The demolition of Ebbets Field, 1960. (New York Daily News photo)
Much has been written about the Dodgers’ 1957 departure from Brooklyn, but a look at the ensuing history shows just how traumatic the episode has been. Not only did the Dodgers leave, but Manhattan lost its Giants to San Francisco–there had to be two teams in California to make the schedule work. (Prior to this the major leagues existed only as far west as St. Louis.) The New York baseball void was so profound, that by 1958 a move was afoot by William Shea and friends to establish a new league, the Continental League, with a new New York team.
Ultimately the major leagues expanded, ending the Continental League in the process. New York got the Mets, a synthesis of the old NYC teams, borrowing colors and emblems from the Dodgers and Giants, and even playing in the Giants’ old home park, the Polo Grounds, for their first two seasons. William Shea’s efforts were rewarded by the Mets’ new stadium being named after him in 1964. When Shea Stadium was replaced in 2009, its design was a tribute to Ebbets Field, and an attempt a half century after the fact to address the void still felt by the loss of the Dodgers and their ballpark.
When minor league baseball came to Brooklyn in 2001 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, the team’s logo included the same “B” that the Dodgers used, and a statue of famed Brooklyn Dodgers Jackie Robinson and Pee We Reese stands outside their Coney Island stadium.