History of the Brooklyn Dodgers

The Brooklyn Dodgers were a Major League baseball team, active primarily in the National League (founded 1876) from 1884 until 1957, after which the club moved to Los Angeles, California, where it continues its history as the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team moved west at the same time as its longtime rivals, the New York Giants, also in the National League, relocated to San Francisco in northern California as the San Francisco Giants. The team's name derived from the reputed skill of Brooklyn residents at evading the city's trolley streetcar network. The Dodgers played in two stadiums in South Brooklyn, each named Washington Park, and at Eastern Park in the neighborhood of Brownsville before moving to Ebbets Field in the neighborhood of Flatbush in 1913. The team is noted for signing Jackie Robinson in 1947 as the first black player in the modern major leagues.[1]

Brooklyn Dodgers Team Photograph, 1913 (cropped)
Brooklyn Dodgers Team Photograph, 1913

Early Brooklyn baseball

The first convention of the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) 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 early success of Brooklyn clubs in the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP), which were officially amateur until 1869, they fielded weak teams in the succeeding National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP), the first professional league formed in 1871. The Excelsiors no longer challenged for the amateur championship after the Civil War (1861-1865) and never entered the professional NAPBBP (aka NA). The Eckfords and Atlantics declined to join until 1872 and thereby lost their best players; the Eckfords survived only one season and the Atlantics four, with losing teams.

The National League (NL) replaced the NAPBBP in 1876 and granted exclusive territories to its eight members, excluding the Atlantics in favor of the New York Mutuals who had shared home grounds with the Atlantics. When the Mutuals were expelled by the league, the Hartford Dark Blues club moved in, changed its name to The Brooklyn Hartfords[2] 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 arranged to build a grandstand on a lot bounded by Third Street, Fourth Avenue, Fifth Street, and Fifth Avenue, and named it Washington Park in honor of first president George Washington.[3] The Grays played in the minor level Inter-State Association of Professional Baseball Clubs that first season. Doyle became the first team manager, and they drew 6,431 fans to their first home game on May 12, 1883 against the Trenton, New Jersey team. The Grays won the league title after the Camden Merritt club in New Jersey disbanded on July 20 and Brooklyn picked up some of its better players. The Grays were invited to join the two year old professional circuit, the American Association (founded 1882) to compete with the eight year old NL for the 1884 season.[4]

After winning the American Association league championship in 1889, the Grays (by then nicknamed the Bridegrooms) moved to the competing older National League (1876) and won the 1890 NL Championship, being the only Major League team to win consecutive championships in both professional "base ball" leagues.[5] They lost the 1889 championship tournament to the New York Giants and tied the 1890 championship with the Louisville Colonels. Their success during this period was partly attributed to their having absorbed skilled players from the defunct New York Metropolitans and Brooklyn Ward's Wonders. In 1899, most of the original old Baltimore Orioles NL stars from the legendary Maryland club which earlier won three consecutive championships in 1894-1895-1896, moved to the Grays (Bridegrooms) along with famed Orioles manager Ned Hanlon who became the club's new manager in New York / Brooklyn under majority owner Charles Ebbets, who had by now accumulated an 80% share of the club. The new combined team was dubbed the "Brooklyn Superbas" by the press and would become the champions of the National League in 1899 and again in 1900.

Nicknames

Brooklyn Dodgers 1910-1913 logo
Logo of the Brooklyn Dodgers/Superbas from 1910 through 1913

The team name, Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers, was coined in 1895.[6] The nickname was still new enough in September 1895 that a newspaper could report that "'Trolley Dodgers' is the new name which eastern baseball cranks [fans] have given the Brooklyn club."[7] In 1895, Brooklyn played at Eastern Park, bounded by Eastern Parkway (now Pitkin Avenue), Powell Street, Sutter Avenue, Van Sinderen Street,[3] where they had moved early in the 1891 season when the second Washington Park burned down. Some sources erroneously report that the name "Trolley Dodgers" referred to pedestrians avoiding fast cars on street car tracks that bordered Eastern Park on two sides. However, Eastern Park was not bordered by street-level trolley lines that had to be "dodged" by pedestrians.[8] The name "Trolley Dodgers" implied the dangers posed by trolley cars in Brooklyn generally, which in 1892, began the switch from horse-power to electrical power, which made them much faster, and were hence regarded as more dangerous.[6] The name was later shortened to Brooklyn Dodgers.[9] The "Trolley Dodgers" name was later adopted by the team for the 1911 and 1912 seasons, and the "Dodgers" name was used in 1913.

Other team names used by the franchise that finally came to be called "the Dodgers" were the Atlantics (1884, not directly related to the earlier Brooklyn Atlantics), Bridegrooms or Grooms (1888-1898),[10] Ward's Wonders,[11] the Superbas (1899-1910),[12] and the Robins (1914-1931).[13] All of these nicknames were used by fans and newspaper sports writers to describe the team, often concurrently, but not in any official capacity. The team's legal name was the Brooklyn Base Ball Club.[14] However, the "Trolley Dodgers" nickname was used throughout this period, along with other nicknames, by fans and sports writers of the day. The team did not use the name in a formal sense until 1932, when the word "Dodgers" appeared on team jerseys.[15] The "conclusive shift" came in 1933, when both home and road jerseys for the team bore the name "Dodgers".[16]

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."[17] 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 used 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".[18][19] Space-conscious headline writers still used "the Flock" (derived from "Robins") during the Dodgers' last decade in Brooklyn.[20]

Another example of the interchangeability of different nicknames is found on the program issued at Ebbets 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.[21]

Rivalry with the Giants

The historic and heated rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants is more than a century old. It began when the Dodgers and Giants faced each other in the 1889 World Series, the ancestor of the Subway Series, and both played in separate cities (the Dodgers in Brooklyn and the Giants in New York City 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.[22] Charles Ebbets and Ed McKeever died within a week of each other in 1925, and Robbie was named president while still field manager.[23] 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.[24] Outfielder Babe Herman was the leader both in hitting and in zaniness. The signature Dodger play from this era occurred when three players – Dazzy Vance, Chick Fewster, and Herman – ended up at third base at the same time. (The play is often remembered as Herman "tripling into a triple play", though only two of the three players were declared out and Herman was credited with a double rather than a triple.)[25] Herman later complained that no one remembered that he drove in the winning run on the play. The incident led to the popular joke:

  • "The Dodgers have three men on base!"
  • "Oh, yeah? Which base?"[26]

After his removal as club president, Robinson returned to managing, and the club's performance rebounded somewhat.[24]

When Robinson retired in 1931, he was replaced as manager by Max Carey.[24] 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.[24] 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 image and nickname caught on, so much so that many a Dodger yearbook cover, from 1951 through 1957, featured a Willard Mullin illustration of the Brooklyn Bum.

Perhaps the highlight of the Daffiness Boys era came after Wilbert Robinson left the dugout.[24] 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 then by Casey Stengel, who played for the Dodgers in the 1910s and went on to greatness managing the New York Yankees,[24] 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 led his Bums to the Polo Grounds for the showdown, and they beat the Giants twice to knock them out of the pennant race.[24] The "Gashouse Gang" Cardinals nailed the pennant by beating the Cincinnati Reds those same two days.[24]

One key development during this era was the 1938 appointment of Leland "Larry" MacPhail as Dodgers' general manager.[24] MacPhail, who brought night games to Major League Baseball as general manager of the Reds, also started night baseball in Brooklyn and ordered the successful refurbishing of Ebbets Field.[24] 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 the effect of radio calls 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 Yankees' co-owners, bidding unsuccessfully for Barber to join him in the Bronx as announcer.

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

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 Major League baseball in the 20th Century when he played his first major league game on April 15, 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson's entry into the league was 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.[27]

Besides selecting Robinson for his exceptional baseball skills, Rickey also considered Robinson's outstanding personal character, his UCLA education and rank of captain in the U.S. Army in his decision, since he knew that boos, taunts, and criticism was going to be directed at Robinson, and that Robinson had to be tough enough to withstand abuse without attempting to retaliate.[28]

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 traveled to Havana, Cuba 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 renamed City Island Ballpark to Jackie Robinson Ballpark in his honor.

This event marked 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 eventually became 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 Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and Gil Hodges in the infield, Duke Snider and Carl Furillo in the outfield, Roy Campanella behind the plate, and Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, and Preacher Roe 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.[29] On August 11, 1951, Brooklyn led the National League by an enormous 13½ games over their archrivals, the Giants. 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 end 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. Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson, however, hit a stunning three-run walk-off home run off the Dodgers' Ralph Branca to secure the NL Championship for New York. To this day Thomson's 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,[30] 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.[31] 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 Amorós running down Yogi Berra's long fly ball, then throwing to shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who relayed to first baseman Gil Hodges to double up a surprised Gil McDougald to preserve the Dodger lead. Hank Bauer grounded out and 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 World Series perfect game in baseball history and the only post-season no-hitter for the next 54 years, it hardly seemed to matter. Brooklyn fans had their memory of triumph, and soon that was all they were left with – a victory that was remembered decades later 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 Rickey's 25 percent share of the team and secured the support of the widow of another equal partner, John L. Smith. Before long, O'Malley was working to buy new land in Brooklyn for a new, more accessible and better 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 out" the park to maximum capacity even in the heat of a pennant race, despite 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 eventual location of Shea Stadium, the home of the future New York Mets. Moses' vision involved a city-built, city-owned park, which was greatly at odds with O'Malley's real-estate savvy. When O'Malley realized that he was not going to be allowed to buy a suitable parcel of land in Brooklyn, he began thinking of team relocation.

O'Malley was free to purchase land of his own choosing but wanted Robert Moses to condemn one parcel of land along the Atlantic Railroad Yards in downtown Brooklyn under Title I authority, after O'Malley had bought the bulk of the land he had in mind. 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" included public parks, public housing and public highways and bridges. What O'Malley wanted was for Moses to use Title I authority, rather than to pay market value for the land. With Title I the city via Robert Moses could have sold the land to O'Malley at a below market price. Moses refused to honor O'Malley's request and responded, "If you want the land so bad, why don't you purchase it with your own money?"[32]

Meanwhile, non-stop transcontinental airline 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 civil aviation advances, it became possible to locate teams farther apart – as far west as California – while maintaining the same busy game schedules.

When Los Angeles officials attended the 1956 World Series looking to entice a team to move there, they were not even thinking of the Dodgers. Their original target had been the Washington Senators franchise, which moved 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 did not: a chance to buy land suitable for building a ballpark, and own that ballpark, giving him complete control over all its revenue streams. At the same time, the National League was not willing to approve the Dodgers' move unless O'Malley found a second team to willing to join them out west, largely out of concern for travel costs.[33]

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 had 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 L.A., defeating the former New York and newly relocated and renamed San Francisco Giants, 6–5, before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[34] Sadly, catcher Roy Campanella, left partially paralyzed in an off-season automobile accident on January 28, 1958, and 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. In the film, the story is related that O'Malley was so hated by Brooklyn Dodger fans after the move to California, that it was said, "If you asked a Brooklyn Dodger fan, if you had a gun with only two bullets in it and were in a room with Hitler, Stalin and O'Malley, who would you shoot? The answer: O'Malley, twice!"

References

  1. ^ Jackson, Kenneth T. The Encyclopedia of New York City, Second Edition, 2010. pp. 176-177
  2. ^ "1877 Hartford Dark Blues – Statistics and Roster". Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  3. ^ a b Lowry, Philip J. (2006). Green Cathedrals. New York, N.Y.: Walker and Company. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-8027-1562-3. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  4. ^ Goldblatt, Andrew (3 June 2003). "The Giants and the Dodgers: Four Cities, Two Teams, One Rivalry". McFarland – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Okrent, Daniel (1988). The Ultimate Baseball Book. Boston, USA: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 352. ISBN 0395361451.
  6. ^ a b Brown, Peter Jensen. "The Grim Reality of the Trolley Dodgers". Early Sports 'n Pop-Culture Blog. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Sports of All Sorts". The Roanoke Times. September 13, 1895. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  8. ^ Brown, Peter Jensen. "Rail Service to Eastern Park Brooklyn". Early Sports 'n Pop-Culture Blog. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Dodgers Timeline". Los Angeles Dodgers. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  10. ^ "Eight Straight Games". Brooklyn Eagle. 3 June 1888. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Wants More About the Brooklyn Team and Less About Ward". Brooklyn Eagle. 21 April 1892. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Hits from the Diamond". Brooklyn Eagle. 12 August 1899. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Braves Win in 13th". New York Times. 3 June 1914. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Brooklyn Ball Parks". BrooklynBallParks.com. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  15. ^ "Dressed to the Nines Uniform Database". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  16. ^ Bernado, Leonard; Weiss, Jennifer (2006). Brooklyn By Name: From Bedford-Stuyvesant to Flatbush Avenue, And From Ebbets Field To Williamsburg. New York: New York University Press. p. 81.
  17. ^ "Buccaneers Rout Sleepy Superbas" (PDF). New York Times. 1916-09-14. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  18. ^ "Buccaneers Take Last From Robins" (PDF). New York Times. 1918-05-19. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  19. ^ "Baseball History Book". NYTStore.
  20. ^ Sullivan, C. J. (29 March 2018). "Remembering the Brooklyn Dodger Who Hijacked a Plane". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  21. ^ author, UnknownUnknown (5 January 2019). "English: The cover of a program from the 1920 World Series" – via Wikimedia Commons.
  22. ^ "Dodgers Timeline". Los Angeles Dodgers. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  23. ^ "Dodgers Timeline". Los Angeles Dodgers. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Dodgers Timeline". Los Angeles Dodgers. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  25. ^ Vidmer, Richards (August 16, 1926). "Robins in Form, Win Two in Day - Take Double-Header From the Braves by 4 to 2 and 11 to 3 Before Starting West - Vance Pitches the Opener - Jess Barnes Keeps Up Victory Pace In Second - Batsmen Rouse From Their Slump". New York Times. p. 11. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  26. ^ Smith, H. Allen; Smith, Ira L. (1951). Three Men on Third. Halcottsville, New York: Breakaway Books. p. 17. ISBN 1-891369-15-6. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  27. ^ "Branch Rickey, 83, Dies in Missouri". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  28. ^ Goldstein, Richard (1991). Superstars and Screwballs: 100 Years of Brooklyn Baseball. New York: Dutton.
  29. ^ Silver, Nate (2007-09-27). "Lies, Damned Lies". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  30. ^ "1955 World Series: Rare, Never-Seen". LIFE.com.
  31. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball". 2006. Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  32. ^ Sullivan, Neil J. The Dodgers Move West.
  33. ^ Borzi, Pat (June 17, 2005). "The Giants Almost Headed Not Quite So Far West". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2018. The next day, according to Johnson, San Francisco officials met with Stoneham. By then the Dodgers were looking hard at Los Angeles. O'Malley needed the Giants because National League owners, concerned about travel costs, would not approve only one team going across the country.
  34. ^ "Giants 5 Dodgers 6 (Boxscore)". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 2009-11-10.

Other reading

  • D’Agostino, Dennis; Crosby, Bonnie. Through a Blue Lens: The Brooklyn Dodgers Photographs of Barney Stein, 1937–1957. Triumph Books.
  • Prince, Carl E. (2011). Brooklyn's Dodgers: The Bums, the Borough, and the Best of Baseball, 1947–1957. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195115789.001.0001.
  • Sullivan, Neil J. (1987). The Dodgers Move West : The Transfer of the Brooklyn Baseball Franchise to Los Angeles. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504366-9.
1954 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1954 throughout the world.

Ben Chapman (baseball)

William Benjamin "Ben" Chapman (December 25, 1908 – July 7, 1993) was an American outfielder, pitcher, and manager in Major League Baseball who played for several teams. He began his career with the New York Yankees, playing his first seven seasons there.

His playing reputation was eclipsed by the role he played in 1947 as manager of the Phillies, antagonizing Jackie Robinson by shouting racist epithets and opposing his presence on a major league team on the basis of Robinson's race with unsportsmanlike conduct that proved an embarrassment for his team.

During the period from 1926 to 1943, he had more stolen bases than any other player, leading the American League four times. After twelve seasons, during which he batted .302 and led the AL in assists and double plays twice each, he spent two years in the minor leagues and returned to the majors as a National League pitcher for three seasons, becoming player-manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, his final team.

Branch Rickey

Wesley Branch Rickey (December 20, 1881 – December 9, 1965) was an American baseball player and sports executive. He was perhaps best known for breaking Major League Baseball's color barriers by signing black player Jackie Robinson, as well as for creating the framework for the modern minor league farm system, for encouraging the Major Leagues to add new teams through his involvement in the proposed Continental League, and for introducing the batting helmet. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967, two years after his death.

Rickey played in MLB for the St. Louis Browns and New York Highlanders from 1905 through 1907. After struggling as a player, Rickey returned to college, where he learned about administration from Philip Bartelme. Returning to MLB in 1913, Rickey embarked on a successful managing and executive career with the St. Louis Browns, the St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals elected him to their team Hall of Fame in 2014.

Rickey also had a career in football, as a player for the professional Shelby Blues and as a coach at Ohio Wesleyan University and Allegheny College. His many achievements and deep Christian faith earned him the nickname "the Mahātmā."

Brooklyn

Brooklyn () is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County (which is coextensive with the borough of Manhattan).With a land area of 71 square miles (180 km2) and water area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Kings County is New York state's fourth-smallest county by land area and third-smallest by total area, though it is the second-largest among the city's five boroughs. Today, if each borough were ranked as a city, Brooklyn would rank as the third-most populous in the U.S., after Los Angeles and Chicago.

Brooklyn was an independent incorporated city (and previously an authorized village and town within the provisions of the New York State Constitution) until January 1, 1898, when, after a long political campaign and public relations battle during the 1890s, according to the new Municipal Charter of "Greater New York", Brooklyn was consolidated with the other cities, boroughs, and counties to form the modern City of New York, surrounding the Upper New York Bay with five constituent boroughs. The borough continues, however, to maintain a distinct culture. Many Brooklyn neighborhoods are ethnic enclaves. Brooklyn's official motto, displayed on the Borough seal and flag, is Eendraght Maeckt Maght, which translates from early modern Dutch as "Unity makes strength".

In the first decades of the 21st century, Brooklyn has experienced a renaissance as an avant garde destination for hipsters, with concomitant gentrification, dramatic house price increases, and a decrease in housing affordability. Since 2010, Brooklyn has evolved into a thriving hub of entrepreneurship and high technology startup firms, and of postmodern art and design.

Casey Award

The Casey Award has been given to the best baseball book of the year since 1983. The award was begun by Mike Shannon and W.J. Harrison, editors and co-founders of “Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine.”

Commissioner of Baseball

The Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the associated Minor League Baseball (MiLB) – a constellation of leagues and clubs known as organized baseball. Under the direction of the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts. The commissioner is chosen by a vote of the owners of the teams. The current commissioner is Rob Manfred, who assumed office on January 25, 2015.

Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Crown Heights is a neighborhood in the central portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The main thoroughfare through this neighborhood is Eastern Parkway, a tree-lined boulevard designed by Frederick Law Olmsted extending 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) east–west. Originally, the area was known as Crow Hill. It was a succession of hills running east and west from Utica Avenue to Washington Avenue, and south to Empire Boulevard and East New York Avenue. The name was changed when Crown Street was cut through in 1916.Crown Heights is bounded by Washington Avenue to the west, Atlantic Avenue to the north, Ralph Avenue to the east, and Empire Boulevard/East New York Avenue to the south. It is about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 2 miles (3.2 km) long. Neighborhoods bordering Crown Heights include Prospect Heights to the west, Flatbush and Prospect Lefferts Gardens to the south, Brownsville to the east, and Bedford-Stuyvesant to the north.

The neighborhood extends through much of Brooklyn Community Board 8 and 9. It is under the jurisdiction of two precincts of the New York City Police Department. The 77th Precinct is part of Brooklyn North, which covers Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Weeksville. The 71st Precinct is part of Brooklyn South and covers the southern end of Crown Heights.

Gordon Hahn

Gordon R. Hahn (April 15, 1919 – March 29, 2001) was a member of the Los Angeles City Council and California State Assembly in the mid-20th Century.While on the council, he cast the decisive vote that brought the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles and was instrumental in the appointment of Gilbert Lindsay, who became the first African American on the city council.His brother, Kenneth Hahn, was Los Angeles County supervisor for 40 years. After Kenneth suffered a stroke in 1987, Gordon was his field deputy until Kenneth retired in 1992.

Herman Franks

Herman Louis Franks (January 4, 1914 – March 30, 2009) was a catcher, coach, manager, general manager and scout in American Major League Baseball. He was born in Price, Utah, to Italian-American immigrant parents and attended the University of Utah.

Hilda Chester

Hilda Chester (September 1, 1897 – December 1, 1978), also known as Howlin' Hilda, was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and arguably the most famous fan in baseball history.

Hugh Casey (baseball)

Hugh Thomas "Fireman" Casey (October 14, 1913 – July 3, 1951) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for the Chicago Cubs (1935), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1939–42 and 1946–48), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1949), and the New York Yankees (1949).

Leo Durocher

Leo Ernest Durocher (; July 27, 1905 – October 7, 1991), nicknamed Leo the Lip and Lippy, was an American professional baseball player, manager and coach. He played in Major League Baseball as an infielder. Upon his retirement, he ranked fifth all-time among managers with 2,009 career victories, second only to John McGraw in National League history. Durocher still ranks tenth in career wins by a manager. A controversial and outspoken character, Durocher had a stormy career dogged by clashes with authority, the baseball commissioner, umpires (his 95 career ejections as a manager trailed only McGraw when he retired, and still rank fourth on the all-time list), and the press.

Durocher was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are an American professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division. Established in 1883 in Brooklyn, New York, the team moved to Los Angeles before the 1958 season. They played for four seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving to their current home of Dodger Stadium in 1962.

The Dodgers as a franchise have won six World Series titles and 23 National League pennants. 11 NL MVP award winners have played for the Dodgers, winning a total of 13 MVP Awards; eight Cy Young Award winners have pitched for the Dodgers, winning a total of twelve Cy Young Awards. The team has also produced 18 Rookie of the Year Award winners, twice as many as the next closest team, including four consecutive from 1979 to 1982 and five consecutive from 1992 to 1996.

Pete Reiser

Harold Patrick Reiser (March 17, 1919 – October 25, 1981), nicknamed "Pistol Pete", was an outfielder in Major League Baseball during the 1940s and early 1950s. He played primarily for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and later for the Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians.

Peter Golenbock

Peter Golenbock (born July 19, 1946) is a sports journalist and author. He has written ten New York Times best sellers including Dynasty: The New York Yankees 1949-1964, The Bronx Zoo (with Sparky Lyle), Number 1 (with Billy Martin), Balls (with Graig Nettles), Personal Fouls, Idiot (with Johnny Damon), Presumed Guilty (with Jose Baez), American Prince (with Tony Curtis), and Driven (with Donald Driver), and "House of Nails" with Lenny Dykstra.

Golenbock was working as a lawyer for Prentice-Hall in the summer of 1972 when he knocked on the door of Nick D'Incecco, the head of P-H's trade book division, and told D'Incecco he wanted to write a history of the Casey Stengel New York Yankees. D'Incecco, being a Yankee fan, liked the idea and gave him a contract almost on the spot. Golenbock interviewed almost all of the Yankees of that era (including Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Casey Stengel, Whitey Ford, Roger Maris, Ralph Houk, and Yogi Berra). Billy Martin so loved what Golenbock wrote in Dynasty that he asked him to write his autobiography, Number 1.

As a result, Golenbock continued to write books on the Yankees - The Bronx Zoo (a 1979 release written with pitcher Sparky Lyle), Balls (with third baseman Graig Nettles), and Number 1 (with manager Billy Martin), to name a few. He covered the old Brooklyn Dodgers teams in Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers (which won the 1984 CASEY Award for the best baseball book of the year). He also has written books on NASCAR, the New York Mets, and the Boston Red Sox (his 1992 Fenway: An Unexpurgated History of the Boston Red Sox was updated and re-released in 2005 as Red Sox Nation).Golenbock also has written on collegiate athletics. Personal Fouls - The Broken Promises and Shattered Dreams of Big Money Basketball at Jim Valvano's North Carolina State revisited 1980s college basketball and focused on Jim Valvano and the NC State University basketball team. Valvano threatened to sue Simon and Schuster and Golenbock for $250 million due to the lack of evidence and "unnamed sources" used in the book. After a full review of the manuscript S&S decided to drop it. "'Following completion of careful pre-publication review by the editors with the author," Simon & Schuster said, "it was determined that the manuscript Personal Fouls by Peter Golenbock did not meet the publishing standards established by Pocket Books. Therefore, Pocket Books will not proceed with publication of the book.'" It was picked up by small publisher Carroll and Graf. Within a week of publication, the school chancellor Bruce Poulton retired, and Valvano later was fired first as athletic director and as basketball coach. The book prompted an NCAA investigation which cleared Valvano of any wrongdoing, but only found that free tickets and shoes properly issued to players were then sold for monetary gain by those players alone.Golenbock next wrote an award-winning children's book entitled Teammates, which described an incident during Jackie Robinson's first season as a Brooklyn Dodger when he was publicly befriended by teammate Pee Wee Reese, a Southerner who believed Robinson had just as much right to be playing as anyone. Teammates was selected by Redbook Magazine as one of the ten-best children's books of 1990. It is still being used in schools across America today to foster racial relations.

Golenbock then published The Forever Boys, an intimate look at the lives of former major league ballplayers as they attempted to recapture former glory in the Senior Professional Baseball League. Golenbock spent the 1989–90 season with the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the senior league as he wrote about the joys and hardships of playing baseball on the professional level.

After writing Fenway, a sprawling, in-depth colorful history of the Boston Red Sox in 1991, he wrote American Zoom, an inside look at the multimillion-dollar NASCAR stock car racing industry. It is to this date the best-selling book ever written about the sport.In May 1994 St. Martin's Press published Wild, High, and Tight: The Life and Death of Billy Martin. Said Larry King in his column in USA Today, "It is one of the best biographies I have ever read." Robert Lipsyte in the New York Times said "It is the first nonfiction baseball book that reads like a Russian novel."Golenbock's next books were Wrigleyville, an oral history of the Chicago Cubs; Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes, an oral history of the Dallas Cowboys; and The Last Lap, a look at the men who lost their lives on the NASCAR racing circuit.

In the spring of 2000 Golenbock published The Spirit of St. Louis, an oral history of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. Golenbock also wrote a children's book about Hank Aaron's ordeal in breaking Babe Ruth's career home run record entitled Brave in Every Way. He followed that with Go Gators! an oral history of the University of Florida football team, and NASCAR Confidential with interviews with many of NASCAR's former heroes. In 2005 he published Idiot with Johnny Damon, an inside story of how the Red Sox won the World Championship in 2004.

Next came Miracle, the true-life saga of racer Bobby Allison. Golenbock then wrote 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, a controversial look at the life of the great Yankee slugger. In 2008 Golenbock wrote In the Country of Brooklyn, a political and social history of the borough for HarperCollins. In late 2008 Golenbock released a biography on Hollywood screen actor Tony Curtis (co-written with Curtis), entitled American Prince: A Memoir.

In the spring of 2009 Golenbock wrote George: The Poor Little Rich Boy who Built the Yankee Empire, a book he began in 1980, and in 2010 he worked with Humpy Wheeler, for many years the president of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, on his autobiography, Growing Up NASCAR.

IN 2011 he wrote the controversial Presumed Guilty with Jose Baez, the attorney for Casey Anthony, who had been accused of killing her daughter. The book is the inside story of one of the first big cases tried entirely in the media. It describes how the case became a reality show in which truth and justice took a back seat to a prosecutor's need for publicity and fame.

In 2012, he co-authored the memoir of Larry Lawton, entitled Gangster Redemption.In 2013 he published Driven, with Green Bay Packers star received Donald Driver, an athlete who grew up in poverty in Houston, had to live in a UHaul trailer for several months, sold drugs to sustain himself, and who went on to Alcorn A&M and the Packers to fame and fortune. Driven was Golenbock's ninth New York Times best seller.

In 2014 he published The "Chairman: The Rise and Betrayal of Jim Greer." Greer was the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, a moderate who was swept from power by the Tea Party faction that accused him of financial wrongdoing. He was found guilty after Gov. Charlie Crist lied about his actions in order to protect his political standing. Greer served a year in prison.

In 2016 "House of Nails: The Construction, The Demolition, The Resurrection" became Golenbock's tenth best seller. Dykstra was a controversial baseball player for the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Golenbock was a radio sports talk show host in 1980 on station WOR in New York City. He was a color broadcaster for the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the Senior Professional Baseball League in 1989-90 and has been a frequent guest on many television and radio talk shows including Biography on A&E, the Fifty Greatest Athletes on ESPN, and Yankeeography on the YES network.

Golenbock lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with Wendy Sears Grassi, and their cat Chauncey. He is a professor at the University of South Florida where he teaches courses about the influence of sports on American history.

Ray Thomas (baseball)

Raymond Joseph Thomas (July 9, 1910 – December 6, 1993) was a Major League Baseball catcher. He played professionally for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1930s.

The Boys of Summer (book)

The Boys of Summer is a 1972 non-fiction baseball book by Roger Kahn. After recounting his childhood in Brooklyn and his life as a young reporter on the New York Herald Tribune, the author relates some history of the Brooklyn Dodgers up to their victory in the 1955 World Series. He then tracks the lives of the 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) over the subsequent years as they aged. The title of the book is taken from a Dylan Thomas poem that describes "the boys of summer in their ruin".

Walter Alston

Walter Emmons Alston (December 1, 1911 – October 1, 1984), nicknamed "Smokey", was an American baseball player and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). He is best known for managing the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1954 through 1976, and signed 23 one-year contracts with the team. He had a calm, reticent demeanor, for which he was sometimes also known as "The Quiet Man."

Alston grew up in rural Ohio and lettered in baseball and basketball at Miami University in Oxford. Though his MLB playing career consisted of one game and one at-bat with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1936, he played and managed for several seasons in minor league baseball. His service included a stint as manager of the Nashua Dodgers, the first integrated professional team in modern baseball. He was promoted to manage the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 after several successful seasons in Brooklyn's Class AAA minor league teams.

As a major league manager, Alston led Dodgers teams to seven National League (NL) pennants and four world championships. His 1955 team was the only World Series championship team while the club was in Brooklyn; they clinched the NL pennant earlier in the calendar year than any previous pennant winner in league history. Alston retired with more than 2,000 career wins and managed NL All-Star teams to seven victories. He was selected as Manager of the Year six times.

Alston was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. He suffered a heart attack that year, was hospitalized for a month and was unable to attend his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He never fully recovered and he died at a hospital in Oxford, Ohio on October 1, 1984.

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