EBBETS FIELD: IN MEMORIAM
I am certainly no demolition expert, but no one has to be to realize that in his action (E & D, Aug. 29) Walter O'Malley, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, started taking the rivets out of Ebbets Field. Baseball in Brooklyn as it has been known for a couple of generations is on the way out.
It may even be that major league baseball is at long last setting like the sun along the Gowanus Canal—as far as Brooklyn is concerned. One thing is sure—Ebbets Field is doomed. And it is doubtful that a new, modern and spacious baseball stadium will ever be built in Kings County. Gone now are the old-time trolleys that gave the ball club its nickname—"the Dodgers." Gone are the names that were the trademark of the old ball park—the Ebbetses—the McKeevers, Wilbert Robinson, Dave Driscoll Sr. and many legendary stars.
Anyone who knew Ebbets Field in the 1920s can still see old Charlie Ebbets standing on his special bench back of home plate after each game, being heckled by the fans who wanted him to part with his funds for better ballplayers. A favorite crack was, "Hey, Charlie, you dropped a dime."
Others can still see Steve McKeever, who owned 25% of the club, standing with his bald head and gold-topped cane in the ramp behind home plate greeting the politicians and personalities with his familiar "How's your big heart?"
When Charlie Ebbets died, Edward J. McKeever was slated to become president, automatically. The day Ebbets was buried dawned dismally cold and wet. A steady rain beat down on the cemetery and on the bared head of Ed McKeever as he paid his final respects to his baseball partner. A week later Ed McKeever was buried too—the victim of pneumonia.
Steve, his brother, never had the capacity for running a ball club. To him the Dodgers, the Robins, the Superbas, the Brooks—whatever they might have been to the fan—were a plaything. It seemed Steve was prouder of his original metal plumber's license that hung over the press gate than he was of the ball club. Later, however, his daughter—Dearie—became almost symbolic with the Dodgers.
And when they finally put the hammer to Ebbets Field in a couple of years, there will be tears not only in Brooklyn, but all over New York. The National League itself will not be the same. Time marches on.
DAVE DRISCOLL JR.
IS THERE A PSYCHIATRIST IN THE STANDS?
By saying Billy Klaus is "a state of mind" (SI, Aug. 22) would you agree with a leading Boston newspaper that the Red Sox opposition often gets "Klaustrophobia"?
? SI agrees.—ED.
EVENTS & DISCOVERIES (Aug. 22) describes the advent of what is claimed to be an innovation in baseball in the shape of a pitcher who pitches underhand. Bobby Fesler, a graduate from softball, has been taken on by the Seattle Rainiers to do with a regulation baseball what he had been doing with outstanding success with a softball, and, when he could get the ball across the plate, he seems to have disconcerted opposing batters with his unusual delivery.