Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ebbets Field was a Major League Baseball park in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. It was the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League. Two different incarnations of a Brooklyn Dodgers football team also used Ebbets Field as their home stadium.
The park opened on April 9, 1913, replacing the old Washington Park. It was the scene of some early successes, as the "Robins" (so-called for long-time manager Wilbert Robinson) won league championships in 1916 and 1920. Then the team slid into some hard times for a couple of decades, until new ownership brought in player development genius Branch Rickey. In addition to his well-known breaking of the color line by signing Jackie Robinson, Rickey's savvy with farm systems produced results that made Ebbets Field and the Brooklyn Dodgers "Bums" a perpetual contender for decades to come.
The Dodgers were soon victims of their own success, because there were only so many eager fans they could stuff into miniscule Ebbets Field. Club owner Walter O'Malley lobbied for a (domed!) stadium for his Dodgers, but the borough politely declined this state-of-the-art opportunity, sealing the fate of Brooklyn major league baseball.
The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, California after the 1957 season, along with their long-time crosstown rivals the New York Giants. That meant lights out for Ebbets Field, which was demolished starting on February 23, 1960.
A great deal of history happened at Ebbets Field during its relatively short 45-year lifespan with the Dodgers. The unique atmosphere could perhaps best be likened to the current ambience of Fenway Park. It is fair to say that of the many teams that uprooted in the 1950s and 60s, the Dodgers left their fans the most heartbroken. A couple of decades later, Roger Kahn 's book The Boys of Summer and Frank Sinatra's song There Used to Be a Ballpark mourned the loss of places like Ebbets Field, and of the attendant youthful innocence of fans and players alike.
It is small consolation to the Brooklyn faithful that their cramped and beloved ballpark became the site of the Ebbets Field Apartments, which were renamed the Jackie Robinson Apartments in 1972, the same year Jackie died.
One source of many:
- Old Ballparks, by Lawrence Ritter.
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