Superman: When fiction & History Are one IN MEMORIAM: YOGI BERRA 1969 SEATTLE PILOTS: STORY OF BETRAYAL
John Dillinger: Cubs Fan? THE GREATEST TRADE THAT NEVER WAS
Letter From The Editor Hello and welcome to the first digital download issue of Baseball Magazine! My name is Billy Brost, and what you are about to experience is the first in my vision to revive a legendary publication dedicated strictly to the long and rich history of our national pastime. Why now? In a market that is a 24/7 news cycle, I believe there is a need to celebrate the past, while examining contemporary topics. The game of baseball perfectly meshes its past with its present. I am proud of the staff we have assembled, and I hope you've enjoyed the various web issue pieces we have provided for you since the site's launch back in March of this year. We as a staff, aim to provide thought-provoking, entertaining content, which asks for discussion and debate. The wonderful thing about examining the history of the game, is that the lens in which the topics are studied, researched and discussed, is always fluid, always changing with the latest outing from one of today's stars. We have plenty of things to come for the future of Baseball Magazine, and I feel we are just starting the scratch the surface of the impact we want to make for baseball fans. We began by debuting online pieces, and moved to a daily short feature that we've scaled back somewhat. The next step was to begin the design and layout of our digital download issues. What's the difference between the web content and the digital download issues? There will be exclusive content just in the download that you as the reader, will never find on the webpage or linked to any other site on the Internet. In-depth, exclusive pieces such as a guest contribution about how and why the Dodgers were truly "Brooklyn's team" from contributor Christine Sisto in the first of a multi-part series. Regular contributors from the staff, such as Associate Editor Dan Hughes, talks with long time Negro League player Art Pennington, looking back at his life and career, and his life off the diamond as a civil rights activist. In this issue, we also include some of our better daily shorts, such as infamous criminal John Dillinger's love affair with the Chicago Cubs. We remember the greatness of an American icon in Yogi Berra, as he left us within the past couple of weeks, and much, much more. What's next for Baseball Magazine? Along with the web content, daily shorts, and digital download issue each month, we are in the process of acquiring and building an exclusive archive of all Baseball Magazine material, dating back to the first part of the twentieth century, a project that will continue to grow as we gain better access to back issues of this wonderful publication. Finally, our videographer/contributing writer, Eric Becker, is working steadily to establish the Baseball Magazine You Tube channel, which will feature interviews and baseball experiences you will not find anywhere else. Eric brings the game's past to life in living color, by taking us on voyages around the baseball world, speaking to those who made the game's history what it is today. In short, we at Baseball Magazine, aim to bring the total baseball history experience, short of making a trip to Cooperstown, New York or to the Negro League Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. The fabulous staff that Dan and I have assembled, are as passionate about the history of the game as we are. As a staff, we spend countless hours researching, writing, and discussing as a group, topics, ideas, we debate, we argue, and we celebrate. We celebrate the game's history, just as you the fans do--because we too are fans of the game. Only in the game of baseball, do records, the games of yesteryear, the statistics, the smells, the sights, the experiences, remain an integral part of who we are as Americans, and no other sport's history matters and means as much from generation to generation, as the great game of baseball. Thank you for taking the time to download our first issue, I hope you enjoy reading it, sharing it, and discussing the topics we're presenting to you this month, and I hope you'll be back each month as we strive to properly give life to topics that have sometimes been long forgotten. Best,
PAGE 4- The Greatest Trade That Never Was PAGE 5- Bryce Harper’s Historic Season PAGE 6- Brevity and Betrayal for the 1969 Seattle Pilots PAGE 7- The Oakland A’s and the Moneyball Movement PAGE 8- In Memorium: Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra PAGE 9- The Outlaw At Wrigley: John Dillinger’s Other Life In Baseball PAGE 10- How a Beloved Panda Alienated an Entire Fan Base PAGE 11- Book Review: “512” by Ralph Peluso PAGE 12- Cover story: Superman: When Fiction and History Are One PAGE 14- Overshadowed: Legendary Plays Long Forgotten PAGE 16- Brooklyn’s Secular Cathedral Questions? Comments? Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of CONTENTS 3
2015 Cover image inspired by 2009 Allen & Ginter card set by Topps
The Greatest Trade That Never Was For over one hundred years, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have battled it out on the baseball diamond. Widely considered the greatest rivalry in the history of sports, there is no love lost between the two fan bases. So, it comes as no surprise that the two teams rarely trade with one another. The Red Sox famously sent Babe Ruth to the Yankees for a bread basket full of cash but other than that there has only been a handful of deals conducted between the two historic franchises.
For the Red Sox, the promise of the righty DiMaggio slugging balls over the Green Monster in left field was too good to simply shrug off. So negotiations went on and on. Eventually, the Red Sox pinpointed the player that would've made the deal work, but the Yankees balked at the proposition. That player was a minor leaguer by the name of Yogi Berra. The deal was dead but its mythology lives on. For years, sports writers have pondered what the Photo Courtesy: New York Times history books would've looked like if this Goliath deal had actually come to fruition. Joe DiMaggio had won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1947 at the age of 32. While his 1948 campaign (.320 with 39 Last season the Yankees sent Kelly John- home runs and 155 RBI) was certainly son to Boston for Stephen Drew before noteworthy, his age would soon hobble the July 31st trade deadline. That marked him and after 1951 he left the game for the first time these two conducted busigood. ness together since 1994. In 1947 Williams was just 28-yearsIf the Sox and Bombers do make deals, old and fresh off military service and a usually there aren't star players switching 1946 Most Valuable Player Award. He uniforms. But in 1947 there was a verbal had plenty of baseball left in him unlike agreement in place that, if it had been the elder DiMaggio. The age difference consummated, would've far overshadis what caused the Red Sox to ask for the owed the deal that sent Ruth to the prospect, Berra, to be included in the Yankees. deal. As the story goes, Larry MacPhail and Ultimately, the stark difference between Tom Yawkey spent a night out at a bar the remainder of DiMaggio and Wiltogether, MacPhail celebrating the liams's career makes it hard to accurately Yankees World Series victory and Yawkey compare who would've won the deal. It's indulging his contemporary. also hard to firmly claim that Yogi Berra As the night wore on the two got to would've been as great with the Red Sox. talking, verbally agreed on a deal to send After all, former Yankee catcher Bill New York star Joe DiMaggio to the rival Dickey is credited with guiding Yogi Red Sox for the young shooting star Ted towards his future as possibly the greatest Williams. catcher of all-time. It would not be fair to Allegedly, the deal was written down on analyze this deal as one would look at a a pair of cocktail napkins (Not exactly modern day trade scenario. Instead, it's legally binding) but once the two woke up probably easier to look at specific aspects the day after, they began to have second of each team and allow you, the fans to thoughts. However, both sides did still decide who may have won this trade that have some interest in making a deal. never happened. The Bronx brass drooled over the thought of the lefty slugger Williams The Greatest Outfield Ever? playing in the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium where the right field short porch In 1948, the Yankees outfield boasted the was a welcoming sight for left-handers. great DiMaggio in center field, with 4
By Matt Mirro
Johnny Lindell and Tommy Henrich flanking him in left and right. The acquisition of Williams would have cemented him in left field and left a hole in center. It's likely that manager Casey Stengel would have utilized his famed platoon system and given the likes of Lindell and Henrich as well as Hank Bauer and Charlie Keller more than a few rides around the carousel in order to man the center and right spots. While that would have indeed been a formidable outfield, it is not the "Greatest Outfield Ever" I have eluded to. That outfield would have become a major possibility starting in 1951 which, as we all know, would be Joltin' Joe's last year. Infamously, that was also the year a young and promising rookie slipped on a storm drain to move out of the way of DiMaggio who was fielding a ball hit by Willie Mays in the World Series. That young rookie was Mickey Mantle. That day his knee was blown open and his still great career was blemished by constant injuries. But without DiMaggio playing center field that day, it would have been Mickey. No storm drain, no knee injury and an even better Mickey Mantle (If you could even imagine that!). Going forward the Yankees would boast Williams in left field with Mantle in center field. While the Yankee dynasty sported talented outfields, none could even begin to approach the kind of talent, both of power and batting average, that a combination of Williams and Mantle would have produced. It's just unfortunate that Roger Maris didn't join the team until 1960, Williams's last season in the big leagues. 90 Percent Mental, 50 Percent Physical The man whose name eroded trade talks was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1925 and given the name Lawrence Peter Berra. He would be better known by the name "Yogi". While Yogi built his Hall of Fame resume as a catcher, he played much of his minor league career as an outfielder. When he began his big league career in 1946 he was a valuable utility player. Often he spent time in left field and right field, while also spending time behind the plate and at third base. Even as he grew into an elite backstop, he was still utilized around the diamond while slugging his way to fame. While the absence of would-be mentor Bill Dickey might have stopped Berra
military. When he returned in 1946, he was 31 and he would have just a few DiMaggio-type seasons left in him. By 1949 his body would fail him as injuries marred his playing time and his production. By the end of 1951, his lavish career would be over. But would the move to Fenway Park have helped to extend his career? Would the smaller outfield have spared his legs the abuse they suffered in his final years? Would the Green Monster have proved so friendly to the righty slugger that his numbers grew extremely gaudy, forcing him to keep playing? Would the absence of super bonus baby prospect, Mickey Mantle, have prePhoto Courtesy: New York Times vented the great Yankee from transforming into a prime time Clipper from overexerting catcher, his bat would have probably himself in an effort to remain the best kept him in the lineup long enough to player on the team? If he had escaped become a mainstay at left field, playing the grasp of manager Casey Stengel, against the backdrop of the Green who he so often bickered with, would he Monster alongside DiMaggio. have gotten the breathing room needed In New York, Berra was as beloved as to adapt to his new diminished skill set? any of his teammates and was a member None of these questions could actually of a record 10 World Series rosters. I be answered, but they do go a long way don’t know if he would’ve gotten 10 but, in measuring how much DiMaggio’s could the presence of Berra and DiMagcareer would have been affected had the gio have ended the then-standing Curse Yankees actually dealt him to Boston to of the Bambino decades before the 2004 play out the remainder of his career. team finally did? There are too many variables to truBerra’s big personality would’ve shown ly evaluate how this trade would have just as bright in the big market called turned out. But, seeing as it never actuBeantown. But the Yankees would’ve unally occurred, it’s more or less become knowingly surrendered a franchise pillar a legend than a real piece ripe for analand a fan favorite. ysis. “Remember how the Yanks almost The team would not sign the talented traded Joltin’ Joe for the Splendid backstop Elston Howard until the 1950 Splinter?” season, and he didn’t reach the major Personally, I don’t know if either fan leagues until 1955. base would have been happy with seeOf course, there would have been no way to know it at the time, but the Yan- ing the face of their franchise dawn the uniform of their arch rivals. I certainly kees would have sacrificed the face of shudder at the image of Joe DiMaggio their franchise and as well as another and Yogi Berra brandishing the words all-time great in order to add Williams. “Red Sox” on their chest. Yikes! Would it have been worth it? But since we’ll never know exactly how this move would have affected the Where Have You Gone, course of these two franchises, the best Joe DiMaggio? Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You! we can do is dream. In case the Simon and Garfunkel lyrics didn’t give it away, Joe DiMaggio was a pretty popular guy in his day. In 1941 he shattered baseball’s consecutive game hitting streak by collecting a hit in 56 straight contests. But in 1943, World War II came calling and DiMaggio spent three years in the
Matt Mirro is currently the Lead American League Writer at Call to the Bullpen, an MLB.com affiliate. He is a certified member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow Matt on Twitter: @Mirro_The_Ronin 5
Bryce Harper’s Historic Breakout By Season JJ Keller Bryce Harper was hyped as a future star ever since he was a Las Vegas high schooler. He gained massive buzz for doing things like (unofficially) crushing 500 foot home runs at the age of 16. Add to that the fact that he was a catcher who had a chance to either stick behind the plate, or utilize his athleticism to easily transition to another position, and it’s easy to see where the hype train came from. Well, it didn’t take long (if any time at all) for that hype to materialize for Harper. He spent just over one full season in the minor leagues before getting the call to the show, and performed well from the start. He was the clear NL Rookie of the Year in 2012 hitting .270/.340/.477 with a 121 wRC+ and a 4.6 fWAR. He came back strong for his sophomore season, apart from some injury concerns, putting up a 137 wRC+ and 4.0 fWAR. It was a little less exciting in 2014 as the injuries continued and he posted just a 115 wRC+ and 1.4 fWAR in 100 games. But what I am really interested in is his current season. Harper has absolutely dominated this season, in every facet of the game. .342/.471/.672 -- 41 home runs -- 206 wRC+ -- 9.7 fWAR, all with over a week left to go. He hits for average, he draws walks, he hits dingers, and he plays above average defense in the outfield. In fact, he has done the first three of those better than just about anyone else in baseball. That’s not something that happens very often, as evidenced by the fact that he is on pace for a 10 WAR season, which has only been done seven times since 2000, by the likes of Barry Bonds (4), Alex Rodriguez (1) and Mike Trout (2). His season projects to be top 50 all-time by fWAR, and top 30 all time by wRC+. Beyond that, there are only 14 other seasons in baseball history of a walk rate at or above 19 percent, an on-base percentage at or above .460, over 40 home runs, and a wRC+ of 200 or better. Nine of those were by Babe Ruth, four were by Barry Bonds, and one was by Mark McGwire. And oh yeah, they didn’t do it until the ages of 25 (Ruth), 35 (McGwire) and 37 (Bonds). Harper is doing it at 22, in an era dominated by pitching. Let that sink in a bit. We are witnessing historic greatness, in the form of Bryce Harper, and yet it doesn’t feel as though people are taking notice, at least not the kind that his season deserves.
JJ Keller is currently in college on his way to earning a degree in History Education with the hopes of becoming a high school teacher. A lifelong Seattle Mariners fan, JJ began as a staff writer for Sodo Mojo in 2012 at the age of 16 and remained there through 2014, working under fellow Baseball Magazine members Dan Hughes and Charlie Spencer-Davis for much of that time. You can find him on Twitter: @KJ_Jeller
One and Done: Brevity and Betrayal for the 1969 Seattle Pilots When I was a Safeco Field tour guide the summer of 2013-- my younger, glory days-- I had my favorite route from top to bottom of the ballpark. I’d catch people in awe of the retractable roof and how infrequently the Mariners actually play games with it closed (it’s less than 20 times per season since 2000). Then, on our way down the elevators and along the suite-level hallway, I’d ask a few Seattle-themed baseball questions. Where did the Mariners play baseball before Safeco Field? How many World Series titles have the Mariners won? Who is the greatest Mariner of all-time? Then, as a final question before entering the owner’s suite behind home plate, I would ask a question that tested the baseball knowledge of everyone in my tour group: what is the name of the first Major League Baseball team to call Seattle home? Younger kids will say the Mariners. Some of the adults will too. Then, usually mumbled with resentment, someone in the back of the tour says The Seattle Pilots. I would then smile, take the group into the suite and sit them down. I’d begin: In 1969, Major League Baseball expanded baseball with four new teams, two in each league: the Montreal Expos and the San Diego Padres in the NL, and the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots in the AL. After the Pilots ownership-- Pacific Northwest Sports, Inc. (PNSI)-- paid their $1 million fee for leaving the minor league Pacific Coast League, King County had a vote. With 62% approval, the county where Seattle resides, approved a bond for the building of a domed stadium. Naturally, being a dome in King County, the to-be-built sports arena was known as the Kingdome. PNSI hired Marvin Milkes, former California Angels executive, as their general manager. Then came Joe Schultz, all the way from the NL champion St. Louis Cardinals, to be manager. And before the season even started, the Pilots traded a young man who would become the AL Rookie of the Year to the Kansas City Royals. A man, though he had a solid MLB career, is best known for his fiery managerial antics. Lou Piniella-- the one-time manager of the to-be Seattle Mariners. Even though the Pilots won their first ever game, and their first ever home game at Sicks Stadium, their success was shortlived. The 1969 season went the way of many first-year expansion teams, with the Seattle Pilots finishing with a 64-98 record, a whopping 33 games behind the division-winning Minnesota Twins, and 45 games back of the AL-leading Baltimore Orioles. The losing wasn’t the problem though. Or at least not the biggest problem. Sicks Stadium was the real concern.
With a capacity of 19,500, Sicks Stadium wasn’t up to Major League Baseball standards. With delayed expansions, the stadium crawled up to a 25,000 seat capacity by mid-season. But having seats didn’t manifest fans to fill them. Struggling through that season, their 81 home games saw fewer than 700,000 fans, or fewer than 9,000 on average per home game. They didn’t play well. They didn’t sell tickets. And the Seattle Pilots lost money their first season. All, a recipe for baseball disaster in the Pacific Northwest. But, it appeared, there was a savior for the
By Charlie Spencer-Davis
to San Francisco-- those in fact were the first two West Coast teams in MLB history. In 1961 the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, while the American League granted Washington, D.C. a new expansion franchise, also called the Senators. (Confused yet?) In 1966 the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta, followed by the Kansas City Athletics’ move to Oakland in 1968. A year after the Athletics’ relocation-- a product of a broken lease and fear of anti-trust legislation-- Kansas City got the Royals, Seattle got the Mariners, Montreal got the Expos,and Photo Courtesy: digitalballparks.com San Diego got the Padres. I am trying to get at the long, checkered, and frankly confusing history of expansion and relocation in Major League Baseball. The ordeal the Pilots went through after the 1969 season, then, was not unprecedented. Though that did not make for an easier pill to swallow for fans of the franchise. After a fight to keep the team ownership local, and in turn keep the team in Seattle, the Milwaukee car salesman won out. Bud Selig, now known as the former Commissioner of Major League Baseball, bought the Pilots, and quickly relocated and one-year-old franchise. A used car salesman renamed one of the four newest franchises in from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, headed a group Major League Baseball. Goodbye Seattle Pilots. Hello Milwaukee that offered $10.8 million for the Seattle Pilots franchise. At first he agreed to keep the Brewers. team in Seattle, but it soon became clear he Fortunately for Seattle, seven seasons later had other plans. Major League Baseball expanded once again. The Seattle Mariners played their inaugural The Big ‘R’ word. Relocation. season in 1977. Since then, the team has seen Since 1900, twelve Major League Baseball few playoff appearances, but holds the AL franchises have relocated. And prior to 1970, record for most wins in a season with 116. nine franchises had done it. As far back as The franchise also boasts a young but rich 1902 there was a team in Milwaukee-- the history, including a record for singles in a Milwaukee Brewers-- but they relocated to season, the first ever father-son duo to start St. Louis and became the St. Louis Browns. an MLB game for the same team, and a per(Not to be confused with the Cleveland fect game. Browns of National Football infamy.) Then, And, for all the bar trivia and obscure basea year later in 1903, the Baltimore Orioles ball facts that percolate from the 1969 Seattle moved to New York, became the HighlandPilots, there’s even a journal. Ball Four, writers, and were eventually renamed the New ten by Pilot pitcher Jim Bouton, has been immortalized as one of the most read baseball York Yankees in 1913. Then there was a break in the action. Not books ever published. So for all the brevity until fifty years later in 1953 did another and betrayal in the 1969 Seattle Pilots saga, team get shipped across the continental there still came some good: a book worth United States. That year the Boston Braves reading, and a story forever worth telling. moved to Milwaukee, breaking a half century stretch of the same 16 teams, eight in each league, playing each other year in and year out. Charlie Spencer-Davis is a 2015 gradA flurry of shipments came between 1953 uate from Boston College with BAs in and 1972 with the St. Louis Browns movInternational Studies and French. A ing to Baltimore and becoming the Orioles die-hard Mariners fan born and raised (1954), the Philadelphia Athletics moving in Seattle, Charlie has spent much of to Kansas City (1955). Then, 1959 was a his life writing in his spare time. big year with the Brooklyn Dodgers getting Follow Charlie on Twitter: shipped across the country to Los Angeles @C14SpencerD and the New York Giants taking their talents 6
The Oakland Athletics and the Groundwork for the Moneyball Movement Back in 2002, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane went off the deep end. After losing to the New York Yankees in five games in the ALDS the year prior, the A's lost Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon and Jason Isringhausen – among others – due to payroll constraints. Needless to say, Oakland entered the '02 campaign with notably lower expectations given some of the names included on the roster. Instead of Giambi, Isringhausen and Damon, you had names like David Justice, Ray Durham and Billy Koch. Justice, who was once a 30-homer, 100-RBI threat in Cleveland, was no longer the same player and was often cited by media as a prime example of Beane jettisoning the campaign. Before we get any farther into this, there are some key differences between Hollywood's version of "Moneyball" and the facts that existed 13 years ago. While Damon and Isringhausen both had a great deal of name recognition, they were far from elite players in 2001. According to Baseball Reference, Damon posted a 2.4 WAR in his lone season in the Bay, a stark contrast from his 6.1 and 5.4 marks in the two previous years in Kansas City. The next season, his first with the Boston Red Sox, he bounced back for a 4.8 WAR and a .799 OPS – over 100 points higher than his '01 marks in Oakland. Isringhausen, meanwhile, had 34 saves in 2001 with Oakland – one year after earning the first All-Star selection of his big league career. Koch, who ultimately assumed the closer's duties the next season, was essentially an exact replacement for the righthander, posting a 1.8 WAR (Isringhausen clocked in at 1.9 WAR in 2001). As we all know now, the Athletics went on to rack up 103 wins that season, thanks to the continued emergence of the "Big Three" of Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder and a re-focusing on on-base percentage, rather than batting average. Oakland had two pivotal stretches that ultimately led them to October, including a 16-1 stretch in June and their famous 20-game winning streak in August. Now, any time you can reel off a 36-1 record in a 37-game stretch, you have to chalk it up to a combination of talent and at least a little bit of luck, especially in Major League Baseball. It was the aforementioned stellar starting pitcher that led Oakland to a 103-win campaign that year, led by Zito's Cy Young performance, that played a large part in his landing a massive deal from the crosstown rival San Francisco Giants later in his career. Couple a rotation that picked up 15 wins in that 20-game span with an offense led by the breakout campaign of eventual American League MVP Miguel Tejada, and it's not so hard to fathom exactly how this "miracle" team came to be. Despite these facts that are
often overlooked now, it's an idea that Oakland inspired that remains even now – some 13 years later. With the third-lowest payroll in all of Major League Baseball, the Athletics defied all odds, once again reaching the Division Series, before falling to the Minnesota Twins – again in five games, ending their exciting season in heartbreaking fashion. As we know now, there is plenty we could discuss about the '02 Athletics: the roster breakdown, the lineup construction put to-
By Jacob Misener
amounts of money at aging veterans these days. Instead of trading the system for a David Price this summer, Cashman stood pat, electing to keep young talent such as Greg Bird and Luis Severino. Their replacement for the irreplaceable Derek Jeter? Not Troy Tulowitzki or some other high-profile stud. Instead, Cashman went with former Diamondbacks infielder Didi Gregorius, who made just $553,000 this season. Now, you can say that he's just hoarding his assets for a big move in the
Photo Courtesy: thesportsquotient.com
gether by manager Art Howe and the chemistry in the clubhouse – all of which contribute to a team's success down the stretch. But more than anything, this team - and its front office - paved the way of the future for the game of baseball. The Athletics' 2002 season set off the firestorm now known as 'Moneyball' which has since taken the game by storm. Now, more front offices than not have departments dedicated to the analysis of advanced sabermetrics, which have allowed small-market-minded teams like the Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays and even larger market clubs, such as the Chicago Cubs, among others, to change how they build their organization. Luck often seems to play a hand in small market teams' success, just as it did to an extent in 2002 in Oakland, but in a time when player contracts are growing more ludicrous by the day, every dime counts and finding new ways to evaluate talent and build a Major League roster is paramount to many clubs' hopes of contending for the length of a 162-game campaign. In fact, most of the team's in this year's postseason field have metric-minded front offices: the Cubs, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Royals and Astros can all be included in that group. With former Rays GM Andrew Friedman now handling things in Los Angeles, you will soon be able to firmly place the Dodgers in that field, as well. Even Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees seem to be shying away from simply buying wins by throwing exorbitant 7
future, but in the past, the Bronx Bombers would have spared no expense and laid waste to the farm system to add an arm like Price - even as a rental. Once you see that the ideas that took shape in 2002 have emanated the House of Steinbrenner – it's hard to dispute the impact Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics made - and are still making - on the game. As we all look back with a Hollywood-esque remembrance of that campaign thanks to the recent film, there were very real contributions to the game made by a band of misfits out west. Despite his Athletics being out of contention this season - just one year after he seemingly broke his own rule and raided the farm system for midseason deals Beane and his game-changing mentality and approach to America's pastime can be found all over most of the teams left standing with a week left in the season. So, love him or hate him and what he has come to stand for, Billy Beane and the 2002 Oakland Athletics have their fingerprints all over the looming Major League Baseball postseason.
Jacob Misener is a die-hard Cubs fan who grew up in the Steroid Era, which, believe it or not, he loves to reminisce about often. Favorite players include Randy Johnson and Craig Biggio. Believes that Wrigley Field is the greatest place on earth. You can follow Jacob on Twitter: @jacobrmisener
In Memorium: Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra We who love baseball lost not only a baseball legend recently, but a war hero, an American icon, and simply, a great human being when Lawrence Peter Yogi Berra passed away at the end of September. While I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the legends of the game, I was never able to meet Mr. Berra. Shame on me for not making more of an effort. During the mass media coverage of the life and death of Yogi Berra, we heard all of the famous Yogi-isms that have become far better known than his actual on-field exploits. I do find it somewhat ironic that he passed away 69 years to the day in which he made his big league debut. While I know quite a bit about Yogi’s life and career, reading through the various first-person testimonials, the stat charts, the final Mandatory Credit: AP Photo words to celebrate this great human being, there were many things I did not know about Yogi Berra. For example, I had no idea that he ranked number one on Bill James’ Win Shares formula chart, making the argument that he was the greatest catcher of all-time. I also did not know that he DIDN’T finish his playing career with the New York Yankees, but rather he registered nine plate appearances at the age of 40 in 1965, AFTER taking an entire year off in 1964 to manage the Yankees to an American League pennant. There are just so many interesting tidbits of golden information about Yogi Berra, that it’s hard to believe some of the things you find out later, weren’t created in a Hollywood studio, but in fact, truly happened. Everyone knows that he grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and his best friend growing up was legendary broadcaster and former big league backstop, Joe Garagiola. I wasn’t aware that Garagiola was viewed as the better big league prospect. I also wasn’t aware that the reason the Cardinals signed Garagiola and not Berra, wasn’t because Yogi was so much less of a player, but because Cardinals’ GM Branch Rickey knew he was leaving the team soon, and wanted to sign Berra for himself when he landed at his next stop with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The only problem was, by the time Rickey was in Brooklyn, Yogi was already signed with
the Yankees. I knew that Yogi served our country admirably as a gunner’s make, and was involved in the D-Day invasion at Normandy on Omaha Beach. What I didn’t know, was that on that same day, he was also involved in the fighting at Utah Beach, and luckily avoided getting injured in two of the biggest battle sites in U.S. military history. As a kid growing up in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, I knew Yogi managed his son Dale while with the Yankees. At the time, I had no idea that Yogi’s other son Tim, played for the Baltimore Colts for one season in 1974. The Berra DNA definitely had the Midas touch. I was under the assumption that when lower socio-economic ballplayers were trying to make their way, they strictly
By Billy Brost
the caliber of Berra, gone so unnoticed, playing with guys like Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, and lead the team in runs batted in for seven straight years? Many men from Yogi’s generation never completed high school, and Yogi was no exception. He finished the eighth grade and that was it. I knew that his museum was located on the campus of Montclair State University’s campus, but I figured it was because he lived in New Jersey. The reality of the situation, is that one of Yogi’s primary philanthropic missions post-playing career, was to help improve the education of children across the country. There are just so many unknowns to the world that was Yogi Berra, I could probably study nothing but his career for the next six months and learn something new everyday. How many times has a catcher posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, while serving as his team’s primary backstop? Yogi did it in 1958, while catching almost 90 games. How many catcher’s could catch an entire 22-inning game, let alone do it at the age of 37? Yogi did that too. I just looked up the 1.000 fielding percentage played baseball in their region of where item, and it’s been done by three other they lived. I knew that Yogi began playing catchers in history. Pretty elite company. baseball at the American Legion level. What’s the worst thing someone can do? What I didn’t know, was that he ran off to Assume anything about a ballplayer. Rhode Island to play independent baseWith Yogi’s success, I ASSUMED that he ball under a different name. I guess when was a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection. baseball is your life, you do whatever Wrong again. He only received 67.2 peryou must to get an opportunity, and Yogi cent of the vote his first year on the ballot proved that time and time again. in 1971. What were these writers thinkI am fully aware that Yogi has more ing? I mean, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, World Series rings as a player, coach, and Thurman Munson and Ivan Rodriguez manager than anyone before or since. I weren’t legends yet. Compare Yogi’s career wasn’t aware that he received MVP votes stats to anyone from his era prior, and not in fifteen consecutive seasons, topped many stack up, if any. only by Hank Aaron and his nineteen The statistic about Yogi however, that consecutive campaigns receiving at least stands out to me more than any othone league most valuable player vote. I er from his playing career, was the fact knew that Yogi held a plethora of World that he hit 20 or more home runs in Series records, in part because he truly 10 straight seasons, and never struck was the greatest catcher of all-time, and out more than 35 times during that departly because he played when the Yancade-long run. His career high in strikekees were at their absolute pinnacle as a outs was 38. franchise. How many catchers in big league histoBut, I did not know he hit the very first ry have a career batting average of .285 pinch-hit home run in World Series play, or higher, AND have 350 or more home off of none other than Ralph Branca of runs, AND have a career fielding perBobby Thompson fame. How can a player centage of .989 or better? Not Fisk. Not 8
Bench. Yogi is in a class by himself. I think about some of the quotes I’ve read about Yogi since his passing. The ones that mean the most? The ones that come from his granddaughter Lindsay. Sure it’s great to have millions of fans around the world adore you in your golden years. It’s great to have teammates, fellow coaches, and Hall of Famers talk about how there’s only one Yogi. At the end of the day, all a man has is his family. What your family feels and says about you goes so much further into the soul of who a man really was, than any baseball card or Hall of Fame plaque. I took this excerpt from Ms. Berra’s Facebook page: As a kid, it took me a long time realize my Grampa was also this fella named Yogi Berra, because he was just such a normal Grampa; playing ball in the yard, grilling – or rather, burning – hot dogs, teaching me to play hearts and gin rummy. By the time I was old enough to comprehend his fame, he’d already been Grampa for so long that his two separate identities were difficult to rationalize. That pinstriped icon on television was the same as the guy laughing at Seinfeld reruns in his blue leather chair??? Even as an adult, the extent of his reach overwhelms me. We often say Grampa, Jesus and Shakespeare are the three most quoted men in history, and those other two are losing ground. With each new person I meet who shares their own personal Yogi story about how Grampa made them feel like the most important person in the world, my love and admiration for him only continue to grow. It makes my heart so happy to see how many lives he touched and how many people, many of whom he never even met, love him, too. He wasn’t just a good man, he was the best man. If we all try to be a little more like him every day, this world will be a better place. You’re amazing, Gramp, and I love you tons. Rest easy up there, and give Gram a big kiss from all of us down here. ~Lindsay Berra As a lifelong Yankees fan, I know what Yogi the character, the legend, the man means to me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but as a father of three, I hope that when my time comes, my kids and grandchildren think half as highly of me, as Yogi’s family does of him. It won’t be the same without the little old guy with the large ears shuffling around Yankee Stadium, but even though his physical body is no longer with us, in the mind’s eye, Yogi will always be there with a grin on his face, and a funny story ready to remember. Rest in peace Mr. Berra. You are truly an American original.
Billy Brost resides in Riverton, Wyoming with his wife and two children. In his spare time, he coaches youth baseball at the Little League and American Legion levels, and serves on his county’s historical preservation commission. You can follow Billy on Twitter: @Billy_Brost
The Outlaw At Wrigley: John Dillinger’s Other Life In Baseball As a writer, certain topics tend to spark my imagination more than others. But when I sit down and attempt to spin a tale, I find myself drawn to two American classics: Baseball and crime, both of which we so often romanticized. Many great and ancient trees have been chopped down and pulped so that people of my ilk could write fantastic novels about such things. As an avid movie fan, I am just as comfortable watching The Sandlot, Major League, Eight Men Out or A League of Their Own as I am watching The Godfather (Undoubtedly, my all-time favorite), Scarface and Goodfellas. However, it's not often these two genres get the opportunity to mix naturally, but for a period of time way back in 1934, one of baseball's most famous ballparks frequently played host to one of America's most infamous outlaws. Imagine sitting in the stands at Wrigley Field in the summer of 1934. It's Chicago, and the days are as beautiful as they are long. A perfect day for catching a game at the always gorgeous and beloved Wrigley. You look to your left and see the normal group of fans. They're dressed in their best suits and ties, loving every second despite the usual heat. Happily they jump from their seats, applauding with a thunderous exuberance as the Cubs take the field. Then you look to your right and the sight before you turns your face pale as your heart pounds harder and harder. The man J. Edgar Hoover and every other law enforcement officer is relentlessly hunting, John Dillinger, Public Enemy Number One, is in attendance that very day. Bank robber, escaped convict, murderer and national celebrity. Dillinger was supposed to be in hiding in 1934, but the crime king of Chicago and huge Cubs fan could not resist attending games when he was probably better off shielding his face from the police and the ever-growing F.B.I. He was famously spotted at a game on June 26th and witnessed the Cubbies beat the Brooklyn Dodgers by a score of 5 to 2. The Cubs had a good team in 1934, and were in the thick of the pennant race but unfortunately finished third in the National League with a record of 86-65. It's likely Dillinger saw stars like Babe Herman, Charlie Grimm, Chuck Klein and Stan Hack that day at the ballpark. It's safe to say that there were few in the stadium who would turn him in. Dillinger robbed banks, after all, and in the midst of the worst economic crisis in the history of the United States, the Great Depression, banks were far from popular. The public not only hated the banking industry, but
By Matt Mirro
applauded Dillinger's war on them. He only took the money and made every effort to avoid civilian casualties. He probably felt as safe in Wrigley as in his own living room. Perhaps even safer given the constant prying eyes at his own residences. It's a little known fact that America's most notorious criminal once had aspirations of playing the popular pastime. The Illinois native played ball for an Indiana semi-pro team stationed in the town of Martinsville. It wasn't long before Dillinger had cemented himself as the team's star hitter. But after the 1924 campaign came to an end, the then 21-year-old Dillinger was strapped for cash and willing to do anything to get it. Desperate, he robbed a local grocery store with the help of his cousin and former minor league umpire Edgar Singleton. In an effort to get away, Dillinger beat a store employee but it did little to help. He was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison. It was here that Dillinger again starred on the baseball diamond, only this time it was for the prison team. The veteran inmates taught him the finer points of life as a criminal. He never looked back. A career as a bank robber and national icon had begun. But in June and July of 1934, Dillinger repeatedly brushed off the fear of capture so that he could watch his beloved Chicago Cubs. The friendly confines of Wrigley Field was just as friendly to the thieves like Dillinger. But his run would soon come to an end. A team of federal agents led by the famed Melvin Purvis shot and killed Dillinger at the Biograph Theater in Chicago. His days of running as well as his legendary bank heists had finally come to an abrupt end. For whatever reason we, as Americans, have a habit of romanticizing outlaws. From Jesse James and Billy the Kid to Al Capone and John Dillinger. I can't speak for what made such vicious criminals so beloved after (and in some cases like Dillinger's before) their deaths. Maybe they saw Dillinger's attacks on banks as someone doing what they only wished they could do but never had the courage. Maybe they saw past the violence and saw the man who, at one point, had the potential to be a talented and charismatic ballplayer. I don't know. Whatever the case, Dillinger's love for the Great American Pastime is probably the one thing most of the country shared with him. An American outlaw? Yes. Public Enemy Number One? Yes, the very first to be dubbed as such. Diehard fan of the Cubs? Absolutely. For one summer in 1934, Wrigley Field was the home away from home for one of history's most legendary outlaws.
Mandatory Credit: The Captain’s Blog
How A Beloved Panda Alienated An Entire Fan Base We all know how much panda bears are All-Star and will be remembered for the adored by zoo goers. When zoos have epic, three-home run night in the World pandas, they are always among the top, if Series against the Tigers, two of them not the top, attraction. People line up to coming off of monster pitcher Justin Vertake photos of, sometimes take pictures lander. WE LOVED this guy. with, and just gaze lovingly at, these imHe never came close to matching these possibly cute creatures. numbers again. He broke his hamate I am a fan who is very loyal to the play- bone twice, once, amazingly in each wrist. ers on the teams I like. I felt sick when What on earth is a hamate? It is a new the Phoenix Suns traded Jeff Hornacek thing to be injured, like an oblique. No for Charles Barkley. What Suns fan would matter, the fans LOVED him. He was not be ecstatic by that transaction? grossly overweight, a source of friction I grew to love Barkley, but missed a between he and management and discusplayer I really liked (decades later he is sion by the fan base. Off-season workout back as their coach). I understand the business side, but don’t like that as much, especially when it comes to trading favorites. My son, David, probably sees the business side a little more than I do when players are sent packing. My wife and daughter, Lynn and Rachel, I would say are even a little more sentimental than I am, probably not wanting to see favorite players, even marginal ones, let go. For sake of family peace, particularly my own, I won’t give examples. Virtually the entire San Francisco Giants fan base thoroughly adored Pablo Sandoval. He came up to Photo Courtesy: NYTimes.com the big leagues as an unheralded rookie, mid-season, and captured the imagination of the regimens and carefully planned diets were fan base by hitting .345 in 41 games. The semi-mandated, sometimes successful for next year he took the league by storm, a while. with the second best batting average in As the seasons wore on, though, the the National League at .330, and adding weight inevitably steadily came back. Still 25 home runs and 90 runs batted in. He the fans LOVED him. He was an absowas affectionately nicknamed “Panda”, lutely joyful and infectious personality in short for Kung Fu Panda, by Giants’ the dugout, always laughing and hugging pitcher Barry Zito. his teammates, a different congratulatory He was adored by fans and teammates hand shake for each player. The smiles, alike. Thousands of fans (my wife inthe television interviews, the hustle, the cluded) could be seen at games, even the dirt piling up on his clothes, they LOVED occasional hot ones in San Francisco, this guy. wearing the warm, fuzzy, ear-flapped And suddenly, he was gone. Who knows Panda hats. why? Reports were that he felt “disreThey LOVED this guy, the roly-poly spected” by the Giants by their spring catcher-turned-third baseman. He wasn’t training contract extension offer. I won’t fast, but when Panda got going on the go into salaries here; we all have our base path, he could move. He was quick opinions on whether players are paid too and athletic as a third baseman, a very much in general, and specific players in good fielder with a very good arm. He particular. was never afraid of getting dirty, flopping They did offer him, after the third World and diving in the infield, spitting whatSeries championship, ending with him ever he was chewing. He was a two-time catching a foul pop fly and falling back10
By Eric Gray
wards to the ground, mobbed by teammates, a hefty salary for five years. He did not accept it, taking, from all reports, an equal contract offer, perhaps even less than the Giants offered, from the Red Sox. Fans were disappointed, very sad to see him go, but still they loved (this time a small “L”) him. What turned the tide, however, was the storm that Panda caused as he was walking out the door. No one really knows why he left. Was it something about the original contract offer, so insulting to Panda and his agent, although it appeared
that the Red Sox offered him the same money for the same number of years? Did he want to play in a different, perhaps more baseball-iconic city? Did he want to run on to the field each day with David Ortiz? Did he want a new challenge? He is the only one knows the real answer. Fans could accept that he wanted to move on. What they could not accept was that he trashed the entire organization upon his departure. He claimed, astonishingly, that he did not like anyone in the organization except manager Bruce Bochy, and then he threw in Hunter Pence as well. Can anyone really believe that? I wonder how Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and Buster Posey and Sergio Romo and all the others that were with him during the three championship runs felt about that. It is hard to believe, when watching the countless dugout scenes, post-game interviews, playoff celebrations and victory parades in San Francisco. I wonder how
his fellow countryman, Gregor Blanco, felt about that. Blanco, when asked about it, was very discreet, very tactful in his answer. So this is how a panda managed to alienate his loving, manic fan base. I love and follow three baseball teams (let’s talk about that another time), the Giants, Mets and Red Sox. Normally, when a player I love is traded or signs with another of those clubs, at least I feel like I can enthusiastically keep rooting for him. When Angel Pagan came to the Giants from the Mets, I was happy. When Bill Mueller ultimately signed with the Sox (after a stay in Chicago), I was happy. When the Giants traded promising pitcher Zach Wheeler to the Mets, well, if they had to trade him, at least it was to a team I loved. When Panda signed with the Red Sox, it was okay, until he opened that big
fat panda mouth and started spitting out more bamboo than the mind can imagine could possibly have been ingested. At that point, well, I found myself actually rooting against him and hoping he would fail, thereby hurting the team that I follow closely. Think about going to a zoo to just be completely charmed by the new attraction, the panda. Imagine watching him for a few minutes, thoroughly entranced by that face, the slow movements, the total and absolute cuteness. Then, think about him turning around, back towards you¦.you fill in that panda’s next move. THAT is how THIS panda found a way to alienate his entire fan base. Lots of players come back and play a final year with the team with which they rose to glory. Barry Zito (funny, no, to have Zits in this piece twice, and appropriately so?)
is the latest high profile example. I would bet a lot of bamboo shoots that Panda will never play another home game in San Francisco, and wonder if he will somehow be on the disabled list next year when the Red Sox come to town, or go on it after the series, with migraines from the deafening boos emanating from the stands. Oh, Panda, what have you done? Eric Gray is from Plainview, New York, and got his BA from SUNY New Paltz. He moved to San Francisco and spent his career with the Department of Labor overseeing job training programs for disadvantaged youth. He has been married for 36 years to Lynn, and their two children, Rachel and David. They are huge Giants fans. He can be followed on Twitter, if he ever decides to post something, @ericcgray1
Book Review: “512” by Ralph Peluso There have been hundreds of books written on Babe Ruth over the decades. Most books provide either a detailed biography of his life, while others focus on his importance on changing baseball and establishing the New York Yankees as the premiere team in Major League Baseball. So, in Ralph Peluso's “512”, he takes readers down a different road about Ruth's life with a refreshing a new approach through historical fiction. There is no denying Ruth's incredible talent as hitter, but many people forget that he was one of the best pitchers in baseball for the Boston Red Sox before committing full time to playing outfield after his trade to the New York Yankees. Peluso's fictional narrative asks the question: what if Ruth had chosen to focus on pitching rather than hitting? Peluso's books is filled with detailed historical research, and combined with an elegant narrative, he is able to show the life of Babe Ruth in ways that other writers have not been able too. If Ruth had chosen to become a pitcher instead of making the switch to full-time outfielder, Ruth still would have been one of the great-
By David Warren
For those already familiar with Ruth, “512” maybe a little disappointing in that Peluso does not bring in any new information about his life, but at the same time, his narrative paints an elegant picture of a man who is typically seen as an overweight player with god-given talent. Peulso's narrative shows more of an empathetic view of Ruth in those earlier years that would shape who he was when he became the face of baseball in the 1920's. Even though today's game has evolved from those seen in its golden period, Ruth remains the one player that supersedes the game. est ballplayers to grace the game. Ruth's single-season home run His success as a young left-handed pitcher, along with his character and record stood until 1961 and his talent certainly would have resonat- career home runs were eclipsed by ed with fans in the same way. Could both Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds, Ruth's undeniable skills as a pitcher he have broken Cy Young's 511 cais one not to be forgotten as well, reer win mark? and Peluso's story helps us rememThis is the beauty of alternative ber Ruth as the complete player. history. It allows one to make their assumption on specific events and David Warren earned his B.A and M.A use historical background to support from the University of Nevada, Las Vetheir view of it. gas in History. His passion for history and baseball has helped gain an even By Peluso's background on the larger appreciation and desire to learn development of the game and the details about Ruth's life, it makes for about the early twentieth century years of baseball. a convincing argument that Ruth You can follow David on Twitter: would have surpassed 511 wins. @davidwarren25 11
Superman: When Fiction and History Are One People love heroes. Both fictional and be some story from a fellow teammate historical. It’s rare to be able to find a his- that accompanied the nickname. Not so. torical hero that also has a connection to Stories suggest he was given the name at a fictional hero. Sometimes people don’t the age of 11 when he helped lift a car. realize the connection until it’s too late. So he possessed superhuman strength In baseball, Jackie Robinson is seen as a perhaps? Deriving his strength from hero. Larry Doby integrated the AmerEarth’s yellow sun? “My mother gave me ican League and has heroic stories to that nickname,” Pennington said. “I was share as well. But what about the minor a baseball player, a football player, in any leagues? What about the integration of all sport I played she called me that. Someteams? one would ask her, “Why do you call him It took twelve years for every MLB team that?” and she would say “because he’s to roster at least one African-American that good.”” player, after Jackie. And those heroes arGood barely begins to describe how en’t getting any younger. Of the 18 players “Superman” was viewed in the Negro recognized as a team’s first Leagues. A young, versatile fielder (he African-American player, only five played every position but catcher) with (Monte Irvin, Nino Escalera, Chuck Harmon, Ozzie Virgil and Pumpsie Green) are alive today. There is still so much to be learned about that era. Stories never told, players whose career potential was never fully realized, due to the racism of the time. Heroes one and all. But what of those who maybe didn’t get as much press, but were heroes nonetheless? While I won’t even begin to pretend that I know anything about the kind of struggles that these players faced in the early days of baseball’s integration, I can only imagine that those who played for minor league Mandatory Credit: artpenningtonbaseball.com clubs, in smaller towns across the country, had to work even some power, Pennington hit his stride harder to be recognized not only by the in 1945, batting .359 and slugging .500 fans, but by their own teammates. as the first baseman for the American Art Pennington was born May 18, 1923 Giants. He finished fourth in the Negro in Memphis, Tennessee and now resides American League (NAL) in average, tied in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where my mother for second with Jackie Robinson with five has lived for the past six years, and how I homers, led the league with 16 doubles came across Art’s story. He started playing and stole 18 bases, just three behind the for the Chicago American Giants of the league leader, Sam Jethroe. Negro Leagues in 1940, at the age of 17. After the 1945 season, Jackie Robinson Over the years, Pennington played was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and across North and Central America, inassigned to their minor league affiliate in cluding stops in Mexico and Cuba. But Montreal. Of course, many people were part of what makes him one of these surprised that it was Robinson and not heroes, was his 1949 season, playing in Josh Gibson, who was widely recognized the Pacific Coast League for the Portland as the best player in the Negro Leagues Beavers in Portland, Oregon and for the at the time. You could have even made Salem Senators in Salem, Oregon....my the argument for Pennington, since at a hometown. younger age than Jackie, Pennington had I had the pleasure of being able to inhit for a higher average, stole more bases terview Art, with my mother Jeri Hines and hit the same number of home runs. acting as my proxy. “He was a good ballplayer,” Pennington Art was known as “Superman” in the recalled of Robinson. “Jackie was a good baseball world. I figured there would ballplayer.” When asked if he was sur12
By Dan Hughes
prised that Jackie was the one chosen to break baseball’s color barrier, Art just smiled and quickly said, “No,” as he chuckled and shook his head. “No.” Pennington had a terrific year in 1945. He surely would have earned a call-up to the pros if he had been in a minor league organization now-a-days. Art did get a promotion of sorts for the 1946 season. He was offered a chance to play in the Mexican League for a significant pay raise ($8,000 a season vs. $600 a month with the American Giants). Over three seasons in Mexico, he played for multiple teams and batted .300. He called his time there, “the most fun” he had playing ball. There was less racism in Mexico, he could eat where he wanted, stay in whatever hotels he wanted. He felt like “an equal”. While he was in Mexico, he married a light-skinned Spanish-born Mexican woman. Little did he realize at the time that it would cause him more trouble when he went back to the States. In 1949, at the request of his parents, Pennington, his wife and two daughters returned to America and rejoined the American Giants. In 57 games, Pennington hit .345 and his solid play would not go unrewarded. In July of that year, the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League purchased Pennington’s contract from the Chicago American Giants (pictured). Pennington had his shot at a Triple-A club. He was one step away from the Major Leagues. “There weren’t many colored there, very few.” Pennignton said about the Beavers. A statement that was not only true of the Beavers at the time, but the city of Portland and the state of Oregon in general as well. Pennington was the first African-American member of the Portland Beavers (they had previously signed two players of Latin descent) and only the seventh in the PCL at that time. According to Amy Essington in her upcoming book “Segregation, Race and Baseball: The Desegregation of the Pacific Coast League, 1948-1952”, “Having three players of color on one team at one time came second only to San Diego in 1949 who had four on their roster.” Despite Portland’s progressive nature, racism was prominent. In the 1940’s,
Portland only had between 2,000 and 4,000 African-American citizens, or less than 5% of the city’s population. That number rose slightly after World War II, but was never a large part of the population. He was forbidden from staying in the same hotel as his wife, forced to take separate cabs and trains, denied access to “white-only” nightclubs and restaurants that his wife was granted access to. The sting of that racism was felt by Pennington. All of that had to have had at least some effect on his play. His time in Portland was short-lived.
Pennington played in only 20 games with the Beavers and struggled with a slash line of .208/.417/.226, a far cry from his consistent numbers both in the NAL and in Mexico. The racism he had been able to escape from for three years in Mexico, took it’s toll on, knocking him down, but not out. “I didn’t care too much playing in the North,” Pennington said. “Freedom was there you see, but, I don’t know. They had a league of their own and it just wasn’t right. It just didn’t seem right. Different than other places I played.” He was sent to the Salem Senators, a B
League club in the Western International League (WIL), in August of 1949. Pennington became the first African-American ballplayer in the 10-year history of the WIL and his arrival was met with fascination and applause, despite the area’s more conservative population and inherent racism. Pennington responded with a return to form. In 18 games, Pennington hit .308 and was offered a winter contract to play in Caracas, Venezuela for a reported $3,500 a month. Pennington returned to the NAL for the 1950 and 1951 seasons and then returned
Newspaper clippings from the Oregon Statesman detailing the signings of Art Pennington both by the Portland Beavers (left) and Salem Senators (right).
to the minor leagues when the NAL dissolved after the ‘51 season. He spent the next six seasons playing primarily for teams in the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League and in the Dominican. It appeared in 1953 that Pennington was finally going to het his chance in the majors. He had an agreement in place with the St. Louis Browns, but there were some complications. “A lot of bull went on...and I got tired of it,” Pennington said. It is believed that Art’s marriage to Anita, was the sticking point, as it was illegal in many states for a black man to be married to a white woman. So, he went back to the Dominican to play. When he retired after the 1959 season, the family stayed in Cedar Rapids, where he had played a few years earlier. “My wife had a job here, she worked at J.C. Penney’s or somewhere.” Pennington got a job working for Rockwell-Collins, working for them for over 25 years, retiring in 1985. Pennington then tried his hand in politics, running for Sheriff of Linn County, mayor and safety commissioner, losing each race along the way. Pennington said “I knew I wasn’t going to win, but I just liked to go out there and tell them about [prejudice]”. Fighting for what he felt was right, putting himself out there, knowing he’d fail, just to get his word to the people. Sounds like a certain hero who fought for “truth, justice and the American way.” At the turn of the twenty-first century, his playing days long behind him, Pennington
now seemed somewhat content to stay hidden in the less-documented past of the Negro Leagues. However, a cruel twist of fate had other ideas for Superman. Pennington made the national news in June 2008 when his Cedar Rapids home suffered major flood damage and he lost most of his personal baseball memorabilia. Friends banded together to help him recover what he could. Still, he lost his car, his clothes and even one his dogs to the massive flood. A year later, he was back in the place he had called home for over 50 years, thanks in part to Topps. The trading card company gave him an undisclosed amount of money for including him in the 2009 Allen & Ginter set and for him signing 250 of the cards. He has autographed many more through the mail that fans have sent, usually accompanied with $10, $15 or even $20 per autograph request. Today however, at the age of 92, he resides in an assisted living facility in Cedar Rapids. It’s unclear if this is a temporary stay or an extended one. “No, I don’t get to leave here,” he says before rolling right into a story about how he started playing ball in Cedar Rapids. Age, seemingly his only Kryptonite, is starting to finally slow him down. His storytelling a little slower, his train of thought a little scattered, but with the same wit and humor that he managed to hold onto through his trying times in Oregon and elsewhere around this country. A man who once hit a home run off Dizzy Dean in an exhibition game, and a 13
grand slam off of the future dictator Fidel Castro (in Havana, Cuba- 1947) has truly lived a life filled with unbelievable stories. Some, I’m sure he still hasn’t shared and we unfortunately may never hear. Like his namesake, his world is dying. There are very few former Negro League ballplayers left and we run the risk of forgetting about these heroes if their stories - all of their stories - aren’t passed along properly. Art Pennington spent his life doing what he felt he was meant to do, both with playing baseball and also with educating people on prejudice. Using his powers for good, he truly lived up to his nickname. Art Pennington
IS Superman. Dan Hughes has been writing at various outlets since 2003. Dan lives in Salem, Oregon with his beautiful wife of 16 years, Amy, as well as his three amazing kids. When Dan isn’t writing, he’s coaching his 13-year old son’s team or rooting on the Braves and Mariners. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @DEgan4Baseball
Overshadowed: Great Moments Lost In The Moment
Throughout history, there are unforgettable moments that never die or cease to amaze. There are other largely important events that aren't as well documented or remembered, sometimes because of other occurrences that are more jaw dropping Baseball is no different.
When the series moved to Chicago, the Yankees got out to an early lead in Game Three as Babe Ruth clubbed a three run homer in the top of the first. However, by the top of the fifth the game was knotted at four. Charlie Root was still pitching for the Cubs and managed to get the first batter, Joe Sewell, to ground out 1932 World Series, Game Three: to shortstop Billy Jurges. The next batter Yankees vs. Cubs was Ruth and as it would turn out, the Wrigley Field: Chicago, Illinois proceeding events would never be forgotten. This was truly a David versus Goliath As legend would have it, with a 2-2 World Series, as was usually the case count, Ruth pointed to deep center field, when the Yankees made it to the World indicating that he'd hit the next pitch Series in the 1920's and 30's. over the center field fence. And so he Just to give you an idea of how much did, clubbing his second home run of the better the Yankees were, here is their game, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead and starting lineup from Game Three: creating one of the most legendary debates in the games’ history. Earl Combs CF On the other hand, most people forJoe Sewell 3B Babe Ruth LF get what happened next. Cubs manager Lou Gehrig 1B Charlie Grimm allowed Root to pitch Tony Lazzeri 2B to Gehrig, who had homered already in Bill Dickey C the third inning. As it would turn out, Ben Chapman RF Grimm would regret his decision as GehFrank Crosetti SS rig would swat another home run to right George Pipgras P field to tack on an insurance run. Of the eight everyday players in that The Yankees would go on to win 7-5 due lineup, six would go on to be inducted to the heroics of both Ruth and Gehrig into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame and would go on to finish off the sweep (Combs, Sewell, Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri, with a 13-6 win in Game Four. and Dickey) and six would go on to have at least one All-Star season (Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri, Dickey, Chapman, and Crosetti.) They also had three Starting Pitchers who would become Hall Of Famers (Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, and Herb Pennock) and three who would be selected to an All-Star team (Gomez, Ruffing, and Johnny Allen.) This isn't to say that the Cubs weren't a force to be reckoned with. Billy Herman 2B Woody English 3B Kiki Cuyler RF Riggs Stephenson LF Johnny Moore CF Charlie Grimm 1B Gabby Hartnett C Billy Jurges SS Charlie Root P
Their lineup featured three future Hall Of Famers (Herman, Cuyler, and Hartnett) and five future All-Stars (Herman, English, Cuyler, Hartnett, and Jurges.) They also featured future Hall Of Fame starter in Burleigh Grimes and All-Star Lou Warneke. However, there was was no question about who the better team was. The Yankees took the first two games at Yankees Stadium handily. 12-6 and 5-2 respectively.
By Jacob Winters when he was tragically stricken with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), which would cut both his career, and life, short. His career numbers were astonishing. He hit .340/.447/.632 with 493 home runs and 1995 RBIs. He also won two MVP awards (1927 and 1936) and the 1934 American League Triple Crown (though not the MVP.) The 1932 World Series was just another example of an under appreciated star who deserved way more credit than he got. 1975 World Series: Reds vs. Red Sox
Unlike the 1932 World Series, this one featured two seemingly equal juggernaut lineups, both of which featured multiple Hall Of Famers. Also, neither team had won championships in a while. The Red Sox hadn’t won in 57 years (and would have to wait another 29 years.) The Reds’ drought was a bit less extreme (only 35 years), but still long enough. The series opened at Fenway Park, where the Sox won 6-0 behind a complete game shutout by ace Luis Tiant. Things looked promising for the Fenway faithful again in Game Two. The Sox led 2-1 into the ninth with Bill Lee cruising through eight innings. However, he was replaced on the mound by Dick Drago after giving up a leadoff double to Reds catcher Johnny Bench in the ninth. Tony Perez was able to move Bench to third base on a groundout, but George Foster was Mandatory Credit: youtube.com unable to bring him home with a fly out Unfortunately, one of their performanc- to left field. There were two outs. Fortunately for the Reds, Dave Concepes would launch into immortality, even though Gehrig would lead both teams in cion beat out an infield single to score Bench and tie the game. batting average (.529), OBP (.600), SlugConcepcion proceeded to steal second ging (1.118), OPS (1.718), hits (9), home base and score on a Ken Griffey double. runs (3), and RBIs (8). The Reds would hold on to win 3-2 and This wasn't a new phenomenon for the knot the series at one game a piece. Iron Horse as he had always been overshadowed by the overwhelming personal- The excitement continued when the series moved to Cincinnati’s Riverfront ity and greatness that was Babe Ruth. Stadium for Game Three. The Reds held After the Bambino left the Yankees a 5-2 lead into the seventh, but Boston following the 1934 season, Gehrig was scored one that inning and tied the game finally the star of the team. However, it would only last for a short period of time. in the ninth to send it to extra innings. However, Cincinnati would win it in the Starting in 1936, Joe DiMaggio would immediately captivate New York and be- tenth on an RBI single by second baseman Joe Morgan. The Reds led the series come the face of the franchise. 2-1. Gehrig would go on to play until 1939, 14
New York came out swinging in Game The Red Sox wouldn’t go quietly, taking Three, scoring four runs in the top of the game four by the score of 5-4 to tie the first. The Mets would win 7-1. series. Game Four was a similar story, as the Unfortunately for the Sox, Reds starter Mets scored three runs in the fourth Don Gullet was able to give Cincinnati inning (including a two-run home run the momentum in Game Five, shutting by Gary Carter), two in the seventh (on a down Boston’s lineup by allowing only two runs in 8.2 innings pitched. The Reds home run by Lenny Dykstra), and another in the eighth (another Gary Carter won handily 6-2. Due to bad weather in Boston, Game Six home run) to win 6-2 and tie the series at two games a piece. would be delayed several days. In fact, it The Sox managed to win Game Five 4-2 was played five days after Game Five. and push the Mets to the brink of elimiThe Reds held a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Red Sox nation. weren’t done yet. With two on and two out in the inning, Bernie Carbo pinch hit for pitcher Roger Moret and crushed a three-run, game tying homer to center field. The game would remain tied until the bottom of the twelfth when Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hit a walk-off home run off the left field foul pole, sending Fenway Park into a frenzy. Though Fisk’s walk-off would be remembered as Mandatory Credit: goodmenproject.com one of the most legendGame Six would go on to be a classic. ary moments in baseball history, many The pitching matchup was that year's forget about the heroics of Carbo. Why? American League Cy Young Award winThat’s up for debate. Maybe it’s because Fisk would go on to be elected to the Hall ner, Roger Clemens, against Bob Ojeda. After nine back-and-forth innings, the Of Fame and Carbo wouldn’t, though he game remained tied at three. However, had a solid big league career. Another aspect of this series that is over- Red Sox center fielder Dave Henderson led off the tenth inning with a solo home shadowed by Fisk’s home run is the fact that Cincinnati would win Game Seven to run to left field to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead and silence the Shea Stadium crowd. take the series. The Sox would scratch across an insur1986 World Series: New York ance run before the inning was over to Mets vs. Red Sox take a 5-3 lead. The champaign was set up in the visiThough it's remembered for one specific tor's locker room and the Sox were ready play, the 1986 World Series was riveting to celebrate. They needed only three more all around. outs. The Mets were coming off a 108 win Wally Backman led off the bottom of the season and a game seven victory over the tenth for the Mets against Calvin Schiralpitching-rich Houston Astros. di. He lofted a fly ball to left field which Even though their win total was not as landed in the glove of Jim Rice. One out. impressive, the Red Sox were coming off The next batter, Keith Hernandez a great season as well, winning 95 games clubbed a Schiraldi pitch to deep center and coming back from a three games to field, but Dave Henderson ran it down one deficit in the ALCS against the Calijust in front of the warning track. Two fornia Angels. They took that momentum outs. with them to Shea Stadium. The Mets last hope was Gary Carter. He The Sox took the first game 1-0 on the managed to line a 2-1 pitch in front of back of Bruce Hurst's gem. The Mets only Rice in left field to keep the game alive managed four hits. and bring the tying run to the plate in the Boston took a different route in Game form of pinch-hitter Kevin Mitchell. Two. Even though Roger Clemens didn't After a first pitch strike, Mitchell lined make it out of the fifth inning, the Red a single to center field to chase Carter to Sox slugged their way past Dwight Good- third base. The Sox still needed just one en and the Mets 9-3. more out. Boston hadn't won a championship in Third baseman Ray Knight was the next 68 years at that point, so when the Sox batter. After falling behind 0-2, he took headed back to Beantown with a 2-0 lead, the third pitch and dunked it into center the Fenway faithful was elated. However, field to score Carter and bring Mitchell to the Mets had other plans. third. Mookie Wilson would be the batter. 15
Red Sox manager John McNamara had seen enough of Schiraldi and went to his bullpen, summoning Bob Stanley, a move he would grow to deeply regret. Wilson managed to work a 2-2 count through seven pitches. On the next offering, Stanley threw it too far inside and the ball zoomed past catcher Rich Gedman, scoring Mitchell and tying the game. Also on the play, Knight moved into scoring position. On the very next pitch, Wilson rolled a ball towards first baseman Bill Buckner, a seventeen-year veteran who would retire
with over 2,700 career hits. Unfortunately for Buckner, all people would remember about him was that roller, as it rolled under his glove and into right field, allowing Knight to score and the Mets to win 6-5 and force a game seven. Though they fell behind 3-0, the Mets took the seventh game 8-5 and won the series. As for overshadowed aspects: The backand-forth of this series has rarely been matched. Also, the career of Bill Buckner, someone who could arguably be a border line Hall Of Fame candidate, was largely undermined. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to remember every game or everything that happens before or after a historic hit or play. It’s understandable. However, we can’t completely forget or we have no context for what happened. None of these legendary moments are overrated or less important, but they were just one part of an even bigger story. Consider this a reminder of what that bigger story is.
Jacob Winters was born and raised in New York City and is a life long baseball fan. As early as he can remember, he obsessively read about historical games, seasons, players, and stats. He is a co-host of the upcoming podcast Big Apple Bosses. Follow him on Twitter @wintersball
Brooklyn’s Secular Cathedral: Brooklyn’s Effect on the Mythology of the Dodgers (Part 1) This is the first part of a five-part series exclusive to Baseball Magazine by guest contributor Christine Sisto.
ers were so famous because they were Brooklyn’s team. The Dodgers’ fame was augmented, and able to reach its current myth-like During the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgstatus, due to a number of simultaneers-New York Yankees World Series, ous factors. The first of these factors is Gil Hodges, who was one of the best the action on the field. hitters in the league, second in home The Dodgers were famous for their runs in the National League the year skill and for their slip-ups. As Dodgbefore, hit a slump. During the Series, ers’ biographer Roger Kahn says in his he had struck out almost every time he famous book, The Boys of Summer, stepped in the batter’s box. In fact, he “You may glory in a team triumphant, was 0-for-21. but you fall in love with a team in Therefore, Father Herbert Redmond defeat.” The second of these factors of St. Francis Roman Catholic Church was Jackie Robinson and the social and in the Park Slope neighborhood of political role he played in 1940s and Brooklyn, New York preached during ‘50s America. his homily, “Keep the Ten CommandThe third of these factors was the uniments and say a prayer for Gil Hodgfying effect the team had on the cules.” turally diverse borough of Brooklyn. Events like this were commonplace These features of the Brooklyn Dodgamong Brooklynites while the Dodgers played at Ebbets Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The Dodgers were, and continue to be, nearly fifty-five years after their move to Los Angeles, an integral part of Brooklyn identity. However, what few Brooklynites and, even Brooklyn intellectuals, often fail to realize is that Brooklyn was also an indispensable part of the Dodgers’ identity. A September 1953 article in the now defunct newspaper, Brooklyn Eagle, starts its discussion of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ championship season with a description of all Brooklyn has to offer. The author mentions the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, and the borough’s many beautiful churches and synagogues. ers made the world listen, and more The author writes, “But no institution importantly, watch. in our midst has done more to spread As I will demonstrate, though, the the fame of Brooklyn to the outermost team never would have been as famous parts of the earth than the Brooklyn if they were not the Brooklyn Dodgers Dodgers Baseball Club.” because the Brooklyn identity resoAnother article in the same newsnates with most Americans. paper states, “The borough has made Furthermore, because of this identity, itself known in many ways but in no the aforementioned factors would not way so well as by the doings of the have had such an everlasting effect if Brooklyn Dodgers. they had been the home team of any No one could explain just why this is city other than Brooklyn. so, why the local ball club creates so The final action that solidified the much excitement, but that’s the way it Brooklyn Dodgers’ myth-like character is.” was the move to Los Angeles in 1957, I will prove that the Dodgers were resulting in aged fans of the Brooklyn so famous because, “Few communiteam making statements like the folties have as much home-town pride as lowing: “The Dodgers were the ghosts Brooklyn.” In other words, the Dodg- of baseball when it was perfect.” 16
By Christine Sisto
Baseball—Made in Brooklyn Brooklyn’s love affair with baseball began long before the Brooklyn Dodgers were an official team. Although American myth dictates that Abner Doubleday created the rules of baseball in Cooperstown, New York, which is the current home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, baseball actually began in New York City and Brooklyn. Organized baseball clubs began to spring up in the New York area around the 1820s, when the Erie Canal was built, which transformed New York farming into the “industrial and commercial center of the country.” Brooklyn, taken from the name of a village in Amsterdam, called Breuckelen, was originally populated by Dutch
Photo Courtesy: 19cbaseball.com
immigrants. With the late nineteenth century immigration boom, people from all different countries immigrated to the United States. The majority of these immigrants settled in Manhattan, most infamously in the Lower East Side. Because there were no bridges in these years, Brooklyn was settled more slowly. As generations passed, those with smaller incomes spilled over into Brooklyn, until Manhattan and Brooklyn had developed two distinct personalities. The former became a mostly aristocratic, upper class group because of the preponderance of businesses in the area. Brooklyn became an immigrant, hard-working, middle class, mostly be-
cause of its humble origins as a farmtrians’ constant battle to avoid being ing community. struck by the electric trolley cars, From these identities arose a rivalry which were ubiquitous in Brooklyn that exists to this day: Manhattan vs. at the time. The name was eventually Brooklyn. By 1855, both cities, beshortened to “Dodgers” and later, from cause at this time, Brooklyn was still a 1914 to 1931, changed to “Robins,” and separate city, had four baseball clubs. then to “Kings” until, finally, back to New York had the Knickerbockers, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Eagles, Empires, and Gothams. This team would quickly come to emBrooklyn had the Excelsiors, who body the “differentness” of Brooklyn. played in South Brooklyn on the site of the famous Revolutionary War Battle Brooklyn Identity of Brooklyn on the corner of 3rd Street and 5th Avenue. They also boasted In 1942, the film Wake Island prethe Putnams, who played in Williams- miered in American movie theaters. burgh, the Eckfords, who played in The movie was an enormously popular Greenpoint, and the Atlantics, who pro-war propaganda film. William played in Bedford. By 1856, baseball had become extremely popular in the New York metropolitan area, and more and more teams sprung up. As the game became standardized, mostly thanks to Brooklyn sportswriter Henry Chadwick, who developed the first scoring system and invented box scores, the teams’ promoters had the idea to organize a series of games between the New York and Brooklyn teams. Here the rivalry that some may argue, lasts to the present day, was born. In these games, the top teams chose their nine greatest players to compete in a best-of-three series. Over 2,000 people came to watch the first game. The second game drew over 5,000 people, and Brooklyn tied the series Photo Courtesy: NY Daily News with a score of 29 to 8. New York finally won the series, giving them bragging rights Bendix starred in the film as a toughas the better city with the best baseball talking, heavily accented Brooklyn players, probably in the country, due to soldier. baseball’s small scope at the time. After Wake Island, a character similar The Brooklyn Dodgers’ origins began to Bendix’s, with the same accent and in the 1890s. The team went through goofiness, became a staple in war films, many names, though, before “Dodgwhich were common during World ers” stuck. Originally, the team was War II. Soon the Brooklyn accent, informally referred to as “the Flock,” and thusly Brooklyn, became a joke to and it went through many names after most Americans, so much so that an that, from the “Bridegrooms,” at a time organization called the “Society for the when most players on the team were Prevention of Disparaging Remarks ” wed, to the “Superbas,” after the name was formed. of a popular musical. By 1946, the Society boasted 40,000 The team finally picked up the name members and halted nearly 3,000 “Trolley Dodgers,” because of pedessmears against Brooklyn in the media 17
that year. The Brooklyn accent was, and still is, one of the most recognized signifiers of Brooklyn separateness. Language has always been a great unifier, and divider. Examples abound in history of kings and caliphs choosing one national language in order to unify their kingdom, and set it apart from others. Brooklyn was no different. Having a distinct accent further separated Brooklyn from the greater metropolitan area. War films from the 1940s and later popular shows, most notably The Honeymooners from the 1950s, introduced the world to Brooklyn through the accent. In The Honeymooners, Jackie Gleason and Art Carney’s characters, Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton, respectively, personified the Brooklyn accent— a working class, non-college educated child of immigrants, who was “just trying to make ends meet.” This depiction of Brooklynites was not far from the truth. Brooklyn was a city— and after 1898, a borough— of immigrants. Although Brooklyn did have a small aristocracy of descendants of the original families who settled there, these families were the minority. Immigrants, especially after the 1920s were the majority. Brooklyn had sections for different cultures. The Irish, Italians, Poles, Swedes and Germans lived in Bensonhurst. African-Americans resided in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The Russians were in Greenpoint. Syrians, West Indians, and Newfoundlanders lived in Prospect Park West and Jews were in Williamsburg, Bensonhurst, and Crown Heights. The Jewish experience epitomized immigrants in Brooklyn. In 1901, the Brooklyn Eagle ran a story under the headline, “Is America the Jews’ Promised Land?” By 1900, one million Jews had come to the United States, and 300,000 of them had settled in the New York area. By 1910, over one million Jews were living in New York and census data showed that “there were more Jews
living in Brooklyn than in any other city the “Bums,” or, in Brooklyn vernacular, cans believe that, if one works hard, in the world.” one will succeed in life. Brooklyn was “Dem Bums.” Although there were different sections Brooklynites were proud of the fact a testament to this national myth. Imfor the different races, “there was a rela- that they were middle class, because migrants, who often came to the United States relatively poor, settled in Brooktive tolerance that was unmatched perin their eyes, they and their ancestors haps anywhere in America,” as Reverend had worked hard to achieve this status. lyn and worked hard in order to support Gardner C. Taylor of Bedford-StuyveHowever, much of this pride came from their families and raise their status from sant has said. Dorothy Burnham, a civil the still lingering rivalry with Manhatworking class to middle class. rights activist, reflecting upon her child- tan that began so long ago. As Brooklyn Dodgers fan and Brookhood in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn says, lyn resident, John Sexton said, “BrookBecause Manhattan was upper class “I had white friends and black friends. and Brooklyn was working class, Brook- lyn was the borough of hope. BrookThere was no obvious discrimination at lyn had a sense of inferiority to its lyn was the borough of immigrants.” school that I remember, though there neighbor across the East River, resulting Brooklyn was the epitome of the Ameriwere no black teachers in either elemen- in a sense of cultural isolation. can dream. As sportswriter Joe Williams put it, tary or high school, and sometimes the Brooklynites knew this, but in such a the situation comprised “an elegant segmented community, they had no way white kids were treated a little better than the black children. But it wasn’t smug New York versus a plain, proto communicate that with each other. obvious.” Brooklyn “represented the vincial Brooklyn.” Brooklynites saved After all, although they were separated idea that we can all get As Brooklyn Dodgers fan and Brooklyn resident, John along.” Although they were relatively tolerant Sexton said, “Brooklyn was the borough of hope. of each other, the ethnic Brooklyn was the borough of immigrants.” Brooklyn was sections were separate. As a 1950s New York the epitome of the American dream. Times article says, “Ask by their respective cultures, they did a Manhattanite where he lives and he’ll themselves from drowning in Manhattell you, ‘New York.’ A Brooklynite, have much in common. Brooklynites tan’s wave of culture, by declaring that however, will say at least, ‘Brooklyn,’ but they were different because they were shared a language, were the children of immigrants, or were immigrants themis more likely to answer, ‘Greenpoint’ or hard-workers, unlike the aristocrats of ‘Columbia Heights’ or whichever one of Manhattan who had never driven a bus selves, felt “ill-judged by outsiders,” and the twenty-one distinct communities it or made shoes for a living, and because suffered from an inferiority complex is in which he lives.” they were not afraid to be rambunctious, from sophisticated Manhattan. Residents had more allegiance to their unlike the stiff, boring upper class. The Brooklyn Dodgers communirespective neighborhoods than they did cated all of these things to the outside “The Brooklyn fans glory in their ecto Brooklyn as a whole. They had no world, but more importantly, to other centricity.” A New York Times article Brooklynites, uniting them. The followsense of unity, an issue that the Brookstated, “The Brooklynites resent Manlyn Dodgers would remedy, as will be hattan getting all the credit… When ing factors that will be discussed made discussed later. anything comes along distinctly Brook- America take notice of the Dodgers, and Despite the separation among them, lyn, they rally behind it because it is an thus, Brooklyn, and once they looked, immigrants were the basis of Brooklyn’s expression of themselves.” This “anythey realized that the Brooklyn identity identity and “differentness.” No other thing” became the Brooklyn Dodgers, spoke to all of middle America. city in the country was as populated by who spread the message of Brooklyn all The idea that “ball clubs invariably immigrants as Brooklyn, and Brookover the country. duplicate the temperament of the cities lynites took pride in this. They also took A 1952 article in the Brooklyn Eagle in which they play” is crucial to underpride in their middle class status and stated that “We have no doubt that many standing the Brooklyn Dodgers’ cultural separateness, which they personified products have greater acceptance when impact. in the Brooklyn “Bum.” This depiction the consumers learn that they come The three following factors that augwas a cartoon that eventually became from Brooklyn.” This trend survives to mented the Dodgers’ fame are all linked a character at Ebbets Field, first drawn the current day. When one travels to to the Brooklyn identity and would not by Willard Mullins in the 1940s. The other countries one sees products with have succeeded if this personality was “Bum” was a cartoon clown, who looked Brooklyn in the title, such as the Euronot part of the team. Like any other almost poor, wearing dirty, patched-up pean Brooklyn Gum. baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers clothes. As Carl E. Prince explains: The female name, Brooklyn, was the gained notoriety for the way the team The “Bum” was never meant to deni34th most popular baby name in 2010. played. However, before the arrival of grate the lowly. It represented at heart According to the U.S. Patent and Trade- general manager Larry MacPhail in a lingering Depression mentality that mark Office, more than 300 products 1938, Brooklyn did not play well. exalted the virtue that it wasn’t what are trademarked with “Brooklyn” in the Instead they became known for their you had that mattered, but how you name. Randall Ringer, president of the amazing slip-ups, a skill that would looked at things. In this way, it was a New York American Marketing Associ- stick with the Dodgers for decades, even ation states, “Brooklyn is a great brand Dodger-focused, widely understood when they became a winning team. symbol of working-class pride… one of for authentic products, solidly middle class with a sense of humor.” In describthe Bum’s roles was to mock perceived Christine Sisto does social media and “upper class” pretensions. ing the branding of Manhattan, Ringer Even the name “Bum” depicted this explained, “Manhattan is a strong brand. writes for National Review. She is from “lingering Depression mentality.” This More upscale than Brooklyn… Manhat- Brooklyn, NY, but lives in Washington DC. She graduated from the George title had a similar effect as the cartoon tan is an international brand, Brooklyn Washington University in 2012, double clown. It represented a pride in not is American.” majoring in Middle East Studies and being upper class. In fact, the name was This success of Brooklyn products History. When not talking baseball, so popular that the Brooklyn Dodgers demonstrates that the rest of America Christine enjoys arguing about politics. themselves were affectionately called identifies with the borough. Ameri18
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