Today marks a historical day in New York sports history. 53 years ago today, the Brooklyn Dodgers played its final game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY. That Fall, the Dodgers would pack up and move across the country to Los Angeles, abandoning its home. The move came only two years after winning the World Championship.
It was on April 9th, 1913 that Ebbets Field officially opened. The stadium was named after the team’s original club owner, Charlie Ebbets. The stadium’s first game was a match between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Dodgers would open up Ebbets Field on a sour note by losing to the Phils 0-1. Over the next 44 years, the Brooklyn Dodgers would win 7 pennants (including 4 in 5 years from ’52 to ’56) and 1 World Championship at Ebbets Field. The ballpark would also host the MLB All-Star Game in 1949. However, with the team’s success in the early 50s, the Dodgers’ fan base was quickly out growing Ebbets Fields.
The Dodgers’ club owner, Walter O’Malley, was eager to find a new home for his club in Brooklyn. He quickly found one in Atlantic Yards on the site of an old market. This new land would have enough room for an expanded stadium and additional parking. When O’Malley approached the city about the move, he ran into some opposition. The New York Building Commissioner, Robert Moses, wanted to move the team to Queens instead of keeping it in Brooklyn. O’Malley refused and Moses followed suit. When neither man backed down, O’Malley began publicly shopping his team to other cities. Los Angeles quickly emerged as the favorite and before the end of the 1957 season, O’Malley committed to moving the franchise to Los Angeles for the start of the 1958 season. To add insult to injury, O’Malley even convinced the owner of the New York Giants to move his team to San Francisco in an effort to keep the rivalry going.
On September 24th, 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers faced off against the Pittsburgh Pirates for the final game at Ebbets Field. The Dodgers would win 2-0 in front of 6,700 fans on a five-hitter performance from Danny McDevitt. Ebbets Field would be torn down roughly 2 years later.