Radio Broadcast – 4/22/50, Dodgers vs Giants, Ebbets Field

Here’s my third YouTube upload of a classic radio broadcast – April 1950, Dodgers vs Giants, Ebbets Field, Red Barber, can’t get any better than that.

From the YT page details:

Red Barber in his Dodgers prime! Original full radio broadcast, and the first Dodgers game carried on a national radio network, Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, Saturday, April 22, 1950, against their arch-rivals, the New York Giants, and the first weekend of the young season. Dodgers went in 3-1, the Giants 0-4. Both would turn out to have fine seasons, but fall short of the Whiz Kid Phillies for the ’50 pennant. The Ol’ Redhead himself calls the first 3 and last 3 innings, and Connie Desmond the middle 3. Gil Hodges hit a solo HR in the 2nd, Giants P Jack Kramer a 2-run shot in the 4th, and Hank Thompson a solo shot in the 7th. And there’s endless ad reads for the brand new Post Sugar Crisp cereal! Ebbets announcer Tex Rickards can be heard at the beginning and end of the game (each batter had yet to be announced in ballparks), and Gladys Gooding on the Ebbets Field organ. So as Red says, “join us now for another Brooklyn ball game” – a classic time capsule of a Dodgers/Giants showdown in Flatbush, enjoy!

Line score:

NY    2 0 0 – 3 0 0 – 1 0 0 – 6 8 2
BRO 0 1 0 – 0 4 1 – 0 1 x – 7 7 0

Retrosheet Box Score and Play-by-Play: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1950/B04220BRO1950.htm

A Moment In Time – 5/21/55

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Saturday, May 21, 1955, the Phillies are in town and it’s also Ladies Day at Ebbets Field. Bottom of the fifth inning, bases loaded, Brooks already up 3-1, Duke Snider up with a 3-1 count, and here’s good old Jackie Robinson – running the wrong way? Turns out he’s just trying to get back to third base after straying too far off the bag, from maybe a ball in the dirt, perhaps a missed squeeze, or was Jackie trying to steal home? Third base coach Billy Herman and Jim “Junior” Gilliam on second watch intently as Phillies third-sacker Willie Jones corrals the throw. Peanuts Lowrey is the distant Phillies’ right fielder.

Brooklyn was certainly going the right way in the early days of the 1955 campaign – they crashed out of the gate with 10 straight wins, and after dropping 2 of 3 to the Giants at home, reeled off 11 more to improve to 22-2 and go up 9 1/2 games on New York by May 10. In fact, the Dodgers were on a rare losing streak going into this game, having dropped 4 straight before this contest.

“Junior” Gilliam patrolling second base made sense – he took over the defensive position from Jackie Robinson in 1953 (after they moved Jackie to third to save his knees), and did well, leading the Dodgers in runs scored, the NL in triples, and claimed the NL Rookie Of The Year honors. Gilliam would be the Dodgers’ supersub for many years, even well after they moved to Los Angeles. Junior would have an off year in 1955 (.249), but he did bat .292 in the World Series as Brooklyn took their only crown. He would become a player-coach in 1964, a full-time coach in 1967, and would be one of the longest holdovers from Brooklyn, being a Dodger for over 25 years and most of his life; he would die of a cerebral hemorrhage late in the 1978 season at the age of 49.

An even better second baseman is standing along the coaching lines at third – Billy Herman was a 10-time All Star and a good wartime Dodger (1941-1946), batting .330 in 1943. He would be traded to the Boston Braves and then the Pirates, both in 1946, and  became the Pirates manager in 1947. After a subpar campaign, he resigned on the last day of the season, managed in the minor leagues for a while, and returned to the Dodgers as a coach in 1952, through the rest of their tenure in Brooklyn. He would later become the manager of the Red Sox in the 1960’s. Although he had a lengthy baseball career as a player, coach and manager, his only championship ring would come this season, with the 1955 Dodgers. He was elected to the Hall Of Fame in 1975.

Willie (Puddin’ Head) Jones was the man for the job at third base that day – he was the Phillies’ third sacker throughout the 1950’s, and considered one of the best defensive third basemen of that decade. He had his best years in the 1950-1951 (including the 1950 Whiz Kids pennant winners), and was an All Star in those two seasons, but the lowly Phils wouldn’t return to the postseason for decades afterward. He also happens to be third on the Phillies’ all-time grand slam list (with 6), behind only Mike Schmidt and Ryan Howard. He also died in middle age, at 58 in 1983.

And our man Peanuts Lowery way out there in right was in his last major league season. The diminutive outfielder/third baseman/pinch hitter (who was briefly in the Our Gang comedies while growing up in Los Angeles in the 1920’s) would start only 6 more games before retiring at season’s end, and would eventually be a long time coach as well.

s-l500Jackie would rebound somewhat in ’56, but age and the onset of diabetes (a family trait) had depleted his once-great skills, and after he was traded to the New York Giants after the season, he announced his retirement from the game, which he had already planned to do after 1956. Sadly, he also died young, in 1972 at the age of 53, but clearly his legacy will always live on, as known to anyone taking the time to read this blog.

But back in a warm Saturday in May, to a gentleman and his lady (with a free ticket) sitting in two snug Ebbets Field seats in Brooklyn, NY, the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson were still the Boys Of Summer, and the Bums were going to live forever. Jackie did get back safely, and scored the 4th Dodger run as Snider also walked. Brooklyn would score 3 in the frame and win the game, 6-4, as Don Newcombe improved to 6-0 (in his first 20 win season) and the Dodgers would find themselves 6 1/2 games in first at the end of the day, with the majors’ best record at 26-8. And the Dodgers would go on to reach the pinnacle of Major League Baseball that fall, but like Jackie above, Brooklyn baseball had only a few stolen moments left.

Radio Broadcast – 6/4/57, Dodgers vs Cubs, Ebbets Field

As part of my ongoing efforts to bring classic baseball moments to the masses, lol, I have been creating videos of classic radio broadcasts and uploading them to YouTube. Time-consuming, so there will only be a few here and there, but hope to get a bunch up soon enough.

From the YT page details:

Original full radio broadcast from the Dodgers radio network, originally preserved by WOKO, Albany, NY. Tuesday night, June 4, 1957, the Dodgers return from a 9 game PA trip to come home to face the Cubs, with a young Sandy Koufax taking the mound. After the intro by Jerry Doggett, an also young Vin Scully (starts at 6:43) calls the first 3 innings, with some middle-innings work later; Doggett does the last 6 innings, along with some between-innings work also. Al Helfert also contributes between innings, and does the quick post-game at the end. Dodgers prevailed, 7-5, as Sandy got the win and Clem Labine got the save. Campanella hits a 2-run double off the scoreboard in the first, and also there were 4 home runs: Snider in the 3rd, Hodges in the 5th, Speake of the Cubs in the 6th and Ernie Banks in the 8th. Also, Joe Pignatano makes his major league debut (discussion starting at 1:07:14) after Campy is hit by a pitch in the 3rd inning. The sounds of the fans, vendors and Ebbets announcer Tex Rickards (first heard at 4:10) are heard throughout the game. A classic time capsule of the Dodgers’ last season in Brooklyn, enjoy!

Line score:

CHC 0 0 0 – 0 0 2 – 0 3 0 – 5 6 1
BRO 3 0 3 – 0 1 0 – 0 0 x – 7 7 0

Retrosheet Box Score and Play-by-Play: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1957/B06040BRO1957.htm

 

Burns-Eye Views of Big Time Parks, #4 – Ebbets Field

In 1937, Ed Burns, a sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune, penned a series of articles on every major league park at the time (15 articles in all, of 16 parks for 16 teams; the Cardinals and Browns shared Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, while the Indians played in both League Park and Cleveland Municipal Stadium that year, with one article for both), which were also published in the Sporting News that year.

A very interesting series, especially from the perspective of 1937, and the hand-drawn diagrams of interesting plays and quirks of each park are wonderful. I’ll post them in order of when they were originally published, and one at a time to make things interesting. Click the Burns-Eye Views of Big Time Parks category link to the right to see all the articles together.

Fourth in the series, classic Ebbets Field, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ home from 1913-1957, and one of the most beloved of all the classic parks. Also it had a prominent feature that was copied by Citi Field, and similar to Mets fans today, “Entrance Through Huge Rotunda Confuses Customer”, lol.

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The “Rare” Rotunda

Anyone who’s been to Citi Field or have even heard about it are probably familiar with it’s rotunda, loosely based on the one from Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, and constantly a matter of debate regarding it’s homage to Jackie Robinson (“he never played for the Mets!” “Wilpon’s a Dodger shill” “Why not the Seaver rotunda?” etc.) – in any event, it’s been well publicized and well photographed, and any Google search will bring up a flood of Citi rotunda photos.

But what of the rotunda that inspired it? Surely among the millions of folks that streamed through the Ebbets Field rotunda gates, more than a few were toting a camera, and were able to snap a pic or two of the classic entrance to one of the legendary baseball parks of all time. Or so one would think.

In reality, interior photos of the classic parks are exceedingly rare. Unlike today, no one really had no interest in the largely dark, dank recesses of the old stadiums, and were more in a hurry to get into the sunlight to watch some actual baseball. Film wasn’t exactly cheap, and those who had the wherewithall to bring a camera back then weren’t about to waste it snapping a photo of some dimly lit corner or walkway, they were going to save it for Duke Snider, or at least a photo of the playing field.

So, the result is, there are only a select few photos of the Ebbets Field rotunda that are publicly known. In fact, I believe there are currently only three:

The first one is the most common, from 1949, and is the one that pops up in a typical online image search. It also has the clearest view of the unique “baseball” chandelier that hung from the ceiling. Also, the words EBBETS FIELD can be seen surrounding a printed baseball on the floor of the rotunda. Oddly enough, the other prominent item in the photo is a display for football games to be played that fall, at Yankee Stadium (the team played at Ebbets in earlier seasons, so perhaps they felt obliged to keep selling tickets for them)!

 

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Here is a design for that chandelier that was printed in the Brooklyn Eagle when Ebbets was in the planning stages:

And, then, here are the other two – this one at least shows a few fans passing through the portals into the stadium itself.

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The third was just recently discovered, and likely from an architectural digest or booklet of some sort. It allows us another view of that funky chandelier, and even a bonus shot of Ebbets Field offices as well.

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There’s sort of a fourth, taken on Ebbets last day by the New York Times, but all we see is a plaque that supposedly was hanging in the rotunda. Entire article from the NYT shown (click on photo for link to larger pic of article).

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We DO have a nice photo of the original plan of the rotunda, and yep, seems to match up with what was built:

Also, we have a rare views of the walls of the rotunda, from beyond the rotunda doors in the “bowels” of the stadium. From a LIFE magazine Charley Neal photo shoot from 1956 – see the curved walls to the right – the doors underneath the “Next Game Dodgers vs” sign lead into the rotunda, through where the fans are passing through in one of the previous photos.

So, as a classic ballparks fan, here is your assignment: To somehow find the elusive FOURTH photo of the Ebbets Field rotunda, in order to further our knowledge on this rarest of circular entries. As Ebbets was torn down over 50 years ago, folks who actually walked through it are getting older, and finding more photos may be our only hope!