63 minutes | Apr 13, 2021

Take me Out To The Ballgame... Of Yesteryear

On this week’s show we will explore the City’s temples to Baseball that are no longer physically here, but which live in many memories and many hearts. My guests will be returning guest, historian, and author Jason Antos, president of the Queens Historical Society, and author of “Shea Stadium”; and journalist, educator and sports historian David Kaplan, founding director of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center.Tune in for this fascinating conversation at TalkRadio.nyc or watch the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.Show NotesSegment 1Jeff begins the show by introducing the topic of historical sports stadiums along with the two guests. He reads off the long list of pieces that Jason has written throughout his career. Next, he introduces David Kaplan stating that he is an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and the founding director of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. Jason has always had a passion for sports and the history of New York which helped to fuel him. While in high school, he realized that he wanted to do writing and journalism professionally. He graduated from the University of Miami and got a job writing for the Gazette Newspaper. Dave attended Cortland State University, a school that embraces sports. His dream was to combine his two passions of sports and journalism which led to him becoming a sports editor. After introductions, they begin discussing the history of where the first few baseball games were being held. The first baseball game where admission was charged in a stadium was in the town of Corona. The Brooklyn Dodgers were playing in Washington Park but eventually they relocated to Brownsville. Since they were not getting the same amount of attendance while playing here, they moved back.Segment 2To begin this segment, the Polo Grounds are discussed. The original Polo Grounds was designed for the sport of polo. However, it became the home of the New York Giants in the late 1800’s. John McGraw and Bill Terry were two of the great historic Giants players. Eventually Willie Mays began playing there and left an amazing legacy behind. They eventually left N.Y. because they were persuaded that the west coast was more to offer. They would reunite with the Dodgers and resume the rivalry. In addition, the field they were playing in was not really designed for cars and New York was transitioning into something new which convinced the baseball club to move. Eventually, the Polo Grounds was refurbished for the Mets to play their first few seasons. The Polo Grounds also was the home of the Yankees from 1913 to 1922. Next, Paul Ebbets was discussed who originally was a bookkeeper for the Brooklyn Dodgers and eventually took over the team. He was going to keep the name of Washington Park but was eventually convinced to title the field after himself.Segment 3Next, Shea Stadium was discussed. Jason remembers watching game six of the 1986 World Series live when he was younger which only increased his love for the sport and the stadium. Furthermore, David begins discussing Yogi Berra and how down to earth he was. He states that what you saw was what you got. Yogi was part of one of the most memorable Yankee teams. He is a Hall of Fame catcher for the team who everyone loved. Next Ebbets field is brought up again. It meant a lot to all of the New Yorkers. Many game changing players played there including Jackie Robinson. The Dodgers ultimately left Brooklyn because of money. Parking was an issue and many New Yorkers were moving to Long Island. They did not want to change boroughs because they were so committed to Brooklyn. However, eventually they moved due to a decision made by a high ranking executive. Later, a super stadium was built which hosted multiple different sporting events. Furthermore, the history of Yankee Stadium was talked about. It will always be remembered for Lou Gehrig’s famous speech, Don Larson’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series and Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak. In addition, the rivalry was brought up between the Yankees and Dodgers. The two played in the same city and state for many years. They met in the World Series six times but the Dodgers only won once.Segment 4With New York now with only one team, the Yankees, many citizens were upset. Expansion was discussed. Talk of another league began to surface but eventually they began brainstorming ideas for another team name. They were going to try to replace the Dodgers in Brooklyn but eventually they decided to settle the team in a less developed area. The team eventually became the Mets. Shea Stadium was eventually torn down because of the demand for more modernism. It was outdated and cheaper to start from scratch. Also, many baseball fans enjoy being able to shop while at a game because Shea Stadium did not offer. However, ironically Citi Field does not offer as many seats as Shea Stadium. Despite the fact that it is no longer standing today, the memory of the stadium still lives through Jason’s book “Shea Stadium.”
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