Final Game in Brooklyn 50 Years Ago

Sept. 24, 1957 the Brooklyn Dodgers hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates in the final home game of the season at Ebbets Field. Only 6,702 paid fans could attend the game with the other 2,000,000 Dodger fans too broken-hearted or to depressed to watch the proud old lady host her final game.

Of course, the final shoe wouldn't drop on Bedford Avenue until the official announcement on October 8 that the Dodgers would open the 1958 season in Los Angeles after owner Walter O'Malley had exhausted every means to keep the club in Brooklyn.

But deep in everyone's heart, they knew the love affair of a storied baseball team and the city was over and one of the greatest stories in baseball history was ending.

Everyone knew it was coming, including organist Gladys Gooding. Her game-day playlist included "Am I Blue?" "Don't Ask me Why I'm Leaving" and "After You're Gone."

Danny McDevitt drew the historic start and stopped the Pirates on five hits, pitching a complete game winning 2-0 while recording nine strikeouts.

Elmer Valo and Gil Hodges, who started at third base this day, knocked in the runs. Hodges was also the final Brooklyn batter in Ebbets Field, grounding out in the lasts of the eighth to end the inning.

Don Zimmer, who played the who game at shortstop, collected the final hit, singling in the seventh inning. Zim also had the last extra base hit, a double in the fourth. The previous day Duke Snider hit the final home run in the park.

The last home game:

Score by innings Pittsburgh 000 000 000-0 Brooklyn 101 000 00x-2 Brooklyn ab r h bi Gilliam 2b 3 1 0 0 Cimoli cf 4 1 1 0 Valo rf 4 0 1 0 Hodges 3b-1b 4 0 1 1 Gentile 1b 2 0 0 0 Reese 3b 1 0 0 0 Campanella c 2 0 0 0 Pignatano c 1 0 0 0 Zimmer ss 2 0 2 0 McDevitt p 1 0 0 0 Dodgers 27 2 5 2 Pirates 31 0 5 0 Error- Reese (19). 2B- Valo (10), Zimmer (9). S- McDevitt. LOB- Brooklyn 5, Pittsburgh 4. DP- Hodges, Gilliam and Gentile; Zimmer and Hodges. Brooklyn in h r-er bb so McDevitt (7-4) 9.0 5 0-0 1 9 T- 2:03. Att- 6,702.

Making their National League debut in 1890, the Dodgers -- or Bridegrooms at that time -- won pennants in 1890, 1899, 1900, 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956.

The club was entertaining but hopeless on the field from 1921 to 1941, rising now and again the challenge but mostly spending most of its time in the second division.

But Brooklyn fans never really gave up on the team, supporting them well beyond what could be expected considering their won-lost record.

And in 1947 Branch Rickey changed the team and the game by signing Jackie Robinson. With Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Carl Furillo, Carl Erskine, Johnny Podres, Don Newcombe, Preacher Roe and Clem Labine on board they enjoyed the zenith of the franchise's history from 1947-1956.

Over those ten years they won six pennants, tied for first on two other occasions and finished second and third.

However, their luck in World Series play was sour, winning for the only time in 1955 after losing to the Yankees five different years.

The team's move to Los Angeles was followed by a general decline of the city. "This marked the end of Brooklyn as a separate city," John Thorn, a sports historian told the Associated Press. "The seeds of destruction were planted long before the Dodgers left," but after the team's departure "it went from eccentric to being just seedy."

However, prosperity has returned, the streets are safe again and people aren't talking about leaving Brooklyn anymore, just hoping they can afford to stay.

Brooklyn kids don't remember the glorious days of the "Boys of Summer" and are, for the most part, Yankee fans how.

No commemoration was held on the 50th anniversary of the move but their are still a number of Dodger fans who still remember.

Carl Erskine said last spring he pulled into a gas station. Another man filling his car wished him a happy anniversary.

Erskine couldn't figure it out. He wasn't married in June. "No," the fan said. "It's June 19. It's the anniversary of your no-hitter against the Cubs in 1952."

They may not be in Brooklyn anymore, but the Brooklyn Dodger fans, now scattered all over the country, still remember.

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