New York creates the game
Baseball comes from New York City. The game began in a grassy field in Manhattan before growing up a few miles away in Brooklyn. Midtown and uptown Manhattan took care of the rest, providing the game its culture and eventually setting in motion its modern era.
It is said that if Jackie Robinson was the ideal man to integrate baseball, then Brooklyn was the ideal place. How was Brooklyn the ideal place?
Before and with the Dodgers, before and with Jackie Robinson
Most of baseball comes from Brooklyn.The borough's longstanding passion for the game and its primary role in baseball's creation and growth are made clear by the sites of baseball rallies, Dodger celebrations and the first meeting between Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.
Baseball's great dynasties - the Giants and Yankees
The great baseball dynasties are those of the New York Giants (1904-1924) and the New York Yankees (several periods). For each of their leagues the Giants and Yankees represent the franchise with the most Hall of Famers, the most historic ballpark and the longest period of dominance.
Baseball Is New York - The countless traces of New York within the conduct of a baseball game.
Baseball Is Madison Square Park - Creation.
Baseball Is Brooklyn - Out of the primitive and into fundamental growth.
Baseball Is Harlem - The game assumes its current form.
Tradition: the New York Giants - Team of the established order, the Giants fostered the game's traditions.
Mystique: the Brooklyn Dodgers - Some fifty years later, the ballclub that stirs greater passion (and more resentment) than any other.
Dynasty: the New York Yankees - Yankee dominance as reflections of local factors.
Spiritual Descendants: the New York Mets - Children of the lost Giants and Dodgers, and today most human of ballclubs.
The Great New York Ballparks - The whys and hows behind their location, form and character.
Polo Grounds: Baseball's Shrine - Baseball's ancestral home.
Ebbets Field: Baseball's Funhouse - Brooklyn's emotional center and the most intimate of ballparks.
Yankee Stadium: Baseball's Cathedral - A new kind of ballpark (as of 1923) anticipating a new baseball age.
The Giants and Dodgers Forsake New York - The unusual set of factors that made departure possible, and then likely.
The Continuing Legacy of the Brooklyn Dodgers - Brooklyn's team affects American sports and politics to the present day.
Rivalries - The compelling relationships among New York's major league teams.
Golden Age Baseball Media - Baseball's finest announcers and newspapermen during the post-World War II era.
NEW YORK THROUGH BASEBALL
Baseball comes from New York City. We see the connections in these baseball lectures and tours, and especially in the course "New York Through Baseball."
The shape of the diamond, the Giants as creators of sports tradition, Brooklyn's dominating role in establishing the game, the continuing and powerful allegiance of Dodger fans (Brooklyn version only)… these are New York stories. Our focus is not baseball but New York history and culture. New York will deepen your appreciation of the game, and baseball will add context to your understanding of this great city.
Note that a good amount of duplication is essential among these presentations. The development of pitching, for example, and the growth of the sport are reflected directly in the still-evident passion around here for the Dodgers. Understanding the Mets demands a fair appreciation for the Giants and a lot of it for Brooklyn itself. And what do you think prompted the Yankees to begin (and never stop) throwing money around in the first place? Well, now we're onto the Giants again.
What we're really onto is New York City again. This is information you won't get anywhere else.
Several patrons have asked, "Will we go inside of Yankee Stadium?" "Will we talk about the rotten Met bullpen?" "I'm interested in New York but not so much baseball," or "I'm interested in baseball but not New York – how does all this matter to me?"
These classes and tours link the game and these teams with the history of New York. No other bat-and-ball game has foul lines – why did baseball need them? Baseball's most valuable franchise had long been the Giants – how did they wind up in San Francisco? The early Yankees were sometimes referred to as New York's forgotten team – what sent them to greatness?
Why did pitching go from an underhand lob to fastballs, curves and brushbacks? How can we read the Giants and Dodgers through the Mets' colors, uniform, logo and locale? Why was Brooklyn willing to place a black man on the field when no other community dared consider it?
These are New York stories. On our tours we will not visit a single existing ballpark. We are unlikely to discuss the most recent World Series. We may discuss where the World Series comes from, or how Harlem was fundamental in creating the modern game.
Need more? Be in touch. Im always happy to talk.
BASEBALL-RELATED SITES - NEW YORK CITYMadison Square Park (5th Ave. near 26th Street in Manhattan, approx. 1842-1845)
WORLD SERIES SITES
|*YANKEE STADIUM I||100||games|
|*POLO GROUNDS II||47|
|Sportsman’s Park (St.Louis)||33|
|Fenway Park (Boston)||31|
|Tiger Stadium (Detroit)||27|
|Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)||24|
|Shibe Park (Philadelphia)||20|
|Busch Stadium I (St. Louis)||17|
|Memorial Stadium (Baltimore)||17|
|Wrigley Field (Chicago)||16|
|Crosley Field (Cincinnati)||13|
|Forbes Field (Pittsburgh)||13|
|Riverfront Stadium (Cincinnati)||13|
|*YANKEE STADIUM II||3|
|**NEW SHEA STADIUM||3|
Total World Series games played (1903-present): 660, at 57 different ballparks
*Nearly one-quarter of all World Series games (22.7% - 150 of 660) have been played at these sites within 3000 feet of one another along the Harlem River. Upwards of one-third (29.4% - 194 of 660) have been played in New York City.
**No more of these corporate ballpark names. From now on the Mets' place is "New Shea."
BASEBALL IS NEW YORK
Baseball comes from New York City.
All three major stages of baseball evolution occurred in New York City.
The game was created by gentlemen in Madison Square Park and soon changed altogether in Brooklyn, where baseball became a real contest with the object no longer to socialize but to win. This meant taking advantage of opponents' weaknesses, leading for example to the bunt, the stolen base and the curveball, and then to the first professional players. Most of baseball comes from Brooklyn.
The character of Times Square was among a series of factors along midtown and uptown Manhattan that brought about an abrupt shift in the way the game is played. The last remnant of this change in baseball philosophy is represented by the dimensions of the Yankee Stadium outfield wall. In 1947 there occurred baseball's revolution: Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, almost inevitably in Brooklyn.
Baseball is an expression of New York City.
The story of the modern game can be read through New York City's four 20th Century teams:
|•||The New York Giants - the most dominant team in National League history, the early Giants epitomized the inside game typical of the dead ball era. The New York Giants still represent baseball's team of tradition;|
|•||The Brooklyn Dodgers - even today the team of mystique, as the Dodgers were before Jackie Robinson, before the wicked Walter O'Malley;|
|•||The New York Yankees - baseball's great dynasty, and heralds of the modern game;|
|•||The New York Mets - spiritual descendants of the Giants and Dodgers, of the founding New York Knickerbockers.|
Baseball is from New York. Baseball is of New York. In its origins, traditions and most compelling history, baseball is New York.