Friday, September 14, 2007

Sunday Sept 14

Baseball game
and evening with friends


Matt's Notes

With the Yankees out of town on this day, Papa could have seen the Brooklyn Robins (a.k.a. Dodgers) play the Reds at Ebbets field or the New York Giants play the Cardinals at the Polo Grounds. Both teams were battling it out in an enthralling pennant race, so it's hard to imagine which game Papa would have chosen. Let's try to figure it out:

Papa's attendance statistics and habits in 1924 would indicate he was fan of the world champion Yankees; he went to the Stadium seven times, including two exhibition games against the Dodgers, and took at least one date there. The numbers reveal less about his National League leanings, though. By my reckoning he went to Ebbets Field three times and the Polo Ground four, but both teams were in town on three of those days and we can't really be sure who he saw (one of those tossup days also included a visit to relatives in the Bronx, so geographical convenience favored the Giants since the Polo Grounds were on the way). All in all, there's really no way to tell who Papa preferred that year. Advantage: None.

The Giants were out front all season but had quieted down in the stretch, and at 86-55 they were only one-and-a-half games up on the 85-57 Dodgers. The Dodgers had been in fourth place and seven-and-a-half games back on August 18, but since then they'd gone on a 25-6 run that began with a sweep of the Pirates (who were no slouches and had enjoyed their own late surge). "It is now reasonably certain that one of these local teams will represent the National League in the world's series," noted the New York Times, "The Giants, with a shifted lineup and a tottering pitching staff, have been fighting hard to keep ahead of the fast-moving Robins." With the season clearly on the way to a photo finish, I'd say Papa, as a baseball fan, would have been more intrigued by the surging team. Advantage: Dodgers.

Both the Dodgers' and the Giants' opponents were out of the race (though the Reds were not mathematically eliminated as the Cardinals were) so the competition wouldn't have factored into Papa's choice. Still, the Dodgers had the National League's best pitcher and future hall-of-famer, Dazzy Vance, on the mound against the Reds. Vance was on his way to a 28-6 record and a 2.16 ERA, and he was no doubt a big draw; in fact, the Dodgers had 27,000 fans in the stands that day versus the Giants' 25,000. Advantage: Dodgers

The ride to Ebbets Field was probably shorter than the ride to the Polo Grounds from Papa's Lower East Side home, but Papa's willingness to go for long jaunts on the subway without complaint makes convenience a negligible consideration. Still, Papa had a bunch of friends in Brooklyn -- perhaps those were the friends he spent the evening with -- so we'll give a slight geographical edge to the Dodgers.

And there we have it. If we take everything into account, it looks like Papa probably saw the Dodgers and Dazzy Vance shut out the Reds on September 14th. The final score was 3-0.


My mother adds:

Interesting. In all the years I knew Papa, he never took me to a Yankee game, while he took me to dozens of Dodger games from the time I was about five years old onward. It was at wonderful Ebbets Field where he taught me to keep score and then brag to the people around us ---"Look how this little girl can keep score". When the Dodgers and Giants left us for California, he never became a Yankees fan, but instead we rooted for the hapless Mets. He lived long enough to see the miracle of 1969.

We loved talking baseball and politics together.

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