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

NYGPS MEETING-OCTOBER 1ST WITH ED LUCAS

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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

HISTORIC HARLEM STAIRWAY TO THE POLO GROUNDS IS REBORN THANKS TO DAILY NEWS EDITORIALS

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THE GIANTS, METS, JETS, YANKEES AND BASEBALL GIANTS CHIPPED IN HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO HELP GET IT BUILT
BY FRANK GREEN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 6:32 PM

A legendary flight of stairs has been re-born, thanks to a years-long campaign spearheaded by the Daily News.
The baseball and football Giants joined the Yankees, Mets, Jets and Major League Baseball, along with former Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, now the city controller, to contribute a combined $950,000 to fix the long-decayed John T. Brush Stairway in Highbridge Park.
For 50 years, the stairs carried fans of the five city sports teams to and from the Polo Grounds in Harlem, until they finally rusted away in the years following the stadium’s demolition, in 1964.
Brush was the owner of the Giants baseball team from 1890 until his death in 1912, the year before the team opened the staircase.

Now, 101 years after the New York baseball Giants built and donated them to the city, the stairs are open again to carry people 80 steps from Coogan’s Bluff on Edgecombe Ave. down to the Harlem River Driveway.

Melody Williams, 48, who grew up in the Polo Grounds housing development where the old horseshoe used to stand, was excited about the new construction, which includes fresh landscaping and several new tables at the stairway’s base.
“I might go take a picnic, you never know,” said Christian Lloyd Joseph, 41, a boxer who lives in the neighborhood. “It makes it way easier,” he added of navigating the famously hilly neighborhood.
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NYGPS MEETING WITH BILL MADDEN-6/17 REVIEW

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A great night was had by all as Hall of Fame Baseball scribe Bill Madden spoke in length about his book 1954 at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in lower Manhattan. Mr. Madden discussed in length the 1954 Giants with baseball integration at the heart of the book. He mentioned that no book had been written about that season and he was spurred on to write it by his good friend Terry Cashman who is of course the singer/songwriter who penned the baseball classics Talkin’ Baseball and The Catch among others.
Mr. Madden told the audience that he gathered much of his material by speaking to mostly Monte Irvin and Al Rosen. He also spoke in length to Willie Mays and Dusty Rhodes. Mr. Madden then signed his book for many of the NYGPS members in attendance. A Photo Album is available on our Yahoo Page. Here is the link to last nights podcast. A great listen!!

http://berginobaseballclubhouse.podbean.com/e/ny-giants-preservation-society-presents-1954-with-bill-madden/

Thanks go out to Bill Madden and his wife Lillian for making the evening so special. Also a shout out t our most gracious host Jay Goldberg, owner of the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse. If you need any baseball gifts for upcoming graduation gifts, Jay is the guy to contact.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY- AN ODE TO A REAL GIANT (REVISED) 2014

MY DAD         
My dad was Louis Mintz.  Family man, librarian at the NY Public Library for over 40 years, father, Giants Fan.  Not a day goes by when I don’t think of him.  He was always upbeat with an infectious smile that stayed with him even as cancer ravaged his body.  Nobody ever said a bad word about him, the testament to his greatness.  He loved my mom, loved his 3 boys, and worshipped the ground of his 3 granddaughters (his girlies, my daughters) and his grandson.
          Then there were the Giants.  His love of the NY Giants somehow continued when the orange and black moved to San Francisco.  I, wanting to be like him, started following the SF Giants in 1969.  Up until 2010, I claimed it was the only wrong thing my father ever did.  That all changed of course when Nelson Cruz swung and missed on a Brian Wilson pitch on November 1, 2010.  It was the most compelling moment of my sports life as a fan.  Forty-two years I waited, forty-two years!!  In one night, all the hurt and pain was suddenly gone.  Then viola!! The Giants stun the baseball world by winning it all again in 2012. Two World Championships in 3 years!! UNBELIEVABLE!! My only remorse is that “Sweet Lou” wasn’t around to savor it with me as he passed in 2003.  I wish we could have talked about it, laughed about it and reminisced about it.  When the World Series Trophy Tour stopped in Manhattan in January 2011 & again in January 2013, he surely would have treasured the moments as I did with my wife and my daughters.  To think he would have met and shook hands with his idol Willie Mays.  What a story that would have been!!
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NYGPS MEETING WITH BILL MADDEN-JUNE 17

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Our July NYGPS Meeting has been moved up to June 17, as we are proud to present Bill Madden as our guest speaker. For more than 30 years Bill has covered the Yankees and Major League Baseball for the New York Daily News. The author of several books about the Yankees, Madden is also the 2010 recipient of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award. Here is his speech at the Hall of Fame

http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/6003532/v10264409/bill-madden-receives-the-2010-jg-taylor-spink-award

Mr. Madden will be discussing his new book 1954, The Year Willie Mays and the First Generation of Black. The book will be available for purchase and autographing. If you already own the book Mr. Madden will gladly sign it as well. Here is the Amazon blurb:

Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Bill Madden delivers the first major book to fully examine the 1954 baseball season, drawn largely from exclusive recent interviews with the major players themselves, including Mays and Doby as well as New York baseball legends from that era: Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford of the Yankees, Monte Irvin of the Giants, and Carl Erskine of the Dodgers. 1954 transports readers across the baseball landscape of the time—from the spring training camps in Florida and Arizona to baseball cities including New York, Baltimore, Chicago, and Cleveland—as future superstars such as Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, and others entered the leagues and continued to integrate the sport.

Weaving together the narrative of one of baseball’s greatest seasons with the racially charged events of that year, 1954 demonstrates how our national pastime—with the notable exception of the Yankees, who represented “white supremacy” in the game—was actually ahead of the curve in terms of the acceptance of black Americans, while the nation at large continued to struggle with tolerance.

Please RSVP to me ASAP and by May 31st. This should be a wonderful evening at our “home base” the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse at 67 East 11st Street in Greenwich Village at 6:30PM. Thanks as always to Jay Goldberg, the owner of this terrific baseball boutique. Any questions feel free to contact me. GO GIANTS!!!-Gary

MARIO PICONE NY GIANTS PITCHER PASSES AWAY

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TWENTY-EIGHT MEMBERS OF THE NY GIANTS REMAIN

From Wikipedia: Died 6 months ago but just reported

See Dee Jay Primetime’s Post

Mario Peter Picone (July 5, 1926 – October 13, 2013) [Babe] was an A…merican pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Giants and the Cincinnati Redlegs in part of three seasons spanning 1947–1954.

Listed at 5′ 11″, 180 lb., Picone batted and threw right handed. He was born in Brooklyn, New York.

In a 13-game career, Picone posted a 0-2 record and a 6.30 ERA in 13 pitching appearances, including three starts, allowing 28 earned runs on 43 hits and 25 walks, while striking out 11 in 40 innings of work.

Two of his starting assignments accounted for the two losses on his MLB résumé. On September 27, 1952, he opened for the Giants and lasted eight innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing six runs (five earned), in a 7–3 defeat at the Polo Grounds.[1]

Then, on June 13, 1954, in his first appearance for Cincinnati, he faced his hometown Brooklyn Dodgers at Crosley Field and lasted only 4⅓ innings, giving up five earned runs, including home runs by Duke Snider and Jim Gilliam.[2] Brooklyn eventually won, 14–2.

He also spent 13 seasons in the Minor leagues, playing from 1944 through 1956 for 11 different clubs. His most productive season came in 1952, when he combined a record of 21-8 with a 2.94 for Sioux City and Minneapolis. Besides, he won 19 games in 1945 and amassed four seasons with at least 14 wins.

Overall, he went 129-98 with a 3.95 ERA in 186 pitching appearances (82 starts) over 1975.0 innings.[3]

Picone died in October 13, 2013 in Brooklyn at the age of .87. His death was reported six months later.
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1954 WEEKEND WITHE THE GIANTS-STEVE ROTHSCHILD

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Shortly after my arrival into SFO Airport I went to meet Sue Peterson who does fund raising for the youth in the Bay Area.
My Sports Interest Group at Sun City Grand in Surprise, Arizona raised $940 for the cause this past holiday season.
She and I had previously spoken but never met each other.
The half hour we spent was most enjoyable and she again thanked me for my efforts.

After that meeting I was given a private tour of the new Gotham Club at ATT Park on the Suite Level by Ryann Greenberg.
She is in charge of the club and recruiting members.
The two bowling alleys, pool table, and décor with NY Giants Memorabilia is amazing. There were numerous photos I had never seen before among other things.
The 1883 Theme is all over the place including the wine glasses..

I also spent time with a big time Giants Fan and supporter Annina Puccio. She is an amazing lady and we compared collectibles.

The three games were a repeat of 1954 as we swept the Tribe !
Saturday was the ring day and the Giants gave out 30,000 1954 replicas…..Amazing piece of jewelry for sure.
Saturday Night I met the grand niece and also the nephew of James DOC Crandall, a NY Giants relief pitcher from the early 1900s
We all had a great schmooze.

Sunday I again ran into Ryann Greenberg who took me to the bullpen portion of the Gotham Club.
and then the three run walk off homer by Brandon Hicks to sweep the series.

NYGPS MEETING-APRIL 10 REVIEW & PODCAST

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A great night was had by all as Helane & Jeffrey Rhodes discussed their father’s Dusty Rhodes’ baseball career and life before a SRO crowd at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in lower Manhattan. Helane provided us with a moving tribute to her dad and then she and Jeff held a 30 minute Q/A with members of the society. Jeff provided many insights to his dad and brought along many souvenirs of his father’s playing career including his NY Giants jacket.

The evening was capped off by NYGPS member Moe Resner showing the group his End of an Era DVD which he filmed as a youngster. The film is of the last game the Giants played as the NY Giants on September 29, 1957. The quality is exceptional!! Moe explained how he made the film and then answered many questions.

Thanks go out to the entire Rhodes Family including Dusty’s grandchildren and wife, Mimi, who were also in attendance, Jeffrey and Helane Rhodes, Moe Resner, and our most gracious host Jay Goldberg, owner of the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse. If any basbeall gifts are need for the upcoming holidays, Jay is the guy to contact.

Here is the podcast from our recent meeting with guest speakers Helane & Jeffrey Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes’ children, and NYGPS member Moe Resner. Enjoy!! Thanks always to Jay Goldberg, owner of the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse.

http://berginobaseballclubhouse.podbean.com/2014/04/14/ny-giants-preservation-society-event-with-the-children-of-dusty-rhodes/