|Bobby Thomson is mobbed at the plate. Associated Press photo.|
Or that several readers also delivered local newspapers in that huge metropolitan polyglot of boroughs and treasured one of the three major league teams, the Dodgers, the Giants and the Yankees?
I wrote about delivering The Long Island Daily Press and hearing, from radios blasting from open windows in my town of Forest Hills, the heartbreaking moment when Bobby Thomson of the Giants snuffed out the dreams of this idol-worshiping Dodger fan with one swing of the bat.The responses came in like fastballs.
Jim Beauchamp of Virginia Beach also delivered the Daily Press. “I recall how proud I was when I installed that big press basket on my Schwinn. We always porched the paper and on rainy days rang doorbells at homes where there was no cover. Collection day was Saturday and some tightwads wouldn't answer the door even if they were home. What great memories and yes I was a Dodgers fan too and my mother was born in Brooklyn as was my wife.”
Mike Schery of Norfolk delivered the Yonkers Herald Statesman. Although his father was from Brooklyn, they were ardent Giant fans. His dad, recovering from a heart attack, knew he had to take it easy, but that big swing turned the “Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff” into reality. “My dad went crazy – jumping up and down and screaming,” Schery wrote. “My mother rushed in to calm him, probably averting another heart attack. Of course, our high lasted only a week before the “Yanks”, a team that ranked only behind the Bums in our disdain, won the Series in six games.
“In sequel, my dad died within a year at the age of 50; I had just turned eleven. That was the saddest period of my young life but I can still remember my first thought two years later when the Giants swept Cleveland in the Series: ‘Gee I wish Dad were alive to see this.’”
Vince Ferretti, who delivered The Staten Island Advance, was a Yankee fan who, of course hated the Dodgers because of the teams’ long rivalry, “I came home from school and my mother was ironing and had the game on. Bobby Thomson was from S.I. When he hit that homer, we all cheered and danced a jig. I remember it as if it were yesterday.”John Van Huyck, also an ex-newsboy, was “a loyal Dodger fan and avowed Yankee hater . . . and was used to the many disappointments involved by 1951. After all, "Wait 'til next year" was a litany until 1955. And I, too, still have my autographs although my mother, in her innocence, threw out my extensive bubble card collection when I went into the Navy in '53!”
Francis Nugent, a Giants fan now of Chesapeake, was tuned into the Dodgers-Giants game in an unusual way: as a radioman on a submarine that was returning from Europe, and a teletype machine “was typing away each pitch and each swing of the bat” when the infernal thing stopped “and never hit another key for the rest of the trip until we got it fixed in New London, Ct.” It wasn’t until late that night that he found out his Giants had won.
Alison Schoew, a technical writer at ODU, had to smile when she read that I grew up in her home town of Forest Hills, a suburb or New York where tennis championships were once played on grass. Her family, originally from the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, was heart-broken when the Dodgers left for Los Angeles.
In part of a short story, a character she calls Jean, is “in her heart a Brooklyn girl, even though born and bred in Manhatten. On the way to a friend’s home in Flatbush she can’t wait to hear the broadcast of a Yankees-Dodgers game.
“Finally, the train arrives in Flatbush. She would like for the gentlemen along her six-block walk to Madeline’s to notice the wind ruffling the feathers in her cap, the buttons of her topcoat undone, the form of her figure smiling out from her gown, but no. Their attention is on the game.“Yet here – here! – she is finally at home. She’d thought she’d miss it, but from every car radio, from every open apartment window, from the spring in every step, she senses the familiar joy engendered by supporting “dem bums”, her Dodgers. Here, finally, she can sing in harmony with her neighbors.”
Ah, doze memories!