STEPPING UP: POLO GROUNDS STAIRWAY COMPLETES COMEBACK

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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

THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: SEPTEMBER 8, 1957

SEPTEMBER 8, 1957
Before their departure to play on the West Coast for next season, the Dodgers and Giants face one another for the final time in New York. The Jints beat the Bums at the Polo Grounds, 3-2, to finish the intense 68-year old storied rivalry with a 656-606 advantage over Brooklyn in the battle between the boroughs. (Nationalpastime.com)
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THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: SEPTEMBER 7, 1903 & 1916

SEPTEMBER 7, 1903
A year before the first subway line is completed, the Brooklyn Superbas, later to be known as the Dodgers, play their cross-town rivals in a two-stadium, same-day doubleheader. The first game played in Washington Park begins at 10:30 am with 9,300 fans watching the visiting Giants win the opener, 6-4, and later that afternoon in front of 23,623 patrons at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, Brooklyn wins the second game, 3-0.(Nationalpastime.com)

SEPTEMBER 7, 1916
The Giants defeat the Dodgers 4-1 to start their major league record 26-game winning streak. The ‘Jints’ start the span two games under .500 and make up nine games in the standings, but remains in fourth place during the entire streak. (Nationalpastime.com)
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THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: SEPTEMBER 6, 1912 & 1953

SEPTEMBER 6, 1912
Jeff Tesreau becomes the third rookie to throw a no-hitter. The 24-year old right-hander holds the Phillies hitless in the Giants 3-0 victory in the first game of a twin bill at the Baker Bowl. (Nationalpastime.com)

SEPTEMBER 6, 1953
With Giants manager Leo Durocher yelling “stick it in his ear”, Rubén Gómez hits Carl Furillo, the National League’s leading hitter, on the wrist by a pitch. After taking first base, the Dodgers right fielder bolts into the opposing dugout to choke ‘Leo the Lip’, but in the melee, the knuckle on his little finger is fractured putting an end to his season. (Nationalpastime.com)
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THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: SEPTEMBER 1, 1909 & 1947

SEPTEMBER 1, 1909
Bill O’Hara becomes the first pinch runner to steal two bases in the same inning in the Giants’ 9-6 victory over St. Louis at the Polo Grounds. The Giants’ outfielder, who will swipe 31 bases this season, will duplicate the feat tomorrow off the same team. (Nationalpastime.com)

SEPTEMBER 1, 1947
The Giants break the 1936 Yankees record for the most home runs hit in a season by a team. The three Polo Grounds homers today raise the total to 185 and New York will finish the season with 221 round-trippers. (Nationalpastime.com)
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NYGPS MEETING-OCTOBER 1ST WITH ED LUCAS

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LUCAS FOUNDATION 2

Our final NYGPS Meeting of 2014 will take place on October 1, 2014, at our “home base” the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse with our guest speaker being the incomparable Ed Lucas. Ed has a legendary career in baseball as a sportswriter, broadcaster, and motivational speaker. Ed lost his sight at 12 years of age after viewing the Giants/ Dodgers “Shot Heard ‘Round the World Game. Soon after the game ended, a jubilant Ed went to play baseball with his friends. While delivering a pitch, he was struck right between the eyes and lost his sight forever. This didn’t deter him, as he, with the help of his friend Phil Rizzuto, pursued a career in the game he loved and loves to this day. Ed told me about the friendships he forged with Willie Mays, Bobby Thomson, Monte Irvin, Russ Hodges, Bob Lurie, and others. Hodges in fact bought Ed his first Seeing-Eye dog!! Ed later became the only person to get married at home plate at Yankee Stadium!! Today, his Ed Lucas Foundation offers direct support to individuals who are blind/visually impaired, as well as those with disabilities that are determined to be of financial need. Join us for this most memorable of evening!! Please RSVP ASAP!! Thanks as always to the great Jay Goldberg for “lending” us his beautiful baseball boutique for all of our NYGPS meetings. Here is the link to Jay’s place for the perfect baseball gift!!

http://www.bergino.com/

Here are some great links about Ed and his Foundation:

http://edlucasfoundation.org/

http://www.edlucas.org/video.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Lucas

THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: AUGUST 19, 1957

AUGUST 19, 1957
Citing poor attendance as the reason, Giants’ president Horace Stoneham, ignoring baseball’s edict of banning announcements about relocation of franchises until after the World Series, informs the press the club has signed a lease to play its home games in San Francisco next season. The club’s Board of Directors voted 8-1 approving the shift to the West Coast, with the only dissenting vote cast by M. Donald Grant, who will become the chairman of the Mets, an expansion team located in New York to fill the National League void created by the departure of the Giants and Dodgers to California. (Nationalpastime.com)
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