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Relocated MLB Teams: The Brooklyn Dodgers

The Brooklyn Dodgers were an American baseball team that played in the major leagues from 1884 to 1957. The team was started in 1883 as the Brooklyn Grays by Charles Byrne, Joseph Doyle and Ferdinand Abell. Today, the team is known as the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Brooklyn Dodgers hold the distinction of having the most nicknames of any major leagues team. They used names such as the Atlantics, Grays, Bridegrooms, Robins and Superbas and did not officially adopt the name Dodgers until 1933. The name Dodgers is short for Trolley Dodgers, a moniker that arose from Brooklyn’s many fast moving trolley cars which forced pedestrians to keep ‘dodging’ out of the way. During their time in Brooklyn, the dodgers used four stadiums as their home; the Washington Park in 1890, Eastern Park (1891-1897), Washington Park II (1898-1912) and Ebbets Park (1913-1957).

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The Dodgers were a pretty descent team on the pitch, making a total of nine World Series appearances, winning once. In seven of those years, the Dodgers faced the New York Yankees to whom they lost six of them. This became a topic of constant ridicule for Brooklyn who were taunted with the immortal slogan “wait till next year.” Their one world championship, in 1955 came courtesy of a win over the Yankees, seemingly putting their sorrows behind them. They were however back to their familiar woes against the Yankees who pipped them to the 1958 World Championship.

On April 10, 1947 the Dodgers became the first major league baseball team to sign a black player, effectively breaking the race barrier which had kept the league as a preserve for white players. 28 year-old infielder Jackie Robinson was signed from the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League. He braved fierce resistance and even death threats from fans and other players to win Rookie of the Year and MVP. Robinson had prior history of challenging racism. When serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he had faced a court martial for refusing to sit in the back seats of an army coach, usually reserved for black players.

Despite, the multiple tussles with the Yankees in the World Series, the Dodgers’ most fierce rivalry was with another team from across town, the New York Giants. The rivalry began in 1889 when the two faced off in the controversy-ridden World Series which the Giants won by 6 games to 3. Both teams began in the same year and also moved to the west coast together in 1957, and have kept their rivalry alive to this day. Over the course of the duel while in New York, the Giants won 722 games against 671 won by the Dodgers.

Why were the Brooklyn Dodgers Relocated?

During the 1940s and 50s, the Dodgers were enjoying their best spell, winning the NL pennant 7 out 16 years as well as one World Series. Although they split the New York fan base with two other big teams, the Dodgers were able to fill their 32000 seat ballpark regularly. Their president, Walter O’Malley however was concerned with the crumbling Ebbets Park. Brooklyn City officials were however reluctant to build Walter a new stadium and Walter threatened to move the team. Walter put in a request to league owners to move the team to Los Angeles, who had offered to build a new ballpark for the team. The Giants meanwhile were struggling fiscally as they were unable to draw fans like the Dodgers and Yankees and owner Horace Stone man was also interested in a move to San Francisco. The league granted both teams their request to move on condition that they would move together and they had to do so before October 1, 1957. The Dodgers played their last game at Ebbets field on September 24, 1957 after which they embarked on the long journey west to LA and were renamed the Los Angeles Dodgers. The larger city of New York would get some consolation for the loss of two franchises through the arrival of expansion team New York Mets in 1962, but Brooklyn is yet to get over the heartbreak of losing the Dodgers.

Brooklyn Dodgers most Notable Players

Roy Campanella C 1948-1957

Burleigh Grimes RHP 1918-1926

Jackie Robinson 2B 1947-1956

Duke Snider OF 1947-1957

Zack Wheat OF 1909-1926

Dazzy Vance RHP 1922-1932, 1935

Burleigh Grimes RHP 1918-1926

Van Lingle Mungo RHP 1931-1941

Ralph Branca RHP 1944-1953, 1956

John Hummel 1B/OF 1905-1915

Brickyard Kennedy RHP 1892-1901

Jimmy Johnston OF 1916-1925

Dixie Walker RF 1939-1947

Watty Clark LHP 1927–1933

Carl Erskine RHP 1948-1957

Gil Hodges 1943, 1947-1957

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