New York, New York: Baseball in the Big Apple

  • The Making of Legends By Francis Kinlaw

    A poetic tribute to baseball in New York City.

  • New York's First Base Ball Club By John Thorn

    While the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club was the most enduringly influential of the clubs that sprang up prior to the Civil War, it was not the first to play the game, or the first to be organized, or the first to play a “match game,” or the first to play by written rules. If the Knickerbockers were not the first to play what we call the "New York Game," what clubs preceded them?

  • Captain John Wildey, Tammany Hall, and the Rise of Professional Baseball By Mark Souder

    An extraordinary linkage of professional baseball and Tammany Hall began with the rise of both baseball and Tammany prior to the Civil War. Fireman John Wildey was the point person for the Mutuals baseball team and aided Boss Tweed’s rise to political power. Wildey was the first and last President of the National Association of Base Ball Players, the organization that represents the major turning point in the official professionalization of baseball.

  • The Starring Tours of 1875: The “Amateurs” Tours, Tournaments and Regional Rivalries By Paul Browne

    The Excelsior club of Brooklyn toured Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland in 1860, only two years after the formation of the National Association of Base Ball Players. Tours by ostensibly amateur clubs from the New York City area began to increase after the 1860 Excelsior trip. Creeping professionalism was an almost natural outgrowth of these developments. The division between professional and amateur clubs was not resolved with the 1871 formation of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players.

  • Women’s Baseball in Nineteenth-Century New York and the Man Who Set Back Women’s Professional Baseball for Decades By Debra A. Shattuck

    New Yorkers love baseball. Their passion for the national game (and its bat-and-ball precursors) can be traced back into the earliest decades of the nineteenth century. Boys and men weren’t the only ones reveling in the excitement; girls and women were playing too — in cities large and small and in villages scattered across the rolling hills of upstate and western New York.

  • The First and Last Games at the Polo Groundses By Stew Thornley

    Examining the life span of a baseball stadium by profiling its first and last games is an interesting exercise—even more interesting when it becomes a number of different stadiums. This is the case with the Polo Groundses, four or five—depending on how one counts them—samely-named stadiums. Taking a look at ten different games over an 80-year span tells more than just the hits and errors in a particular game; it traces the history of baseball in America’s largest city.

  • The Asylum Base Ball Club: The Great Reunion Game, September 29, 1905 By Bob Mayer

    The rise of the Asylum Base Ball Club in upstate New York and its outstanding success is the story of an unlikely relationship between a hospital chartered to treat the mentally ill and a group of talented young men—some of whom would go on to careers in the major leagues, including Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Chesbro.

  • 'A Foremost Part in the Work of Relieving Distress': When the Giants and Yankees Offered a Lifeline to the Titanic’s Survivors By Dan VanDeMortel

    The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 clings to American memory, slicing across all demographic divides. New York was the epicenter of catharsis, and the place baseball played an unexpected role in alleviating suffering.

  • Wilbert Robinson and the 1920 Brooklyn Robins By Gordon J. Gattie

    The Brooklyn Robins reached the World Series for the third time as a National League franchise, under manager Wilbert “Uncle Robbie” Robinson during the 1920 season.

  • Graham McNamee: Broadcast Pioneer By Cort Vitty

    In 1923, Graham McNamee was an unemployed opera singer who took a job at a radio station in New York. Months later, he was calling the World Series and becoming America's first star broadcaster. In 2016, he was selected as the Ford C. Frick Award recipient by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

  • The Day Babe Ruth Came to Sing Sing By Gary Sarnoff

    On September 5, 1929, Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees played an exhibition game against the Mutual Welfare League team inside the walls of Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York.

  • Roosevelt Stadium: The Forgotten Ballpark By David Krell

    Ebbets Field is remembered as a shrine of love for baseball, Yankee Stadium is revered as an example of grandeur, and the Polo Grounds is honored as the home of a baseball reinvention led by John McGraw. Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium, a jewel of a ballpark boasting a 25,000 capacity within a Ruthian home run of Newark Bay, goes largely unrecognized for its contributions, including being the site of Jackie Robinson’s first regular season game in Organized Baseball.

  • From Mexico to Quebec: Baseball’s Forgotten Giants By Bill Young

    In 1946, 22 major leaguers — 11 of whom were under contract to either the New York Giants or the Brooklyn Dodgers — bolted to Mexico in search of greener (baseball) fields. This article looks at the fate and fortunes of eight members from the 1945 Giants who left their New York counterparts to suit up with one of six teams in the Mexican League.

  • Bats, Balls, Boys, Dreams and Unforgettable Experiences: Youth All-Star Games in New York, 1944–65 By Alan Cohen

    More than 1 million American boys participated in newspaper-sponsored high school baseball all-star games like the Hearst Sandlot Classic beginning in the 1940s. Over 100 of the young men from these games made their way to the major leagues, including Whitey Ford, Al Kaline, Ron Santo, and Joe Torre.

  • The Remaking of Casey Stengel By Marty Appel

    Until the Dodgers and Giants come to their senses and return home to New York, Casey Stengel remains the only figure in history to have worn the uniform of these four New York City teams: the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, and Mets.

  • Brooklyn, The Dodgers … and The Movies By Rob Edelman

    As major league ballyards across America were celebrating the 2013 baseball season’s Opening Day, a high-profile new film about a deceased player from a bygone team came to movie theaters. That film was 42 — a biopic charting the life and legend of Jackie Robinson of the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. But not all Brooklyn-centric baseball films highlight Jackie Robinson, or even the Dodgers.

  • Remembering Earl—Not George—Toolson: The Plaintiff Who Took the New York Yankees to the US Supreme Court By Ed Edmonds

    In 1953, the United States Supreme Court issued a one paragraph opinion in Toolson v. New York Yankees, Inc.1 The decision affirmed three lower federal court decisions that turned aside lawsuits challenging the Court’s 1922 ruling regarding the application of the nation’s antitrust laws to Organized Baseball. The life and baseball career of the plaintiff at the heart of the 1953 Toolson case is largely unknown.

  • The Dodgers–Giants Rivalry During 'The Era': The Dark-Robinson Incident By John J. Burbridge Jr. and John R. Harris

    Between 1947 and 1957, the New York Yankees won nine AL pennants and seven World Series, the Brooklyn Dodgers won six NL pennants and one world championship, and the New York Giants won two NL pennants and one World Series. While this success certainly contributed to “The Era,” another major factor was the intensity of the rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants. Perhaps no rivalry in the history of baseball created the level of ill feeling towards the opposing team as that between Giants and Dodgers fans and players, feelings which peaked during “The Era.”

  • Joan Whitney Payson: A Pioneer for the New York Mets By Leslie Heaphy

    In late May 1957, the National League owners voted unanimously to allow both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants to move out west, leaving a hole in the hearts of New York fans and in the market. A unique result came about when the winning group included Joan Whitney Payson among its shareholders. Mrs. Payson became the first female owner of a major league ball club who did not inherit a team but used her own money to buy the club.

  • The Turbulent ’70s: Steinbrenner, the Stadium, and the 1970s Scene By Tony Morante

    In the 1970s, Yankee Stadium was on its way to becoming the mecca for outdoor events in the United States, but five decades of wear and tear since Babe Ruth's heyday was taking a toll on the structure — and New York City. The author, an employee of the Yankees since 1958, shares his memories of that turbulent decade.

  • A Hall of Fame Cup of Coffee in New York By Steven Glassman

    New York City’s major-league teams have a storied history but how many Hall of Famers had “cups of coffee” of this type with the Yankees, Mets, Giants, or Dodgers?

  • Los Cubanos in New York’s October By Reynaldo Cruz Diaz

    Playing in the postseason is high stress and tension-packed, bringing ballplayers to the edge, making them play harder and sometimes better, sometimes making mistakes along the way. When the players come from small towns in the long-isolated island of Cuba and find themselves in crucial baseball games played in the Big Apple, the pressure is further magnified.