Walter O’Malley left Brooklyn with it’s diamond in the rough back in 1957. After that, in my opinion and probably all of Brooklyn, they lost their right to call themselves the Brooklyn Dodgers. Some of you may think I’m nuts. Many of you will simply say, “You weren’t even alive back then!” And I think that has nothing to do with it.
I’ve seen probably every movie ever made about the Brooklyn Dodgers, as well as countless books and articles. I visited Dodgertown while I was in Florida and looked at all the signs and lettering on the entrance still in Dodger blue. Took pictures of where once played maybe the most beloved franchise in baseball history. I own cards, caps, shirts, jerseys, autographed pictures and even decorate my living room with a large photo of Jackie Robinson stealing home with Gil Hodges watching at the plate. My grandfather grew up in Brooklyn, my mother and I were both born in Brooklyn and baseball is in our blood. I am a Brooklyn Dodger fan.
I know the pain Brooklyn went through when the Dodgers left. I may not have been there, but I know how it feels when something is taken away from you that you have no control over – and it stinks! Brooklyn lived and died with the Dodgers. Neighborhoods would revolve their lives around what time the game was on. If you had to leave your apartment to pick up something for your mom, you knew you wouldn’t miss a second of the game because every radio would be on and every window open as you strolled down the block. That is some serious dedication and love for a baseball team.
Now, let’s bring it back to present day. The Los Angeles Dodgers are planning on selecting six dates this season to wear Brooklyn Dodgers uniforms and slash prices in half as a promotion for the fans. Well, I think that’s a bunch of malarkey. You didn’t leave a city that kind of liked baseball, you left a hole in the heart of thousands. You absolutely have no right to be “nostalgic” and wear the Brooklyn name across your chest to make some extra bucks at the ticket stands. I think O’Malley made way more than enough by leaving Brooklyn and taking the Dodgers to Los Angeles.
He knew what he was doing and I don’t think any excuse could even come close to explaining his decision. No, not even the grumpy old Robert Moses can convince me enough. Moving the Dodgers to Queens would have been bad, but not as bad as the other side of the country. If you ask any Mets fan today, they most likely would have been Dodgers fans back in the day. Look for any Brooklyn fans who lived the during the era, and they’re most likely Mets fans.
The Dodgers moving to Los Angeles has got to be one of the most darkest days in baseball history. Not only because they left, but because they also took the New York Giants with them. I know it eventually led to expansion and the game was brought other cities and fans that had no way of going to the games in the north east, and that’s all well and good, but the holy trilogy of baseball was torn apart.
There are books written about the golden age of baseball, 1947 to 1957, and it revolved around the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and New York Yankees. Three of the greatest center fielders to play the game were Duke Snider, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. The shot heard around the world, the Yanks winning five series in a row, the color barrier being broken and one of the greatest catches ever made by Willie Mays at the Polo Grounds all happened in New York. Baseball in New York is like the eucharist during mass, you can’t have one without the other. There was no other greater time in baseball history!
Walter O’Malley ripped that all apart in 1957. No, the Los Angeles Dodgers don’t deserve to wear the word Brooklyn across the front of their uniforms.