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Brooklyn Dodgers Memory Lane
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With the passing of Brooklyn Dodger great Duke Snyder what better time to start a discussion of the old Brooklyn Dodgers.
This article has been viewed 6552 times in the last 2 years
Jim Hoagland 27Feb2011: 28th Feb 2011 - 21:03 GMT
If my memory serves me correctly the last year the Dodgers played in Brooklyn was 1957. The guy showing off his muscles had to be Reds first baseman Ted Krucewzski. (don't trust the spelling!) The talk was his arms were bigger than most peoples legs. The other guy from the Reds I remember was another slugger named Wally Post. Dodger lineup had the likes of Gilliam, Reese, Snider, Hodges, Robinson, Furillo, maybe Andy Pafko in Left or Gino Cimoli, Johnny Roseboro catcher.
Franny Wentzel: 28th Feb 2011 - 21:21 GMT
Just so this post has a picture attached to it...
Taken September 25, 1946
Jim Hoagland 27Feb2011: 28th Feb 2011 - 22:57 GMT
Some things with the Dodgers:
Ed Hoagland: 1st Mar 2011 - 01:54 GMT
Being under two years of age when the Dodgers moved to L.A., I have no memory of the Brooklyn Dodgers, per se. But I do have vivid memories of Dodger fans, most notably my Dad and oldest brother, and how their loyalty to those Brooklyn Bums affected my viewpoint of baseball while growing up in Brooklyn during the 1960’s.
The Mets, as many of us recall, were terrible in those days, losing 120 games in 1962 to get the franchise off to a rollicking start. The old Dodger fans were absolutely unable to root for the yankees, so they accepted the Mets, warts and all, and rooted mightily for them to win the occasional game. Very occasional, as things turned out. When the Dodgers came to town, first to the Polo grounds, and then to Shea, our apartment held the atmosphere usually reserved for church services when the games were broadcast on channel 9.
"Koufax is pitching tonight. Wow!" my Dad once exclaimed. "They really throw their best against'em, don't they?"
"Well it is his turn to pitch, Pop" my brother replied. "He just happens to get the Mets tonight. Tough titties for them.” My brother was right, as Koufax beat them thirteen straight times before losing to a young ex Marine named Tug McGraw.
I wonder if he remembers that night in August of ’65: Mets 5, Dodgers 2. Do you Jim? (Probably not. I think you were dodging bullets in some rice paddy in South East Asia.)
For years I heard the same litany every time the Dodgers and Mets played each other:
"Walt Alston was the manager here in Brooklyn, ya know."
"Vin Scully was with the team calling games back at Ebbets Field too, ya know."
"When Koufax first came up with Brooklyn, he had trouble hitting the broad side of a barn, let alone the strike zone. Look at'em now!"
"If Snider were up in this situation, he'd pole one."
There were more. Many more.
“Pole one.” This was my Dad's term for hitting a home run. I have never heard anyone else use this phrase. I wonder if it is used only by the oldest of the surviving Dodger fans. Maybe I'll never know. Dad is long gone to watch the Angels, but the phrase always stuck with me.
All of these memories and comments meant little to me, although I was fascinated with Koufax and still think him to be the best pitcher I have ever seen. Growing up and watching baseball in the ‘60s, that is saying a lot, especially when you consider the list of Hall of Famers that pitched in the National League during that period.
The other Dodgers meant diddlysquat, as the Mets were my team. The Dodgers were only the duds from L.A., and I had little regard for them and their Southern California aura. After experiencing the thrill of 1969, including a June doubleheader sweep of the Cards at Shea with my two older brothers, the stories I heard of the old Dodgers were just background noise. And the noise lessened with each passing year.
Then 1973 arrived. At this point, the Dodgers were ancient history, dusty and boring, like a weathered old library book. This was my senior year at New Utrecht High School, and I decided to submit a few writings to the yearly literary magazine, which was named "Spiral". I had a number of things printed, and was quite excited about that, but what really stood out in that issue was an interview with Roger Kahn, who had just recently gained notoriety with the 1972 publication of his book "The Boys of Summer." Had I not submitted those works to the magazine, and had they not been printed, I would not have purchased a copy, and would therefore have missed the interview. And that, folks, would have been sad.
The interview led me to read the book. Not right away, as the Mets were once again headed to the World Series to play Reggie Jackson and the A's after a crazy up and down regular season, and a 5 game beating of the Big Red Machine. I had other things on my mind, but went ahead and purchased a copy. It stayed on my shelf for a while.
In point of fact, I had that paperback copy on my shelf for a few years before reading it. Once I got around to it, however, nothing was the same. Kahn's tome had the ability to connect a kid from 1970's Brooklyn to the old Dodgers of a bygone era. And sure enough, in my case, it did.
Somehow, in some way, I knew these guys. Gil Hodges, first as a Met player, then as their manager beginning in 1968. They won the Series in ’69 with him leading the way from the bench. Hodges? There was surely a place in my heart for that guy. His passing from a heart attack was a sad thing, no doubt. But Kahn’s book caused me to see him from a whole new perspective. The section of the book that speaks of him is titled One Who Stayed in Brooklyn. It remains a favorite.
I learned so much of those teams from the ‘50’s and developed such a strong connection, that I wound up purchasing photos of various players, and had a framed championship poster for the 1955 World Championship team. When my older brother Jim paid me a visit in 1995 and saw everything on my living room wall, his jaw hit the floor. “Eddie…you’re into the Dodgers?! Holy Bleep!” Some good stories were shared that night.
One memory I have from when I was very young, is a day where my Dad came home sobbing. It was upsetting to see him in such a state, and I was too young to understand what would cause such a reaction. I found out years later that he had seen the wrecking ball taken to Ebbets Field on that day. We were still living on Eastern Parkway, and Ebbets Field was not far away. Something died inside of the man on that day, and I’m sure it was true for many who witnessed it.
I think major league baseball, as a business, is just not good enough for fans. MLB is a business, and rooting for a team like the Brooklyn Dodgers is a passion that transcends business dealings. We should all know this, but cannot, as the heart does not lie, and is not constrained by business dealings. The old Bums were probably the most beloved team in the history of sports. Is that Debatable? Sure. But no matter how you say it, if a team like the Dodgers cannot be kept with the folks who loved them the most, no team, and therefore no fan, of any sport, is ever safe from the heartbreak suffered by the residents of Brooklyn in 1958. As beloved as those old Dodger teams were, there were those in the political power structure of the city who despised them, and found a way to rid the city of the team.
The politics of the day may have forced the Dodgers out of Brooklyn, but history paints the story of a team that still lives in the hearts and minds of those who witnessed and know of their deeds on the field of honorable competition. If sport has any meaning at all, it is found in places like Ebbets Field, be it standing on Bedford Avenue, or in the souls and memories of those who honor it and those who played there.
For the Duke of Flatbush: May the Lord be pleased with you as you find your rest. And please…. If circumstances permit…send our regards to the Captain and those other, magnificent, Boys of Summer.
Dan Hoagland: 1st Mar 2011 - 03:14 GMT
Nice picture Franny!!! A schoolmate of mine lived in one of the shanties on McKeever Pl.
Jim Hoagland 1Mar2011: 1st Mar 2011 - 16:13 GMT
That's a great commentary you wrote, Ed. August, 1965 I was on a troop carrier in the South China Sea. On the 14 we landed at Chu Lai, RVN and I was in the first wave; luckily it turned out to be an "administrative landing". A few days later we headed for the Bong Tuang Peninsula and operation Starlight. Then Operation Piranha.
But your writing does bring back that feeling of the Dodgers and what they were for us fans. The business side is the dark side of reality.
I think your absolutely right to point out watching a game was like a church service at home. That's how deep it can get with a fan.
Need only look at yourself and Dan when you remember The Jets and Super Bowl III.
But truthfully still nothing, for us, could exceed 1955 when "we wuz no longer bums!"
Jim Hoagland 1Mar2011: 1st Mar 2011 - 16:26 GMT
Franny, thanks so much for the picture. Reminds me of sitting in the center field bleachers and noticing how the right field wall actually had an incline at the bottom. I saw Willy Mays climb up that incline trying to catch a ball. He got so high off the ground I couldn't believe he didn't hurt himself from the return to earth!
Bobby Gnush: 2nd Mar 2011 - 12:17 GMT
Robert: 2nd Mar 2011 - 22:58 GMT
Thanks Dan and Jim for opening this nice Dodgers article, hope people will start filling it up with their memories and their thoughts just as they've done with the long and interesting Eastern Parkway memories.
Jim Hoagland 3Mar2011: 3rd Mar 2011 - 19:01 GMT
Sit and remember them days and wha dya get? Happy Felton's Knot Hole Gang! 10 or 15 minutes (?) with Hodges giving pointers of how to play first base and cover the bag; Pee Wee on playing short or Campy demonstrating how to throw the ball to second with some mustard on it. Then going out to practice what was said. Always preferred shortstop but usually played where there was a "gap" which usually was in the outfield. Watching Duke, Willy, and Joe D., and then the Mick, you react to the crack of the bat. Remember a game Snider got a jump on on a shot to right center- was crossing over to right field full speed caught the ball at his shoe tops and then summersaulted about 3-4 times but held on. We talked about that for a long time. Today guys leave their feet when they really don't have to. We were taught to get a jump on the ball and then you don't have to do acrobatics... but sometimes you really have to..
Jazzmanblue: 4th Mar 2011 - 17:01 GMT
It seems the Dodgers made a goodwill tour of Japan in 1956. Here is a link:
Apologies, as the site is named after the dreaded and unnameable former owner. It also has additional links for a game by game recap of the tour. Hopefully, some old time fans will remember the tour and post a few comments.
Bobby Gnush: 20th Mar 2011 - 23:53 GMT
Thank you for posting that link.
HarryE.: 18th Apr 2011 - 01:57 GMT
WALTER O'MALLEY WAS RUTHLESS. I've always wonder how a guy like O'Malley, to whom baseball and Broklyn did not seem to mean much of anything, managed to obtain the ownership of the Brooklyn Dodgers I did some research, and her's what Ilearned. It seems that the Bronx-born O"Malley was a shyster lawyer, who managed to get hired by the Dodgers to be the team attorney. At that the ( the late 1920s-early 1930s) At that time, ownersahip of the Brooklyn ballclub was split among 3 partners--Charlie Ebbets, who built the beloved ballpark that bore his name, and brothers Steve and Ed McKeever, for whom McKeever Place, right next to the ballpark, was named. When the three partners all passed on, their heirs, who could never agree on much of anything, failed to select and hire a general manager to run the ballclub, they continued squabbling among the. Meanwhile Ed McLaughlin. of the Brooklyn Trust Company, to which the Dodgers were deeply in debt, took con trol of the Dodgersand he was running the ballclub, for all practical purposes.
As baseball was set up in those, the Yankees and N.Y. Giants televised their games on channel 11 and the Dodgers were on channel 9. For his part, O'Malley greatly resented the idea that people could see his Dodgers play on TV FOR FREE AND felt that pay TV, which was being talked up at the time, was a great idea.
Franny Wentzel: 18th Apr 2011 - 06:05 GMT
Don't it always seem to go that almost everything that sucks about New York City had Robert Moses's fingerprints on it.
Robert: 17th Jun 2011 - 04:25 GMT
Yes Harry, Brooklyn, as well as the whole city of New York, surely lost all that you mention, but most of all, it lost something very cherished by its people, a magnificent team with a great tradition that had become a proud identification of the borough for so many years.
Lefty Bunter: 2nd Sep 2011 - 13:09 GMT
I was 14 when they left, and I never rooted for them again.
I've returned to the Ebbets Field site several times in recent years. While much is familiar, it is too sad to go again.
As far as I can tell, two businesses remain from the Dodger days: (1) the tire store just down Bedford from Sullivan Place; and (2) Toomey's diner, on the corner of Empire and Rogers - though it now features Caribbean food.
Not being from Brooklyn, I've often wondered what immediate impact the departure had on the area where Ebbets Field sat.
I can't find photos of the area in the years after the move
Does any of you have any memory of that?
Dan Hoagland: 27th Oct 2011 - 18:15 GMT
Hey Lefty! You left Freddie Fitzsimmons bowling alley off your list. :) That remained for a while.
Lefty Bunter: 25th Nov 2011 - 18:57 GMT
Tell us more about the drastic changes in the area which caused your family to leeave.
Dan Hoagland: 30th Nov 2011 - 19:20 GMT
I would rather keep the discussion here to the Dodgers but if you go to the Eastern Parkway thread @ http://citynoise.org/article/2078 the topic of neigborhood changes was discussed ad-nauseum.
Dan Hoagland: 3rd Dec 2012 - 11:51 GMT
@Buffalo/Sterling: Thanks for the update. In a way it is good that the Eastern Parkway Memories site is back. It would be better served if it was set up like a regular internet BBS with individual threads and the ability to message each other privately. There are BBS software packages available that are solid performers and a site is only a about $100-125 a year to run including the domain name. Know anybody who would be willing to take on such a project. I would volunteer to help moderate the board and donate a few $$$.
Dan Hoagland: 5th Dec 2012 - 22:41 GMT
Let me see what I can come up with as far as a software package is concerned. phpBB is very popular and that is freeware.
Buffalo/Sterling: 9th Jan 2013 - 13:31 GMT
To: Dan Hoagland -- The Eastern Parkway Memories site is again malfunctioning for some days now. It is effective down for now; it is unclear whether Peter intends or wishes to maintain the thread.
What is the status of our other Eastern Pkway Memories thread, which had been in its infancy earlier? Thanks for your continuing help.
Robert: 9th Jan 2013 - 23:51 GMT
Hey Dan, I'm back, after almost two years, with this picture of the Champions in 1955...
Robert: 10th Jan 2013 - 01:24 GMT
@ Peter, I just posted a photograph of the Brooklyn Dodgers plus a commentand it doesn't show.
Buffalo/Sterling: 10th Jan 2013 - 13:27 GMT
To: Dan Hoagland -- Thanks for your continuing help; much appreciated.
Janet: 11th Jan 2013 - 01:32 GMT
Just going through the site and paused at the March 2011picture of Carl, Gil, Campy, and Duke at their peak. Why was it such a thrill when they came up to bat? I guess Yankee fans felt the same about Mantel and DiMaggio; great ballplayers to be sure but what if anything was really likable about that crew? There's nothing to equal our ties to these Dodgers who knew their stuff and always came through. We saw "grace under pressure" whenever they walked up to the plate. They were 'regular guys,' talented, modest family men. We'll never see their like again.
steven siegel, 241 6th grade, 1951: 18th Jan 2013 - 13:01 GMT
The Dodgers were Brooklyn's Beloved Bums because they lived amongst us and had off-season local jobs. The players mingled with the fans at the stadium, and the core of the team remained stable...I suppose that my own enthusiasm grew from my father's love of the team. (Up to this moment, I thought that the reasons my parents moved us to Union, near Franklin, were 1) to be near the Brooklyn Museum, Library, Botanic Gardens and Prospect Park, and 2) for ease of public transport to his place of business in Manhattan [IRT or BMT to Canal St.]; I'm now wondering whether being close to Ebbets Field was part of the equation.)...As a boy, before my teenage years of self-exploration, after all those near-miss World Series experiences with those Damn Yankees, I was sure that I would trade a year of my life for the Dodgers to win one...I more or less lost interest in all professional sports, in part, when the Dodgers moved to LA, (I died a little inside when I saw a fellow subway rider carrying a brick from demolished Ebbets Field)but also because big salaries transformed players into privileged elites whose prime residence was not in their team's area and who wandered from team to team in greedy pursuit of bigger bucks.
steven siegel, 241 6th grade, 1951: 19th Jan 2013 - 16:06 GMT
At our Union Street apartment, 5 blocks from Ebbets Field, we could hear every cheer and groan.
steven siegel, 241 6th grade, 1951: 25th Jan 2013 - 13:25 GMT
From Union St, I remember all the people walking from the Franklin Ave/Eastern Parkway IRT station southward to Ebbets Field. Older people took the trolly. The walkers were mostly under 30. My dearest friend from my adult years in Buffalo, about 7 years my senior and an avid sports fan (and still is), told me of often taking the New Haven line, as a teenager, in from Connecticut, eventually ending up at the Franklin Ave station. He remembers seeing us "street urchins" playing stickball in the streets as he and his Hartford friends passed by...Of course they also came to Yankee Stadium.
steve s: 25th Jan 2013 - 23:04 GMT
as I stated on e.p sandy koufax is returning to the dodger organization as a business organizer and spring traing pitching coach.
Robert : 24th Apr 2013 - 18:45 GMT
There is a Brooklyn Dodger Forum on the new Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn memories site if anyone is interested. It is part of a larger Bulletin Board System so you have to register to post but you can still read the site.
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