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New York City Baseball: 1947-1957 the Golden Age

***Harvey Frommer is at work on REMEMBERING SUPER BOWL ONE: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY.
He welcomes hearing from anyone with memories, perceptions, leads, memorabilia for his newest book. ****

 

 By Dr. Harvey Frommer

Baseball in October in New York seemed like it never come to an end. That is why this October of 1913 it seems strange that the New York Yankees and the New York Mets are finished with baseball, not able to make the play-offs. And the old cry of the old Brooklyn Dodger fan “Wait ‘til next year” seems appropriate.

Also appropriate for me is the re-issue of my New York City Baseball 1947– 1957. Published In 1980,my seventh book at the time, remains one of my favorites.

It was written on a heavy IBM typewriter and the interviews were conducted with a big box cassette tape recorder. I transcribed the interviews by hand, slowly, painstakingly, with great respect for the memories and insights of so many people who were kind enough to pause, to think, to evoke, to bring back the time.

It was a time when there were three teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants and the New York Yankees. Each team was distinct. Each team boasted a fabled history. Each one had loyal and highly knowledgeable fans rooting for them. Except for 1948, each of the years from 1947 to 1957, a baseball team, sometimes two, from New York City was playing in the World Series.

I interviewed owner Walter O’Malley in his box at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. He seemed so much less villainous than he had been painted.

“If they had only given me the downtown Brooklyn location I wanted near the Long Island Railroad, I would have stayed,” he said. If only he could have known all these years later about the Brooklyn Nets playing in the billion dollar Barclay Center close by where he would built a new home for the Dodgers.

I interviewed Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson. She was gracious, generous in giving of her time and memories as was personable Monte Irvin who had the talent to be “the first” black major leaguer but it was not to be and he explained why.

One of the great voices in this book (who later appeared in several other books I wrote  ) is that of the irrepressible Irving Rudd, a real New York City character who for a time was the public relations chief of the Dodgers. He told the tale of famed General Douglas MacArthur coming to Ebbets Field, of Branch Rickey planning the breaking of the color line no matter the personal cost, of talented players and fanatical fans, of special promo events, providing an over-the top enrichment to this work and incredible historical documentation.

In New York City Baseball Mel Allen and Red Barber in their southern voices provide perspective, explaining the art and craft of baseball.

One more time we hear Mel Allen’s home run call: ""Going. . . Going. . . Gone!"

One more time we hear Red Barber sounding off “Oh, Doctor.”

One more time we hear about the “Subway Series,” “Wait ‘til Next Year,” “Dat Day” and “the Shot Heard ‘Round the “World.”

How wondrous it was to have those announcers, how much greater they seem when compared to the bulk of stat obsessed, non-stop talking, blowing their own horn, pretenders to the throne of big league broadcasters.

Phil Rizzuto, Hank Bauer, Eddie Lopat and Jerry Coleman, who gave me the idea for the book, and others talk Yankees with pride and detail and even wonder.

I did not know it then but I was working as the oral historian I would become, disguised even to myself. And the great strength of New York City Baseball and many of the other books I have created rests on the oral history, the multitude of voices and memories I was able to reach and record.

The Duke, the Yankee Clipper, Oisk and Campy, Preacher, Westy, the Barber and Mandrake the Magician, Blacky and Whitey, Skoonj, Pee Wee and Newk, Yogi, Ellie, Old Reliable, the Peepul’s Cherce, the Old Redhead and Old Reliable and the Ole Perfessor, the Chairman of the Board, Scooter, the Mick, Ellie, Slick and Yogi, the Rifle, the Voice of the Yankees, Dem Bums ... are all in these pages – talking and talked about. 

That is why it so rewarding for me that that this book of mine has another new life. It deals with a special time in the history of New York City. It was a time when you could walk down the street and the sound of baseball in spring, summer and fall was always on, always alluring, always special. It was a time when one could go to a butcher shop, a candy store, a laundromat, moving from one to another virtually without missing a pitch, the sound of New York City Baseball was always on.

So come let us re-live one more time the golden age of New York City Baseball, 1947-1957.

#  #  #

You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
on Twitter: http://twitter.com/south2nd
on Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?locale=en_US
on the Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer

Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .
 

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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