Friday, September 28, 2007

Baseball Reminiscence

StoryCorps: Recording America
A Bittersweet Goodbye in Brooklyn

Morning Edition, September 28, 2007 · Brooklyn Dodgers fans were devastated when they learned their team was moving to Los Angeles. It was the 1957 season and attendance at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field plummeted.

Harvey Sherman recently came to the StoryCorps booth in New York City to remember how he said goodbye to his favorite team. StoryCorps

Fewer than 7,000 fans turned out for the Dodgers' final home game — played 50 years ago this week. Harvey Sherman was one of them.

"The first two weeks of September, the Dodgers were on the road," he remembers. "They were scheduled to come back to Brooklyn for a makeup game with the Pirates. And that was going to be their last game at Ebbets Field."

To celebrate his 21st birthday, Sherman decided to go to the game. He asked a few friends to come along, but they thought he was crazy.

"You're going to be the only one there," he says they told him. "They're leaving us. The heck with them. We're not interested."

So he went to the game alone.

"The lights were on, the grass was as beautiful as it was the first day of the season," he says. "The players were on the field, but there was no one in the stands. The place was vacant. It was eerie. I could have sat anyplace in the ballpark I wanted.

Gladys Goodding was the organist, and "everything she played was a blue song about losing a lover. And after the game, I remember leaving and she was playing 'Auld Lang Syne,' and then they cut her off in the middle and they put the Dodgers theme song on.

"When I walked out of the Ebbets Field, I stood a block away and just looked back. The lights were still on and I said goodbye. It was over."

Sherman, 71, says he still looks back with bitterness at the team's exit. And for years he refused to go to any ballgames.

"I never thought the Dodgers would leave," he says. "It was like a divorce. You felt like a child in a divorce and that you had no control over what was happening."

"To this day, I miss it terribly. I miss it terribly."

Produced for Morning Edition by StoryCorps senior producer Michael Garofalo. Special thanks to Alex Reisner.

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