Brooklyn, one of the 5 boroughs in New York and being known as a magnet for immigrants, had its greatest amount of people moving into the borough during the 40s and 50s. It was the post-war era and families were sprouting all over New York. During that time the Brooklyn Dodgers were a significant part of Brooklyn and baseball history. Today the Brooklyn Dodgers remain as one of the most historical teams to ever play the game. No team could ever compare to its underdog persona they displayed from 1947-1957.
It all started at Ebbets Field where the Dodgers became infamous in 1947 with the color barrio being broken by Jackie Robinson. They suffered season after season heart breaks to the dreaded Yankees in the world series to only ultimately win Brooklyn’s first ever world title in 1955. The Dodgers unexpected departure in 1957 deeply devastated all of Brooklyn’s fans and has yet to ever forget. -Ebbets Field. Brooklyn, New York This historic franchise begins in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn just east of Prospect Park on Sullivan and McKeever.
The Brooklyn Dodgers moved into the new home of Ebbets Field in the summer of 1913 on April 9th. Ebbets Field was more than just some seats and a baseball diamond; it had character born of its construction that its fabled residents would later enhance. Ceaselessly visionary, team owner Charlie Ebbets wanted a work of art for his team to play in and in several ways he succeeded. A rotunda resplendent with Italian marble, glazed brick, and a grand chandelier constructed in the shape of baseball bats and balls greeted visitors.
Roman columns and arches provided the support for the grandstands. Ebbets field felt special inside and out. From the moment ground was first broken; Ebbets field was an anachronism, one that in each ensuing season would prove to be less and less adequate. That is not to say it was not a wonderful place to watch a baseball game because it was that and much more, a glorious Globe Theater type atmosphere where the mob felt like part of the game, for its cozy dimensions and double-decked grandstands put fans almost on the field in the cramped 32,000 person stadium.
Spiritually the evolution of Ebbets Field fell in step with the evolution of the Brooklyn baseball, franchise, which featured characters like Casey Stengel and babe Herman along with classic heroes like Zack Wheat and ultimately, the boys of summer. There could be no greater emblem for the ballpark than Hilda Chester, a Brooklyn fan with a booming voice and head-ringing cowbell, who wanted nothing more than victory. By the end, Ebbets Field was an acquired taste for some, an annoyance for others. There was no escaping the person in the seat next to you, or the drunk a few rows down.
The fans’ close proximity to the field, which made it possible to talk with outfielders during a pitching change and to hear voices from everywhere in the park, felt as confining as life in a brownstone with neighbors who asked too many questions. Ebbets field was a row house street, a railroad flat, a kitchen window looking out on to a red brick wall. It was not the way people wanted to live anymore. Ebbets field was not built to last, and you’d have to have blinders not to recognize that some sort of transition needed to be made.
Compared to Brooklyn’s fading edifice, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park were modern mansions. Ebbets was a ticking clock waiting to fade away. On September 24, 1957, the Dodgers played their last game at Ebbets Filed and their last game known as the Brooklyn Dodgers. Only 6,702 fans showed up to watch their beloved team take the field for one last time. Brooklyn’s ballpark was reborn as a 1,300-unit apartment complex called Ebbets Filed Apartments. -Jackie Robinson From beginning to end we root for greatness. We root for our team to do well.
We root for our team to create and leave lasting memories from a dazzling defensive play o opening day to the final World Series-clinching out. In a world that can bring frustration on a daily basis we root for an investment toward bragging rights. If our team succeeds, if our guys succeed, that’s something we can feel god about today, tomorrow and forever. The pinnacle of what we can root for is Jackie Robinson. Robinson is a seminal;-figure, a great player whose importance transcended his team, transcended his sport, transcended all sports.
For many particularly in 1947 when he made his major league debut, Robinson was a reason to become a Dodger fan. For those who were born or made Dodger fans independent of Robinson, he is the reward for years suffering and the epitome of years of success. Robinson’s story of course is only pretty when spied from certain directions, focusing from the angle of what he achieved, and that achievement represented, and the beauty and grace and power he displayed along the way. From the ugliness of what he endured, symbolizing the most reprehensible vein of a culture, is sickening.
Even after he gained relative acceptance, even after he secured his place in the major leagues and the history books, even after he could start to talk back with honesty instead of politeness, racial indignities abounded around him. Robinson’s ascendance was blow against discrimination, but far from the final one. He still played baseball in a world more successful at achieving equality on paper than in practice. For Dodger fans, there isn’t a greater piece of franchise history to rejoice in. Jackie was a ball player. Playing nearly every position on the field over 10 seasons with an on base percentage of . 09 and slugging of . 474. He was an indispensable contributor to the Dodgers most glorious days in Brooklyn, winning 6 pennants and the franchise’s first World Series victory. In the end, Jackie Robinson’s story might just be the greatest in the game of baseball. His highlight reel from stealing home to knocks against racism is unmatched. In a world that’s all too real, Robinson encompasses everything there is to cheer for. If you’re a fan of another team and you hate the Dodgers, unless you have no dignity at all, your hate stops at Robinson’s feet.
If your love of the Dodgers guides you home, then Robinson is your North Star. -Brooklyn’s First World Series Victory When the Dodgers beat their arch rivals, the New York Yankees, it was the end to the saying “Wait Til’ next Year” and the agonizing defeat the Dodgers had endured the prior years before. Brooklyn had won 4 pennants from 1947-1953 but every time fell short of the prestigious world title and fell short to the Bronx Bombers. With the start of the 1955 series no one in Brooklyn thought the Dodgers were a lock to win The World Series.
In Game 1 the Yankees won 6-5 but felt in front of their 63,896 packed stadium Brooklyn’s anxiety. Game 2 was no different as the Yankees took a 4-2 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series. With the team reuniting back at Ebbets Field for game 3 the Dodgers ace, Johnny Podres, and his fastball, forestalled the potential indignity of a sweep. Game 4 was then won by the Dodgers and Duke Snider’s three-run home-run seemed to be the blast that shocked the Yankees. Snider’s swing followed him into game 5 where he hit two more home-runs and beat the Yankees 5-3 giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead in the series.
However in game 6, with the Yankees facing defeat, the Bronx Bomber rode the arm of whitey Ford who pitched a complete-game four-hitter. The Yankees won 5-1 and the series was all tied up leaving it to be decided in the Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. Game 7 attainted the unattainable. Here was generation of Brooklyn history in one contest. Tension, as the game was scoreless through three innings. Hope, as the Dodgers took the lead on Gil Hodges RBI single in the 4th and sacrifice fly in the 6th. But you can never count out the evil empire.
The Yankees struck back in the bottom of the 6th by putting 2 runners on. Yogi Berra came up to the plate and crushed a ball down the left field line. Sandy Amoros, who entered the game that inning took off sprinting and ran into the frame of history. With his neck tilted back and his arm fully outstretched Amoros made the catch near the left field seats and in a continuous motion pivoted off his left foot and fired the ball back to shortstop Pee-Wee Reese who relayed it to Gil Hodges to pick off Gil McDougald. It was plays like that, which created a sense that it might actually happen, a World Title.
In the final inning Podres took the mound after his cigarette and got Moose Skwron out on a line drive hit to Podres. Bob Cerv’s fly out to Amoros gave the Dodgers 2 outs and on out away from years of misery. With Elston Howard battling Podres, he finally grounded the ball to Pee-Wee Reese. With all of Brooklyn holding their breath Reese fired the ball to Hodges and the final out was made. The final out off the 1955 series was recorded, and the Brooklyn Dodgers for the first time in franchise history were the Champions of the World.
The 1955 season proved that the harder the journey, the sweeter the arrival. -The Move out West The real story of the Dodgers’ move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles is much more nuanced than most people realize. In 1947 Ebbets Filed was clearly aging, and Dodgers vice president Walter O’Malley began soliciting ideas for enlarging or replacing the ballpark. In 1951, after years of research and investigation, O’Malley asked to have the city help assemble land for him to purchase in Brooklyn for the building of a privately financed stadium with parking. O’Malley directed his request to New York parks commissioner
Robert Moses, the biggest hurdle to the Dodger’s continued residence in Brooklyn. In an August 1955 letter to O’Malley, Moses explained the rationale for his opposition, saying it was not in the public interest to aid the Dodgers in the quest. The only way Moses would give in is that along with a new stadium there needed to be a reasonable sensible plan for a highway, railroad terminal, traffic, street market, and relative conventional public improvements. O’Malley looked at many locations in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and primarily looked for an area with great room for parking.
In a public statement, O’Malley said “The public used to come to game in trolley cars, now the use automobiles. We can only park 700 cars (Ebbets Field). Our fans require a modern stadium- one with greater comforts, short walks, no posts, absolute protection form inclement weather, convenient rest rooms, and a self-selection first-come, first-served method of buying tickets. ” O’Malley argued that these weren’t luxuries but necessities. With baseball having a heavy night schedule, it’s now competing with many attractions for the consumer’s dollar and it had better spend some money if it expects to hold its fans.
Once the Dodgers won their first World Series, O’Malley finally got looked at, and his vision of a dome in Brooklyn was scratching the surface. Things looked even better in April 1956 when Governor of New York, Averall Harriman raised hopes for a Brooklyn solution by signing into law the creation of the Brooklyn Sports Center Authority. But that all quickly faded when Roz Wyman became the youngest council man ever elected in Los Angeles. He wrote to Major League baseball asking teams to consider moving out West. With a decade passed, and O’Malley still not getting closer to a new stadium in Brooklyn, Los Angeles didn’t look so bad.
A continued snowball effect started to happen as Moses recommended that the city of Brooklyn excise the proposed stadium from the redevelopment of downtown Brooklyn. Moses did want to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn but is idea was not in Brooklyn. Moses wanted to relocate the team to Flushing Meadows, the geographical center of Queens. O’Malley said it had possibilities, but the Dodgers wouldn’t be the Brooklyn Dodgers, they would be called the New York Dodgers, which did not sit well by any brooklynite. O’Malley looked at it as that if the Dodgers where to leave Brooklyn then Queens was no different a location then Los Angeles or Dallas.
O’Malley wanted to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn. A couple months followed and O’Malley found himself in an open door helicopter terrified out of his mind flying over Los Angeles. Examining potential sites for a new ballpark he flew over Chavez Ravine, and his interest grew as he noticed it’s ample room to build and access to the freeways converging to nearby Downtown LA. With the New York Giants also closing in on a West Coast move to San Francisco it was becoming clear that the Dodgers where going to be out of New York.
O’Malley still favored staying in Brooklyn over any kind of move out of town, but Moses would not pull strings to make Flatbush an available site. If it’s true that O’Malley sought a stadium outcome that would be best for his franchise and it’s financial well-being, it’s also true that Moses stood firmly in the way of what the people of Brooklyn professed to desire. O’Malley never wavered his willingness to pay for the land in Brooklyn and the stadium he would erect upon it, if only the site would be made available for purchase.
Though it was ultimately O’Malley’s decision for the Dodgers to leave Brooklyn, Moses and other officials gave them little reason to stay. On October 8, 1957, O’Malley announced that after 68 seasons in Brooklyn, the Dodgers would be moving to Los Angeles. In a move to bring baseball to all parts of the country, the Giants also decided to relocate from New York to San Francisco. The Brooklyn Dodgers played their last game at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957 and the following year, April 18, 1958, the Dodgers played their first game in Los Angeles, defeating the Giants, 6-5, before 78,672 fans at the LA Coliseum.
Demolition on Ebbets Field began on February 23, 1960 where a wrecking ball painted like a baseball fell through the visitors dug-out and crashed through millions of people hearts. Today Ebbets Field is a housing project with nothing left in but a part of the exterior right field wall with Ebbets Field written on it. When walking around the hallowed ground you can’t help but get goose bumps when the same Bedford Ave where Duke Snyder used hit home runs on to, or hear the ghostly echo of fans cheering as they once did, or try to imagine where it was with relation to the street when Jackie Robinson stole home and changed the game of baseball.
It may not be there in person but the legend about it will never die. It was once the home to not only some of baseball legends and its colorful fans but Brooklyn still mourns over the loss of Their Dodgers and the demolition of their beloved palace Ebbets Field. -True Blue The Brooklyn Dodgers have an unforgettable spot in baseball’s vault. Its franchise, players, fans and stadium gave everybody a reason to cheer. No team meant more to their fans then the Brooklyn Dodgers did during their final decade. A story of Triumph and Tragedy the Dodgers where a prime example of how baseball should be played.
The players where known throughout Brooklyn, they started families in Brooklyn, had picnics in Prospect Park, BBQs on the weekend with fellow teammates and families. They were all hard working Americans who got jobs during the off-season just to keep food on the table. People could connect with the players and this atmosphere was an example of baseball, when it was a game. Brooklyn today does not have professional team, but the Dodgers are still considered by many Brooklynites to be their team. They were heroes, they were legends and they were your neighbor.