Thursday, September 27, 2007
Saturday will mark the 50th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers' last game- a 2-1 loss in Philly to finish an 84-70 season. It was the last gasp of the Boys of Summer, a squad which had remained basically intact since 1947, winning six pennants and the 1955 World Series. It was, until 2001, the last gasp of any kind of professional baseball in Brooklyn.
On Monday, we walked around the Ebbets Field apartments, to mark the date of the last major league game there. No-one else seemed to care. We tried to imagine the old stadium, with its grand rotunda, legendary scoreboard, foul territory the size of a small state, and rough mix of fans representing all the neighborhoods and ethnicities of Brooklyn. It's not easy to do, so long after the fact. But someone has to greet the ghosts of Brooklyn's baseball past, and let them know that we remember.
For the record, Brooklyn beat Pittsburgh 2-0 in that final home game. Rookie Dan McDevitt pitched a complete game, giving up just five hits. After losing the series in Philadelphia, the most beloved team in baseball flew to Los Angeles, never to return.
Ebbets Field saw action for another two years: Long Island University played there, along with sundry high school championship games and negro league exhibitions. The last game there was on August 23, 1959- a double header between the Kansas City Monarchs and Brooklyn Stars. Herm Green of the Stars hit the last home run, off no less a pitcher than Satchel Paige.
In 1960, Ebbets Field was torn down.
In 1962, the apartments were built. They've been there nearly as long as the field was. They'll be there a lot longer yet, I'm sure.
But the ghosts remain. And those of us who remember will visit, and keep them company.