NOVEMBER 16, 1912
In failing health, Giants president John T. Brush dies in his private car aboard a train en route to California. Harry Hempstead, his son in-law, will take over the club. (Nationalpastime.com)
Alvin Dark, a Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star shortstop who managed the Giants and A’s to the World Series, died Thursday. He was 92. There are now only 25 remaining Giants who played in NY.
Dark played 14 seasons in the Majors, suiting up for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, New York Giants, Cardinals, Cubs and Phillies, establishing himself as one of the best all-around shortstops in his era. He batted .289/.333/.411 in a career that spanned from 1946-60, compiling 126 homers, 2,089 hits and 59 stolen bases.
He later was manager of the Giants, leading them to the 1962 World Series, which they lost to the Yankees in seven games, and also the A’s, taking them to the World Series championship in 1974, the last of their three consecutive titles.
“We are saddened to learn of Alvin’s passing,” the A’s said in a statement. “He was a true baseball man who will always hold a prominent place in our history, both in Kansas City and Oakland. A’s fans will never forget the 1974 team he managed to a third consecutive World Series title. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.”
A product of Louisiana, Dark was Major League Rookie of the Year in 1948, was captain of the Giants throughout the 1950s and played in three World Series, winning one with the Giants while batting .412 in the 1954 Fall Classic.
Dark did so much more than play baseball, though. Continue reading
The San Francisco Giants are once again in the World Series. I’ve been watching the games on TV, but I’m not rooting for them. As a kid, I was shattered when my team, the New York Giants, moved to the Bay Area in 1958. I felt betrayed. It must have been similar to what children feel when their parents divorce. This wasn’t the way that adults were supposed to act.
In their early years on the West Coast, the Giants had some outstanding players — Willie Mays (who had played for the team in New York) as well as Juan Marichal, Felipe Alou, Orlando Cepeda, and Willie McCovey. But the Giants left my heart in New York, not San Francisco. I would never again cheer for the Giants.
My memories about the New York Giants were rekindled this week, not only by the World Series, but also by a photograph that my teenage daughter discovered while she was rummaging through miscellaneous files and boxes in our house. It was an 8 ½ by 11 glossy photo of a one-time major league pitcher in a New York Giants uniform, posing as though he had just completed his follow through.
In the upper right hand corner is a fading but still legible autograph written with a dark black pen:
“To Peter Dreier (a future major leaguer) Your friend, Johnny Antonelli” Continue reading
Charlie Mead an outfielder for the NY Giants has passed. (Thanks to NYGPS Member Perry Barber for the info!) Mead played for the Giants from 1943-1945. There are now only 26 remaining Giants who played in NY.
By Andrew Hendriks
Charlie Mead of Vermillion, Alta., was one players responsible for keeping baseball alive during the second great war. Signed by the Detroit Tigers he began his pro career with the in 1940 with class-C Hot Springs Bathers and class-C Henderson Oilers. He spent 1941 with class-C Texarkana Twins and the next year with class-B Winston-Salem Twins. He signed with the New York Giants in 1943 and spent 97 games at double-A Jersey City Giants before getting the call.
Suiting up for the New York Giants, Mead appeared in 87 games between the years of 1943 and 1945, belting a total of three home runs and hitting .245 while patrolling the outfield at the famed Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan. He made his debut Aug. 28, 1943 making 34 starts at age 22, going hitless as Van Mungo pitched the Giants to a 12-0 win over the Boston Braves and Red Barrett. Mead had his first hit in the majors of Whitlow Wyatt in a 4-1 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers. His first homer came Sept. 28 when he took Ray Starr deep in a 5-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field. He made the second most starts behind Hall of Famer Mel Ott, the Giants playing manager in right field and three more in centre. On the season he hit .274 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 37 games.
The next year in 1944, he hit .179 with one homer and eight RBIs in 39 games. Mead went deep against Freddy Schmidt in a 10-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in a 10-6 loss and knocked in a pair in a 5-4 win over the Boston Braves. He made 11 starts in left, four in right and three in centre. His third career homer game in 1945 when he homered against Lefty Wallace in a 7-3 loss to the Boston Braves. He batted .270 with one homer and six RBIs in 11 games, as he started 10 times in right. When the troops returned home following an ally victory in 1945, many of the reserve ballplayers were given their release, opting to return to the minors or finding other post-baseball careers outside of the game. Mead, who was a mere 24 years old by the end of the 1945 season, decided to continue his career as a professional, signing on with the unaffiliated Vancouver Capilanos of the Class B Western International League, where he would become a star over the course of the next six seasons, helping the Caps take home league titles in 1947 and 1949 respectively. Continue reading
OCTOBER 29, 1889
The National League’s Giants defeat the Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the American Association, 3-2, to win the World’s Championship Series, a precursor to the modern-day World Series. The nine-game postseason match-up is the Big Apple’s first ‘Subway Series’, although that type of transportation will not available until 1904. (Nationalpastime.com)
ED LUCAS: MLB PLAYOFFS ARE FULL OF MAGICAL MOMENTS, JUST ASK BOBBY THOMSON
The NYGPS final meeting of the calendar year took place October 1st with our keynote speaker Ed Lucas. It was truly an unbelievable and awe inspiring night hearing Ed talk about how baseball robbed him of his eyesight and ultimately gave him a a rich and rewarding life. This event happened 63 years ago to the date right after Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard Round the World!! We thank the entire Lucas Family and Jay Goldberg, owner of the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse http://www.bergino.com/ for making it such a wonderful night. BTW 15 hearty fans stayed as Madbum threw a complete game shutout of the Bucs. GO GIANTS!!
Our organization is heavily mentioned in this article:
On Oct. 3, 1951, one of baseball’s greatest moments occurred, just a few miles from Hudson County. No, it did not happen, like so many other fall sports milestones, at Yankee Stadium. Instead, it took place at a ballpark that was demolished 50 years ago, directly across the Harlem River from The House that Ruth Built.
The Polo Grounds, on 155th Street in Harlem, was home to baseball’s New York Giants. In mid-August 1951, the Giants were 13 1/2 games behind their rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers. They came back, tying the Dodgers on the last day of the season.
The teams split the first two games of a three-game playoff and then headed to the Polo Grounds for the deciding match. In the bottom of the ninth, with the Giants down by two runs and two men on base, Bobby Thomson stepped to the plate at 3:58 p.m. and hit a walk-off home run to send his team to the World Series. “The Shot Heard ’Round the World” was a fitting conclusion to a miracle season.
The day has special significance to me, not just because I was a rabid Giants fan. I was 12 years old at the time, living in Lafayette Gardens. After Thomson’s homer, I ran out to celebrate with my friends by pitching in a sandlot game. As I threw the ball it was hit back to me at tremendous speed, smashing me right between the eyes.
That scuffed-up white ball with the red stitches spinning in the gloam of a fading Jersey City October sunset, 63 years ago, was the last thing I ever saw.
The Giants lost the 1951 World Series to the Yankees but enjoyed success after that. Thanks to their young superstar, Willie Mays, they won the 1954 World Series. Sadly, three years later they followed the Dodgers to the West Coast, setting up shop in San Francisco. Their old ballpark was completely torn down in 1964.
The San Francisco Giants have advanced to the NLDS this year and will have many passionate fans cheering them on. One group will be following its favorite team picturing an orange “NY” on the cap instead of “SF.”
The New York Giants Preservation Society was founded by Gary Mintz in 2012. For a team that doesn’t exist, the group is quite active. They even have their own website and Facebook page, with fans all over the world sharing memories.
I was invited to speak to a gathering of their club Wednesday night, at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse on East 11th Street in New York City, a great spot for baseball fans to visit, just around the corner from Union Square. It was interesting to hear sounds of recognition from audience members as I talked about my days watching the Giants old farm team in Jersey City and how visits to the Polo Grounds helped me get through the depression after I went blind. Some of these guys have been Giants fans longer than I’ve been alive.
FROM WIKIPEDIA: George Elwell Spencer (July 7, 1926 – September 10, 2014) was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball. A right-hander, he was primarily a relief pitcher for the New York Giants and the Detroit Tigers. Spencer stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 215 pounds (98 kg).
A graduate of Bexley High School in Columbus and The Ohio State University, where he played quarterback on the OSU varsity football team, Spencer was a key member of the 1951 Giants’ pitching staff, leading the club in saves and winning ten of 14 decisions, including a key August start over the front-running Brooklyn Dodgers. The Giants would famously overcome a 13½-game, mid-August deficit to tie Brooklyn on the season’s final day, then defeated the Dodgers for the National League pennant on Bobby Thomson’s historic Game 3 home run.
THE TWENTY-SEVEN SURVIVING MEMBERS OF THE NY GIANTS
■Joey Amalfitano 1954-55 B:1/23/1934
■Johnny Antonelli 1954-57 B: 4/12/1930
■Jackie Brandt 1956 B: 4/28/1934
■Ed Bressoud 1956-57 B: 5/2/1932
■Pete Burnside 1955, 1957 B: 7/2/1930
■Foster Castleman 1954-57 B: 1/1/1931
■Gil Coan 1955 B: 5/18/1922
■Ray Crone 1957 B: 8/7/1931
■Alvin Dark 1950-56 B: 1/7/1922
■Joe Garagiola 1954 B: 2/12/1926
■Billy Gardner 1954-55 B: 7/19/1927
■Harvey Gentry 1954 B: 5/27/1926
■Monte Irvin 1949-55 B: 2/25/1919
■Joe Margoneri 1956-57 B: 1/13/1930
■Willie Mays 1951-52, 1954-57 B: 5/6/1931
■Windy McCall 1954-57 B: 7/18/1925
■Mike McCormick 1956-57 B: 9/28/1938
■Charlie Mead 1943-45 B: 4/29/1921
■Stu Miller 1957 B: 12/26/1927
■Ron Samford 1954 B: 2/28/1930
■Red Schoendienst 1956-57 B: 2/2/1923
■Daryl Spencer 1952-53, 1956-57 B: 7/13/1929
■Wayne Terwilliger 1955-56 B: 6/27/1925
■Ozzie Virgil 1956-57 B: 5/17/1933
■Bill White 1956 B: 1/28/1934
■Al Worthington 1953-54, 1956-57 B: 2/5/1929
■Roy Wright 1956 B: 9/26/1933
Monte Irvin is the oldest living member of the New York Giants (95), while Mike McCormick turns 76 next week and is the youngest.
By: Paul Post
NEW YORK — John Thorn’s memory is quite sharp, especially when it comes to recalling his first big league ballgame, a 1956 contest between the Giants and Dodgers at the Polo Grounds.
That’s why Major League Baseball’s official historian is so pleased by the restoration and reopening of the John T. Brush Stairway, near the once-hallowed ballpark site.
The steps, which begin atop fabled Coogan’s Bluff, above the site where the Polo Grounds stood, are among the last visible reminders of the Giants’ proud legacy in New York, which includes their 1954 World Series championship, 60 years ago this fall, best remembered for Willie Mays’ dramatic Game 1 play known simply as “The Catch.”
“The symbolic value of this project is enormous,” Thorn said. “It connects the fan to a great deal of baseball history even beyond the New York Giants. That ballpark was the palace for fans in New York in the early 20th century. Remember, Yankee Stadium didn’t open until 1923. Ballparks are repositories of memories. That’s where we congregated. Ballparks do it better than any other structure.”
Brush was an early Giants owner who died in 1912. Harry N. Hempstead, Brush’s son-in-law who followed as Giants owner, had the stairway built and presented it to the city during a ceremony on July 9, 1913.
For the next half-century, the stairs carried countless fans from Edgecombe Avenue down to ticket windows behind home plate. However, the Polo Grounds was razed in 1964, one year after the Mets left upper Manhattan for Shea Stadium, their new home in Queens. Continue reading