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67 Years Ago Today At Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place A Man Wore #42

15 Apr

The Brooklyn Dodgers had their Home Opener at Ebbets Field.  Jackie Robinson played his 1st Game.
A child who would later own the Chicago White Sox, one Jerome Reinsdorf, was at this historic game.
Baseball’s Colour Line was broken.

Yet, it was 1972, 25 Years after Jackie’s Historic 1st Game. For the 1st of “The Boys Of Summer” had passed on. Gil Hodges was a Member of the 1955 World Championship Brooklyn Dodgers as 1st Baseman. In 1969, he managed the World Championship NY Mets.
For a greying man of colour was exiting a vehicle outside of Our Lady Help of Christians Roman Catholic Church on Avenue M in Brooklyn. He was going through Blindness as he exited the vehicle. This was in April, 1972.
#42, Jackie Robinson was seem. A frail and seriously ill man, a far cry from the Player who stole Home Plate in the 1955 World Series, he needed help to enter the Parish Church, where Gil Hodges Lay In State. The Brooklyn Dodgers decamped for Los Angeles, 15 Years Earlier.
#42, Jackie Robinson died in October, 1972, 25 Years after his 1st Season and 1st World Series.

And he is remembered 67 years later, on a rainy, chilly day in the 5 Boroughs.

By the way, the Robinson’s Babysitter, built a monument in Jackie’s Memory, as part of a new stadium, located adjacent to where Shea Stadium used to be.
The new ball park, called Citi Field, is an exterior replica of Ebbets Field, with a huge Rotunda at the entrance.
The Rotunda, which replicates the Ebbets Field Rotunda, is a multimedia tribute to Jackie Robinson and named for him.

The Babysitte? Fred Wilpon, Principal Partner in the New York Mets.

Missing from this ball park is the trolley line which ran by Ebbets Field. An elevated line runs by the ball park now, called the 7 Train.

Strange, but Ebbets Field was once served by a Rapid Transit Line called the Franklin Brighton Line.
It was also
called The 7 Line.

Remember this day for Baseball and life changed.


Ebbets Field Was Not Revered The Way It Is Today & Why I Remember Shea Stadium, A Stop For A Saint By The Name of St. John Paul II The Great

29 Mar

1913 until 1960, Ebbets Field stood in Brooklyn, with the last Professional Baseball Game played in 1959, a Triple A International League Game. By April, 1960, Ebbets Field was rubble.
Things changed after World War II, with Brooklyn People moving to Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island.  In 1947, Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers. The Complexion of The Fans changed as well. The area where Ebbets Field was, changed as well. Ebbets Field only had parking capacity for 700 cars.

Yet, Brooklyn Dodgers Fans many years later still talk of Saturdays and Sundays at the Ballpark, as if it was a Cathedral.  But, the Old Ballpark was under capacity and an old dump. For the Brooklyn Dodgers were a victim of their own success.

But, in later years, Ebbets Field became a symbol of the “Nouveau-Retro Spirit” of Major League Baseball.  There is Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Miller Park in Milwaukee, PNC Park in Pittsburgh,  Et Cetera, which do reasonable Ebbets Field Imitations.
Citi Field was built as a Tribute to Ebbets Field, only in Queens, next to the site of Shea Stadium. Do I mourn the Loss of Shea Stadium? You bet I do. Why? Shea is the Site of my 1st Major League Baseball Game (M-E-T-S), my 1st  Professional Football game(J-E-T-S), my 1st Professional Soccer Game(Cosmos NASL Postseason), the Birthplace of that Ertswhile Chant of “Yankees Suck”, a chance to actually see the NY Football Giants in action.
The Coupe De Grace Events of Shea Stadium are these two moments in both both MLB and One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church Histories.
In 1999, the Mets won on a Wild pitch in Extra Innings, 3-2, setting the stage for a 1 Game Playoff in Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium, which established the Mets as the NL Wild Card Titlist. Let’s just say, I was dizzy from a Wildly Vibrating Shea Stadium, with Mets Fans in Ecstasy.
But, this Moment in Shea Stadium History, tops everything, for on October 4th, 1979, on an insanely rainy day in New York, it seemed that Everywhere He Stopped, the Driving Rains came to a Halt.
The Rains stopped when He came into Shea, via the Centerfielder Fence.
For Shea Rocked with an intensity known only during Mets and Jets Games. But, this was better than that, for this Man was bigger than all that.
And He spoke so clearly, with a Heavy Polish Accent and said:
“You Have Special Weather Here.”
His Formal Title was His Holiness.
Blessed Pope John Paul II was at 2nd Base when He Said those Words.
NOTHING COMPARES with seeing Someone, at your favorite Sports Venue, who is about to be Canonized a Saint of The Catholic Church. It is almost 35 Years since I witnessed His Arrival from Shea’s Upper Level.
April 27th 2014 is The Canonization in The Vatican.
For The Priest who coordinated this event at Shea Stadium, the Priest died on August 14th, 2013, 19 Years after Mum passed on.
That’s all part of the Memories, which No Monument to Ebbets Field could or will ever change.

Deo Gratias!