The Polo Grounds

High-quality as the historical past of the United States has been tied to the geography of North The USA, so the historical past of Unique York Giants baseball was tied to the asymmetrical bathtub shape of the Giant’s dwelling ballpark, called the Polo Grounds. Polo was by no methodology performed there however the baseball and soccer Giants performed there, as did the Yankees earlier than they moved to Yankee Stadium and the Mets earlier than they moved to Shea. Jack Dempsey knocked out Firpo there, Joe Louis knocked out Max Schmeling and Billy Conn, Floyd Patterson regained his title by knocking out Ingemar Johansson and Ray Robinson his middleweight title by TKOing Randy Turpin there.

It was located between 155th and 157th west of Eighth Avenue and east of the inferior of Coogan’s Bluff, which stood within the encourage of dwelling plate. The playing space was 550 feet prolonged from the stands within the encourage of dwelling plate to the clubhouse wall in deepest centerfield, which was down a slope from the infield. Avid gamers and bosses sitting within the dugouts could well perchance seek outfielders handiest waist up. The left self-discipline stands had been 380 feet from the upright self-discipline stands and in case you drew a line from dwelling by 2nd to the clubhouse wall, the left self-discipline aspect of the self-discipline was a quarter acre increased than the upright. That and the overhang of the upper deck of the left self-discipline stands, gave upright-handed hitters the sting.

The distance from dwelling plate to the fifteen-foot excessive concrete wall of the lower grandstands was 276 feet down the left self-discipline heinous line and 257 feet down the upright, however the upper grandstands in left self-discipline extended out over the self-discipline by twenty-five feet. Beyond the heinous traces the partitions on every aspect ran two hundred feet out to the bullpens in deep upright and left fields. Thus the bullpen partitions had been 450 feet from dwelling plate and they also crooked inward to the bleachers, 425 feet from dwelling plate.

For pull hitters admire Mel Ott (R.I.P. 1958) the rapid distance down the heinous traces made the Polo Grounds a paradise. Ott hit 323 of his 511 dwelling runs there and the upper deck correct past the heinous line grew to change into identified as Ottville. On the opposite hand, I most ceaselessly seen left fielder Sid Gordon accumulate under a pop-up down the left self-discipline line and correct as he raised his glove the ball would predicament off the overhanging greater deck for a dwelling bustle.

I by no methodology seen somebody hit the ball into the bleachers, no longer even in batting be aware, although the file books affirm Hank Aaron, Lou Brock and Joe Adcock managed to make it. The bleachers had been separated into two sections with a sixty-foot broad passageway between them that resulted in the Giant and visiting workforce clubhouses. The dwelling windows within the clubhouse confronted dwelling plate from deepest center self-discipline, which gave upward thrust to rumors of telescopes stealing and relaying catchers’ indicators to batters. They even claim the Giants did that the day Bobby Thomson hit the game and pennant a hit homer off Ralph Branca. How can somebody dangle a workforce managed by Leo Durocher, with Eddie Stanky playing 2nd, would ever slump to such a tactic?

Low line drives into the gaps in center self-discipline could well perchance roll your total diagram down the slope to the bleacher wall for triples and within the park dwelling runs. Yet Ernie Lombardi (R.I.P. 1977) would hit excessive four hundred foot line drives that bought caught. Along with his broad apart stance and prolonged beautiful swing, he was one amongst baseball’s substantial prolonged ball hitters, however its slowest inferior runner. He led the league in hitting into double plays and teams would many times play four outfielders and switch the infielders encourage to the perimeter of the outfield grass with him at bat.

“Runs admire he bought a piano on his encourage,” a man sitting within the row within the encourage of me said in some unspecified time in the future.

“Plus the fellows carrying it,” the man subsequent to him said.

After the video games, twenty or thirty kids would help Eighth Avenue, outside the clubhouse, to accumulate autographs. We knew the Giants by thought, however no longer guys on the visiting teams, so we would seek for guys with hair moist from the showers. In lately teams thought of as themselves ballplayers somewhat than businessmen and they also had been friendlier. They’d designate four or five or extra as they walked to the parking zone or subway entrance. One day one young guy stopped and signed for all americans. He had moist hair however none of us known him.

I regarded at my book. “Buddy Marshall. Who’s he?” No one knew. Turned out he wasn’t a player, correct a guy with moist hair and a crooked sense of humor.

Mel Ott was my favourite player, however from 1942 until 1948, while he was player-manager, the Giants ended the season in final space twice, fifth three instances, fourth once and third his first 300 and sixty five days. The total identical. I cheered for outfielders Johnny Rucker, Sid Gordon, Willard Marshall, Joe Medwick, Danny Gardella, Crimson Treadway, Steve Filopowicz, (he performed for the soccer Giants too) and Garland Lawing, who could well perchance throw the ball farther than he could well perchance hit it. I cheered for infielders Johnny Mize, Buddy Kerr, Invoice Rigney, George Hausmann, Nap Reyes, Phil Weintraub, Jack Lohrke, Connie Ryan, pitchers Invoice Lohrman, Ace Adams, Harry Feldman, Invoice Voiselle, Monte Kennedy, Ewald Pyle, Hooks Iott, and Clint Hartung, and for catchers Sal Yvars, Gus Mancuso, Walker Cooper, Wes Westrum and Lombardi.

In the first game of a doubleheader towards the Dodgers in 1944 Weintraub hit two doubles, a triple, a dwelling bustle and batted in eleven runs, Lombardi batted in seven, Ott walked five straight instances and scored six runs and the Giants received 26-8. They accomplished fifth that 300 and sixty five days, however that one victory carried me by the season. In 1947 they accomplished fourth, and hit 221 dwelling runs, the single-season file encourage then; Mize hit 51, Marshall 36, Cooper 35, Thomson 29. Invoice Rigney, who grew to change into a Giant manager would claim that he and his roommate hit 68 of the 221. (His roommate was Johnny Mize.)

In accordance to Rigney, Horace Stoneham, the Giants’ owner, “did no longer admire the bunt and did no longer admire pitching, however cherished the home bustle. We could well perchance beat you 9-8,” Rigney said, “however no longer 2-1.”

Then in July 1948 Effective Guy Mel Ott left and “Effective-Guys-Enact-Final” Leo Durocher, bought fired by the Dodgers and grew to change into manager of the Giants. Straight away, the Giants was a faster, extra aggressive workforce. On August 11 of the 1951 season, they had been thirteen and a half video games within the encourage of the Dodgers. Then with Stanky, Thomson, Irvin and the pitchers main the fee, and with Willie Mays, Don Mueller and Irvin within the outfield, Whitey Lockman in the initiating, Stanky at 2nd, Alvin Darkish at rapid, Thomson at third, Wes Westrum catching and Sal Maglie, Larry Jansen, Jim Hearn and George Spencer pitching, they received thirty-seven of their final forty-four video games in conjunction with the first sixteen straight and ended the season tied with the Dodgers for first space. Then within the third of three playoff video games, they beat the Dodgers on Thomson’s two-out, final of the ninth inning dwelling bustle and received the championship in basically the most keen pennant poke within the historical past of baseball-all at the Polo Grounds.


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