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Baseball's History and little known facts

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This part of MVPMODS was started to post news about baseball's history. Do you know something about the game that you've read that you thought was interesting and you wanted to pass it on? Anything like that you can post in here.

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I like it. Very nice idea for a forum.

I would like to mention the Negro Leagues, simply because very few baseball fans know much about it, and to be honest, I don't know a great deal myself.

Until further notice (Or until I have more time), the only things I would like to pass on are:

Satchel Paige: Greatest pitcher of all time.

Josh Gibson: Greatest power hitter of all time. He isn't the black Babe Ruth, Babe Ruth is the white Josh Gibson!

Bow down.

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well how she goes

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Mark, then post some history of those Negro Leagues! There's such a wealth of information out there and it's all interesting.

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Not sure if this belongs here or not but I have a little history with a personal touch.

My cousin Ed Farmer actually pitched in the 1980 allstar game in LA. He pitched for the White Sox among many other teams throughout his 11 years in the bigs. Obviosly, that was his best year where he was their closer and ended up with 30 saves and a 3.34 ERA. He's now the color guy on radio for the White Sox and has been for many years. Just thought I'd share, and wondered if any of you guys remember him.

His nephew Tom Farmer now pitches for the Dodgers AAA team in Las Vagas.

It's kind of cool following his success and hopefully he'll make it to the big leagues soon.

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Not sure if this belongs here or not but I have a little history with a personal touch.

My cousin Ed Farmer actually pitched in the 1980 allstar game in LA. He pitched for the White Sox among many other teams throughout his 11 years in the bigs. Obviosly, that was his best year where he was their closer and ended up with 30 saves and a 3.34 ERA. He's now the color guy on radio for the White Sox and has been for many years. Just thought I'd share, and wondered if any of you guys remember him.

His nephew Tom Farmer now pitches for the Dodgers AAA team in Las Vagas.

It's kind of cool following his success and hopefully he'll make it to the big leagues soon.

That's part of the game too Trues. And, I saw Ed Farmer play in Triple A years ago. He had a good arm.

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Ill be partr of the big leagues some day. Then when I make it....ill get tickets for all u guyz to any home game of mine......cheer me on as i move up....next year HS College MINORS AND MAJORS!!!! then ill be posted.

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Ill be partr of the big leagues some day. Then when I make it....ill get tickets for all u guyz to any home game of mine......cheer me on as i move up....next year HS College MINORS AND MAJORS!!!! then ill be posted.

Um, that's fine but you are off topic. Stick to the topic, if at any way possible.

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For any baseball fan that hasn't seen it, rent and/or buy Ken Burns' 'Baseball'. It's truly amazing.

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Seattle baseball:

On the surface, most people associate the Mariners as the team in Seattle. As it turns out, you'd only be partly right. Baseball has a long history in the great Northwest. One of the most successful minor league teams was called the Seattle Rainers, members of the Pacific coast league. A local brewer, a man named Emil Sick, bought the team in the 1930's and built a stadium called Sick's Seattle Stadium. That stadium housed the Rainers and the 1969 Seattle Pilots.

A slideshow of Seattle's Rainers can be found here:

http://www.historylink.org/Slide_show/index.cfm?file_id=7123

Seattle Pilots information page. (Has photos and rare game audio there. You will need Real Audio to listen to that.)

http://www.brandx.net/pilots/

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For any baseball fan that hasn't seen it, rent and/or buy Ken Burns' 'Baseball'. It's truly amazing.

I agree, that documentary is wonderful, I especially enjoyed the episodes on the early 20th century.

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Ebbets Field. Home of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 to 1957.

Of all the places I have read about in baseball history, with the obvious exception of old Yankee Stadium, this is the place I would have wanted to see the most. The Brooklyn Dodgers were not just a baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers were Brooklyn. People from Brooklyn identified with their Dodgers. They defended "Dem Bums" and if anyone that wasn't a Dodger fan put down a member of the team, they'd have something to answer to. Brooklyn fans were loyal, passionate and loud. Walter O' Malley took the Dodgers out of Brooklyn after the 1957 season and Brooklyn has not been the same since.

History

Cramped, yet always colorful, Ebbetts Field was the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. They struggled here in the 1920s and 1930s, brought Jackie Robinson to major league baseball here in 1947, and won the World Series here in 1955. It was originally built without a press box (one was finally added in 1929) and no one brought the key to the bleachers for the first game.

It was built by Dodgers owner Charlie Ebbetts in 1913, who had risen through the organization from ticket seller to business manager. He became the owner in 1902, buying the team from Harry von der Horst, who wanted the team to stay in Brooklyn and so passed over higher bidders who would have moved the team; Ebbetts had no money, and instead of solidifying the team's finances by selling his star ballplayers he concentrated on building the team a new, modern ballpark. The only location he could afford was a garbage dump 3 miles south by southwest of the Manhattan Bridge, down Flatbush Avenue, known as Pigstown - so called because pigs would feast on the waste each morning - which smelled of sulfur and rotten fish.

The park opened in 1913, and the city of Brooklyn began to grow around it. The parcel of land was tiny, meaning that the spacious field allowed a capacity of just 18,000. As the grandstand was expanded, the field shrunk - as the grandstand was extended to left and center in the early 1930s, the distance to left was reduced to 353 feet, and the distance to center fell to 400 feet. By 1948, the power alleys were just 352 feet, and center field stood a very reasonable 384 feet away - these distances were made even shorter by the upper deck, which hung over the playing field. The distance to the 38-foot right field wall was just 297 feet at the foul pole.

Right Field Wall:

The right field wall was a gem. The wall towered 38 feet high and abutted Bedford Avenue; the top half was a black screen, and the bottom half was a patchwork collection of local ads. The wall was would deflect line drives at unpredictable angles, and the quirky, angled centerpiece added to the mayhem. The large black scoreboard featured the famous Abe Stark "Hit sign, win suit" advertisement on the bottom, and a Schaefer beer ad on top which gave the official scorer's ruling on hits and errors by lighting up the appropriate letter (H or E).

The Fans:

As colorful as the ballpark itself was, the boisterous fans here really made it the jewel in the firmament of classic ballparks. They would hoot and holler incessantly, and carried on a long-running love affair with their team. There was the Dodger Sym-Phony, a group of musically inclined fans who would play songs that ranged from mildly irritating to a nails-on-the-chalkboard cacophony, depending on the amount of alcohol imbibed. There was Jack Pierce, who would buy an extra seat for his bartender whenever he attended. The bartender's job was to blow up balloons, which Jack would let go during the game.

There was Hilda Chester, who cheered so loud she suffered a heart attack; after that, she would still attend every game and bang a frying pan with a spoon to urge her team on. The Dodgers gave her her trademark brass cowbell in the late 1930s so she wouldn't get food all over her fellow fans. There is a story about Chester slipping a note to giving a note to Pete Reiser, Brooklyn's center fielder, and asking him to give it to manager Leo Durocher. The note said, "Get Casey hot. Wyatt's losing it." Leo the Lip (who visited Hilda in the hospital after her second heart attack) thought the note came from team president Larry McPhail because he had seen Reiser conversing with the GM moments before; so upon reading the note, he began warming up reliever Hugh Casey. Eventually, starter Whit Wyatt - who had pitched brilliantly - gave up a hit, and Durocher pulled him in favor of Casey, who made a close game out of it before barely saving the win for Wyatt.

Exasperated, Durocher ordered Reiser not to hand him notes from McPhail anymore during the game. When Reiser told him who the note was from, Durocher flew into an unintelligible, apoplectic rage.

By 1957, Ebbets Field had grown too old to satisfy Dodger owner Walter O'Malley, and in 1958 Brooklyn's beloved Dodgers were in Los Angeles. Only 6,673 fans attended the final game, and the park was demolished in 1960.

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^^^^ man they should have kept that stadium a hostoric monument. I have a brick from that stadium hung up on a plaque with a picture of ebbets field........they should have kept the brooklyn dodgers.

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^^^^ man they should have kept that stadium a hostoric monument. I have a brick from that stadium hung up on a plaque with a picture of ebbets field........they should have kept the brooklyn dodgers.

Well, you can blame O'Malley for that. There were other franchise shifts before this in baseball, but the Dodgers were the first team to move that was not losing money. Many older people in Brooklyn, to this day have not forgiven O'Malley for what he did and they have sworn off baseball forever. O'Malley died in 1979, a rich but hated man.

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How many people in here know of the link between the notorious Ty Cobb of the Tigers and Coca-Cola? Yes, the very same drink you've been downing all these years now. Here's an interesting article from the Hall of Fame explaining this relationship

Ty Cobb Sold Me a Soda Pop

Hall of Fame Outfielder Ty Cobb and Coca-Cola

by Dan Holmes

This newspaper advertisement from 1907 was the first Coca-Cola ad featuring Cobb.

The year 1886 proved to be a productive one for the state of Georgia. In the "Peach State" on May 8, one of the most popular beverages in history was first concocted, and on December 18, a legendary ballplayer was born. As a result, Coca-Cola became a household name and one of the most profitable companies in the world, and Tyrus Raymond Cobb became a batting champion and eventually one of the first members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The paths of these two American giants were linked, not only in their birth, but also in the first decades of the 20th century. Cobb, who was born in Narrows, Georgia, made his major league debut for the Detroit Tigers on August 30, 1905. By that time, Coca-Cola was one of the most popular fountain drinks in the South. In September 1907, with Cobb's Tigers on their way to their first American League flag, Coca-Cola began running an advertising campaign featuring the 20-year old ballplayer, who was on his way to the first of his record 12 batting titles. The ad showed the Georgian at the plate and claimed that Coca-Cola "will put you back into the game - relieve the thirst and cool you off."

It was the first of many campaigns in which Cobb endorsed the soft drink. In part it read, "Ty Cobb says: I drink Coca-Cola regularly throughout all seasons of the year. On days when we are playing a double-header I always find that a drink of Coca-Cola between the games refreshes me to such an extent that I can start the second game feeling as if I had not been exercising at all, in spite of my exertions in the first." Other ads in the Coca-Cola campaign featured future Hall of Fame members Nap Lajoie and Rube Waddell, among others.

Cobb not only lent his image and name to Coca-Cola, he also invested his money. A shrewd businessman, Cobb bought his first stock in the Atlanta-based soft drink company in 1918 at the suggestion of friend Robert Woodruff, the son of the president of Coca-Cola and later himself the leader of the company for more than six decades. Cobb took out a loan against his future baseball earnings to buy his first 1,000 shares and continued to invest in Coca-Cola throughout his lifetime. Quickly, Cobb and Woodruff developed a close relationship, harbored by their common Georgian heritage — Woodruff a native of Atlanta. Like Cobb, Woodruff was a sportsman and an intense competitor, and he would often invite Cobb to go quail hunting on his 30,000 acre hunting plantation in Ichauway, Georgia.

Cobb's Coca-Cola investments paid off handsomely, helping to make him one of the first athletes to become independently wealthy. In sharp contrast to other athletes who squandered their money and retired broke, Cobb built an enormous fortune over the course of his playing career and beyond. Confident in Coca-Cola, Cobb encouraged his friends and family to invest in the "Pause that Refreshes," as well. Future Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer, who debuted as a rookie with Detroit under Cobb's leadership in 1924, recalled that Cobb would give the younger players financial advice. "He told us about Coca-Cola and egged us on to buy the stock, but we weren't making enough money to buy shares," Gehringer recalled years later.

Bottle issued in 1986 celebrating Cobb and Coca-Cola's 100th birthdays. The bottle reads "Royston, Georgia Proudly Salutes the Immortal Ty Cobb, The Georgia Peach."

One of baseball's highest paid players, Cobb continued to put money into the company, later purchasing three Coca-Cola bottling plants, in Santa Maria, California, Twin Falls, Idaho and Bend, Oregon. Eventually he would own more than 20,000 shares of Coca-Cola stock, making him one of the major stockholders in the company and earning him a place on the board of directors. As the company grew, Cobb's fortune swelled. At the time of his death in 1961, Cobb's estimated worth was between $10 and $12 million, "a large volume of it generated by Coca-Cola stock," according to Coca-Cola spokesman Phil Mooney. Due, in large part, to these investments, Cobb was able to establish the Cobb Educational Foundation of Atlanta, which paid college tuition for thousands of young people, and to build the Cobb Memorial Hospital of Royston, Georgia, just a few miles from his home town.

Cobb's personality was a valuable commodity for Coca-Cola, even after his playing days ended. In 1947, the company released a set of cardboard posters, "All-Time Winners," one of which featured Cobb, which introduced him to a new generation of baseball fans and soda drinkers. Other sports legends included in that series were boxer Gene Tunney, golfer Bobby Jones and football great Red Grange. In 1986, a special limited edition commemorative bottle with a photo of Cobb on the side was issued to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cobb's birth and the birth of Coca-Cola. The Hall of Fame has one of those bottles in its collections.

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The St. Louis Browns

Team spotlight:

The old expression about the St. Louis Browns was, "First in shoes, first in booze, and last in the American League." In their 52-year history, the Browns finished in the cellar 14 times, and seventh 12 times. They made only a dozen appearances in the first division. Once, in 1944, they treated their fans to a pennant.

After the 1901 season, the Milwaukee Brewers, charter members of the American League, moved to St. Louis and became the Browns - a name that recalled the glorious history of Chris von der Ahe's Brown Stockings. In their first St. Louis season, the Browns finished second. After years of prosperity at the gate, in 1916 owner Robert Hedges sold the team to Philip Ball, who had owned the St. Louis Terriers of the defunct Federal League. Ball's tenure, lasting until 1933, was one of failure.

Ball's first major blunder was allowing Branch Rickey, the resident genius in the Browns' front office, to jump to the Cardinals because of a conflict of egos. In 1920 Sam Breadon, who had just purchased the Cardinals, beseeched Ball to allow his team to cohabit the Browns' home, Sportsman's Park. Breadon put the money from the sale of the Cardinals' Robison Field into the minor league system, which eventually produced a host of star players that brought the Cardinals far more drawing power than the Browns.

The 1922 Browns excited their owner by almost beating the Yankees to a pennant. The club was boasting the best players in franchise history, including future Hall of Famer George Sisler, and an outfield trio - Ken Williams, Baby Doll Jacobson, and Jack Tobin - that batted .300 or better in 1919-23 and in 1925. Ball confidently predicted that there would be a World Series in Sportsman's Park by 1926. In anticipation, he increased the capacity of his ballpark from 18,000 to 30,000. There was a World Series in Sportsman's Park in 1926 - with the Cardinals upsetting the Yankees. St. Louis had been considered a "Browns' town" until then.

The Browns drew only 80,922 fans for the entire 1936 season - the first year of Donald Barnes' ownership. The downward spiral reached its nadir in 1939; from 1937 to 1939, the Browns compiled a 144-316 record. The franchise was developing a hard-luck aura; in 1941 Barnes tried to move his team to Los Angeles. The league meeting for approval was held in Chicago one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Understandably, Barnes was denied.

With the arrival of manager Luke Sewell in 1941, the Browns began a rebuilding program that culminated in their only World Series appearance, in 1944. It took two home runs by outfielder Chet Laabs against the Yankees on the final day of the season to clinch the pennant. After leading the Cardinals two games to one in the Trolley Series, the Browns lost the final three contests, and the World Championship. Due primarily to WWII, the 1940s have been described as a time when "even the Browns" won a pennant, demeaning their only legitimate success. One-armed Pete Gray was employed in their 1945 outfield, further enhancing their negative legacy.

The owners that followed the 1944 pennant, Richard Muckerman (1945-49), and Bill and Charlie DeWitt, were caught in a spiral of rising inflation and sagging expectation. The Browns had to sell off players to pay their bills; when attendance dropped as a result, they were forced to sell more talent.

In 1951 Bill Veeck bought the noncontending Browns with the expressed purpose of driving the Cardinals out of town. Cardinals owner Fred Saight had income tax troubles that resulted in a prison term, but August Busch restored order by purchasing the team. To draw fans, Veeck gave them "fun 'n' games," including midget Eddie Gaedel. The stunts so angered the other owners that Veeck was forced to sell the club to Baltimore interests in 1953, putting an end to the St. Louis Browns.

Artwork of some All-Time Browns players:

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The Boston Braves

That's right, the Braves that you know that play in Atlanta started out in Boston. Here's a brief history of that team

The franchise that is now the Atlanta Braves, after a 13-year stopover in Milwaukee, is the longest continuously active club in baseball history. A charter member of the National Association, the first professional league, the team called itself the Boston Red Stockings because manager Harry Wright and three other members of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first pro team, were on the original club in 1871. They finished first four straight years (1872-75) and continued in the National League when that organization supplanted the NA in 1876.

Boston won eight NL pennants before the end of the 19th century, becoming known as the Beaneaters in the process. The 20th century wasn't as kind to the team, which finally assumed the familiar Braves name. Boston did make history in 1914 when the "Miracle Braves" took less than two months to go from last to first in the second half of the season and proceeded to stun the Athletics in the World Series, becoming in the process the first team to successfully utilize platooning. Financial difficulties took their toll over the next thirty years, as the Braves finished over .500 only five times from 1917 through 1945, but contractor Lou Perini bought the franchise for 1946. With a turnover of personnel on the field and in the front office, the team won the NL pennant in 1948, but declining attendance resulted in the move to Milwaukee only five years later. Babe Ruth hit his final home runs in a Boston Braves uniform in 1935, and Casey Stengel managed the club during the lean years of the late 1930s and early 1940s

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I love baseball history, and Ken Burns epic is great. Only two complaints about it: A. It's so New York biased that it even die-hard Yankee fans have said that it's too much.

B. It stops before 1994, thus we miss out on the strike, Cal Ripken's streak, the 98 HR race, the 2000 Olympic team (AKA Ben Sheets slays the Cubans!), the 2001 World Series (AKA Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson slay the Yankees!), the 2002 "west-coast" series, the 2003 playoffs and the 2004 "Breaking of the curse". Somebody needs to make a sequel.

But anyway, you should really try Baseball-almanac's articles, there great!

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Take a look at this picture of Joe Dimaggio at bat. What do you see?

Do you see Dimaggio swinging and the catcher behind him? Now, how about the people that seem to be right in the middle of them? Actually they are off to the side of them. Do you know who they are? Well, they are photographers. Back then, photographers were allowed on the field during game play to take pictures. In a sense, they were like umpires but they had to stay in foul territory. If you ran into one, it was the fielder's fault. Eventually, this practice ceased to exist. One more bit of trivia: the last team to allow photographers on the field during the game was the Cleveland Indians, in old Municipal Stadium. They were allowed on the field until the late 1970's.

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MORRIS "MOE" BERG

Country: United States

Born: March 2, 1902, in New York City

Died: May 29, 1972

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Major League Baseball catcher and shortstop with five teams between 1923 and 1939, Moe Berg was a solid journeyman player with a lifetime batting average of .243. He also had a Princeton University law degree and the ability to speak 12 languages, among them Japanese, Spanish, Latin,

German, and Portuguese.

It was the language credentials, combined with his baseball persona, that motivated the U.S. government in 1942 to persuade Berg to leave his coaching job with the Boston Red Sox and undertake a secret intelligence mission in South America. Following a successful trip, he accepted a position

in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS—the U.S. World War II

covert spy organization) and was assigned to the European Theater, specializing in scientific intelligence. The complete range of his activities may never be known, but his success was so important to the war effort that Berg was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, in October, 1945. Two months after receiving the medal

from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he returned it, explaining that he was “uncomfortable†with it.

Berg’s first known taste of the cloak-and-dagger occurred long before World War II. In 1934, on a Major League Baseball goodwill trip to Japan with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and teammates, he was recruited by the American government to acquire some seemingly harmless information. Using his non-playing time and sightseeing tours, Berg photographed the industrial skyline and other landmarks of Tokyo. Eight years later, his V.I.P. tourist photographs served as the foundation for General Jimmy Doolittle’s renowned “thirty seconds over Tokyo†1942 raid. After the sneak attack bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanesespeaking Berg, who enjoyed considerable popularity with Japan’s sporting public, having made several baseball-themed visits to the Far East, offered to speak to the Japanese people in an effort to inspire the populace to demand that its warlords cease further outrages of war. The offer was accepted and broadcasting arrangements were handled by the U.S. government.

In early 1942, he resigned as a coach with the Boston Red Sox, having been induced by Nelson A. Rockefeller, then chief of the Office of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, to become a “goodwill ambassador†to Latin America. Berg’s assignment was to be a morale builder for American troops stationed in South America and teach baseball to the locals— and get a firsthand feel for Germany’s influence among America’s Latin neighbors. The six-month excursion by plane, train, jeep, and on foot took

him through 20 countries.

Upon his return to the United States, Berg was recruited by the OSS as a civilian operative. He was assigned to infiltrate European scientific circles in concert with Allied troop liberation of cities and hamlets from German occupation. Experiencing extraordinary success, Berg was given the top-secret task of learning whether or not Germany had developed an atomic bomb. Through his cunning work, which brought him within seconds of assassinating Germany’s top nuclear fission physicist, the Allies learned that Germany did not have the devastating A-bomb. Following World War II, Berg countered Soviet Union intelligence operatives, scouring Europe for prominent scientists to offer a scientific haven in America.

Although the war had ended, the very private Moe Berg adhered to the no-longer-binding wartime code of secrecy regarding recollections of his spying assignments. Only in recent years have accounts of his intelligence activities become public. Without commenting on the specifics of the former Major Leaguer’s clandestine assignments, government officials have referred to Berg as a hero and described the results of his efforts as“ invaluable to our country.â€

It was Berg the athlete who inspired a baseball scout in 1922 to coin the classic remark “Good field, no hit.†He began as a shortstop but enjoyed most of his career behind the plate. Berg played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1923, the Chicago White Sox from 1926 to 1930, the Cleveland Indians in 1931 and 1934, the Washington Senators in 1932 and 1934, the Boston

Red Sox from 1935 to 1939, and was a Red Sox coach until 1942.

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This describes how good of a hitter Rogers Hornsby was:

In the early 30's (poss. late 20's), a young pitcher was making his MLB debut and he was facing Rogers. The ump called the first pitch a ball and the pitcher did not agree. He didn't argue but was visibly unhappy. He delivered the next pitch and it was called ball 2. This time the pitcher smacked his glove against his leg in anger, but still kept his mouth closed. Ball 3! The young pitcher couldn't take it anymore and he yelled at the ump "That was a strike!" The ump calmly looked at the young pitcher and said: "Son, when you throw a strike, Mr. Hornsby will let you know." The next ball was right down the middle and was nailed for a double!

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they should have kept that stadium a hostoric monument. I have a brick from that stadium hung up on a plaque with a picture of ebbets field........they should have kept the brooklyn dodgers

I agree with you about the stadium, but the idea of the lovely Brooklyn fans loving the Dodgers so much and so forth was kind of a myth by the end of the 50s. Attendance was down and O'Malley tried repeatedly to secure land, etc for a new ballpark in Brooklyn. The myth that as soon as he took control of the Dodgers he couldn't wait to move them is just that...a myth. The O'Malley family's roots were in Brooklyn. They wanted to stay there. But at that point, as wonderful as the story of Ebbetts Field was, it was time for a new ballpark. L.A. came in and made O'Malley an offer he couldn't refuse and the city of Brooklyn did not seem all that interested in keeping the Dodgers. So they made the move and it was the best thing the franchise ever did. I don't think Brooklyn could support a major league team now.

But I think they should have kept the stadium and repaired it. It could have been a museum of some kind and maybe the L.A. Dodgers could have put one of their farm teams in Brooklyn. Anyway, if you read "True Blue: An Oral History of the Los Angeles Dodgers" the first few chapters talk in depth of the lengths that O'Malley tried to stay in Brooklyn. He's been villified on the east coast since then, but Brooklyn pretty much pushed the Dodgers to the west coast. :mrgreen:

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Well, you can blame O'Malley for that. There were other franchise shifts before this in baseball, but the Dodgers were the first team to move that was not losing money. Many older people in Brooklyn, to this day have not forgiven O'Malley for what he did and they have sworn off baseball forever. O'Malley died in 1979, a rich but hated man.

I respectfully disagree. See my previous post.

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