New York Post
“great tales of the team when it toiled in Brooklyn…well-researched remembrance”
The New York Times
“a compilation of loving reminiscences and obscure facts”
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“the perfect book to warm a true Brooklynite’s heart”
Gregg’s Baseball Bookcase
“it does give the reader a little different angle at which to view the Dodgers’ time in Brooklyn”
2016 Ron Gabriel Award (Society for American Baseball Research)
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1
After the 1957 season, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley left Brooklyn in his wake when he guided the borough’s flagship sports team to the beachhead of Los Angeles. His maneuver lacerated the hearts of Dodger fans that turned every shade of gray in the spectrum. Brooklynites fused in a cohesive hatred for their newfound enemy.
O’Malley’s villainous status endures, rightly or wrongly, as a malevolent counterweight to nostalgic joy—he robbed the fans’ identity cornerstone when he countenanced a move to bring major league baseball to the West Coast in the form of the Dodgers. An often-told joke that some Brooklyn Dodger fans tell with sobriety rather than irony remains in circulation—A guy says to his friend, “If you were in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Walter O’Malley and you had a gun with two bullets, what would you do?” The friend says, “Shoot O’Malley twice.”
Their spirit amputated, Dodger fans mourned the loss represented by the soulless void of a silent Ebbets Field.
Obsolete and vacant as a once gloried dominion of baseball excellence, Ebbets Field no longer served a valuable function. What began as the innovative brainchild of then owner Charles Ebbets in 1913 aged into an archaic edifice. Once a nucleic fixture for Brooklyn, Ebbets Field balanced on the precipice of ignominy. Its storied life ended in 1960 with demolition that placed an arctic exclamation point on the end of an already frosty sentence—The Brooklyn Dodgers were no more.
If fans run their fingers over the memories, they feel scars that never fully healed and, consequently, trigger a bittersweet though palpable aura. Bitter for the abandonment. Sweet for the memories.
Vividly, they recall Jackie Robinson’s fiery yet pigeon-toed style of running, Carl Furillo’s mastery of baseball caroms off Ebbets Field’s idiosyncratic right field wall, and Roy Campanella’s powerful swaths that decimated National League pitching.
But the memories are more than homages to a great baseball team that patrolled the verdant pasture at 55 Sullivan Place, an address that no longer appears on Brooklyn’s Post Office rolls. For those who saw the Dodgers play in the Jackie Robinson era, the memories are laced with a trenchant emotion that reveals a depth of love betrayed in Shakespearean proportions.
O’Malley’s decision to move the Dodgers a continent away from Brooklyn, felonious in the hearts and minds of the Dodger faithful, anchored in a sweetheart deal with the power brokers of L.A.—they gave him the real estate of Chavez Ravine gratis for the new Dodger Stadium. Not since Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island for 60 guilders on behalf of the Dutch had a land deal bared incomparable value for the land’s new settlers.