially paralyzed in an off-season accident, was never able to play for Los Angeles.

A 2007 HBO film, Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush, is a documentary covering the Dodgers history from early days to the beginning of the Los Angeles era.

 

The Boys of Summer

“…The Boys of Summer is a widely-acclaimed book written by Roger Kahn. After recounting his childhood in Brooklyn, the author relates some history of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team up to their victory in the 1955 World Series. He then tracks the lives of the players over the subsequent years as they aged. The book takes its name from a verse by Dylan Thomas. It was made into a video documentary dedicated to the memories of Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Billy Cox and Ebbets Field.

The first section describes the author’s growing up in a remarkable Brooklyn family and his life as a young reporter on the New York Herald Tribune. He then recounts covering the Dodgers through two exciting seasons, made bittersweet by the death of the author’s father.

The next section details the lives of the players from the glory days, but in middle age. Different chapters are devoted to different players (Clem Labine, George Shuba, Carl Erskine, Andy Pafko, Joe Black, Preacher Roe, Pee Wee Reese, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Billy Cox).

Since its publication in 1972, The Boys of Summer has been through numerous editions and at least 90 printings. James Michener called it “America’s finest book on sports.” “What a very great book,” wrote George Frazier in the Boston Globe. A Sports Illustrated panel recently selected The Boys of Summer as the greatest of all American books on baseball. …” …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boys_of_Summer_(book)

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