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Ebbets Field

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Ebbets Field
Ebbets Field
Location 55 Sullivan Place
Brooklyn, New York 11225 (now demolished)
Opened April 9, 1913
Demolished February 23, 1960
Owner Brooklyn Dodgers
Surface Grass
Construction cost $750,000 USD
Architect Clarence Randall Van Buskirk
Brooklyn Dodgers (1913-1957)
Brooklyn Lions (NFL) (1926)
Brooklyn football Dodgers/Tigers (NFL) (1930- 1944)
Brooklyn Dodgers football (AAFC) (1946- 1948)
25,000 (1913); 32,000 (1932)

Ebbets Field was a Major League Baseball park located in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. It was the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League. Two different incarnations of a Brooklyn Dodgers football team also used Ebbets Field as their home stadium.


File:Charles H. Ebbets Sr., owner of Brooklyn Dodgers, circa 1915.jpg

Ebbets Field was on the block bound by Bedford Avenue, Sullivan Place, McKeever Place, and Montgomery Street. Club owner Charlie Ebbets acquired the property over several years, starting in 1908, by buying parcels of land until he owned the entire block.

The park opened on April 9, 1913, replacing the old Washington Park. It was the scene of some early successes, as the "Robins" (so-called for long-time manager Wilbert Robinson) won league championships in 1916 and 1920. Then the team slid into some hard times for a couple of decades, until new ownership brought in first promotional wizard Larry MacPhail (in 1938), then, after MacPhail's wartime resignation, player development genius Branch Rickey (in 1943). In addition to his well-known breaking of the color line by signing Jackie Robinson, Rickey's savvy with farm systems produced results that made the Brooklyn Dodgers "Bums" a perennial contender, which they would continue to be for decades to come.

The Dodgers won pennants in 1941 (under MacPhail), 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956. They won the 1955 World Series (the first and only world title in Brooklyn Dodger history), and were within two games and a playoff heartbreak of winning five NL pennants in a row (1949-53). Ebbets hosted the 1949 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.


The Dodgers were soon victims of their own success, because there were only so many eager fans they could stuff into minuscule Ebbets Field. Club owner Walter O'Malley lobbied for a domed stadium for his Dodgers, but the borough politely declined this opportunity, so O'Malley decided to move the team. During the last two years in Brooklyn, the team played several games each year in Jersey City, New Jersey's Roosevelt Stadium, as part of their tactics to force a new stadium to be built.

The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, California, after the 1957 season, while their long-time crosstown rivals the New York Giants moved to San Francisco. That meant lights out for Ebbets Field, which was demolished on February 23, 1960.



File:Ray Caldwell pitching in the first game at Ebbets Field, April 5, 1913.jpg

Ebbets Field was but one of several historic major league ballparks demolished in the 1960s, but more mythology and nostalgia surrounds the stadium and its demise than possibly any other defunct ballpark. There are a few possible explanations for this:

A great deal of history happened at Ebbets Field during its relatively short 45-year lifespan with the Dodgers. The unique atmosphere could perhaps best be likened to the current ambience of Fenway Park. Of the many teams that uprooted in the 1950s and 60s, the Dodgers have probably had the largest number of public laments over their fans' heartbreak over losing their team. A couple of decades later, Roger Kahn's book The Boys of Summer and Frank Sinatra's song "There Used to Be a Ballpark" mourned the loss of places like Ebbets Field, and of the attendant youthful innocence of fans and players alike. The story of Ebbets Field and the Brooklyn Dodgers' move to Los Angeles were also chronicled by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, figured into the plot of the film Field of Dreams, and were featured in an entire episode of Ken Burns' public-television documentary Baseball.

Ebbets Field is arguably a more popular venue now than when it actually stood. Some fans who did attend games at the stadium remember it as cramped and decrepit towards the end of its life. Baseball historians occasionally point out that although the stadium was no doubt a pleasant place to watch a ballgame, architecturally speaking it was not any more remarkable than several other "lost parks." As a side note, as of 2007 the Dodgers have played in Dodger Stadium for more years (46) than they played in Ebbets Field (45).

However, Ebbets Field has managed to transcend the realm of mere fact to become a kind of icon for what many see as the golden era of the national pastime, and its destruction symbolic of the "lost innocence" of a bygone era. Its influence can be seen in the designs for the new ballpark of the New York Mets, Citi Field, which features replicas of Ebbets' exterior façade and entry rotunda, which is named in honor of Jackie Robinson. It is small consolation to the Brooklyn faithful that their cramped and beloved ballpark became the site of the Ebbets Field Apartments, which were renamed the Jackie Robinson Apartments in 1972, the same year Robinson died.

Soccer at Ebbets FieldEdit

Though known as a cathedral for baseball, other sports were played at Ebbets Field as well. On April 11, 1926, Ebbets Field hosted the US National Challenge Cup soccer tournament (now known as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup). Bethlehem Steel F.C. from Pennsylvania of the American Soccer League won its sixth and final National Challenge Cup title, scoring a convincing 7-2 victory over Ben Miller F.C. of St. Louis in the final before more than 18, 000 fans. On June 7, 1931, over 10,000 fans came out to Ebbets Field to watch Glasgow Celtic of Scotland crush local side Brooklyn Wanderers 5 - 0. On June 17, 1947, the first known televised soccer game in the US took place at Ebbets Field when Hapoel Tel Aviv lost to the American League Stars 2 - 0. On June 18, 1948, Liverpool FC of England beat Djurgårdens IF Fotboll of Sweden 3 - 2 in front of 20,000 fans at Ebbets Field. On October 17 of that year, the U.S. national soccer team beat the Israel national football team team in front of 25,000 at Ebbets Field. On May 8, 1955, Sunderland FC of England beat the American league Stars 7 - 2. On May 17, Sunderland FC tied FC Nürnberg of Germany also at Ebbets. On May 23, 1958, Manchester City of England lost to Hearts of Midlothian of Scotland 5 - 2 in front of 20,000 patrons at Ebbets Field. On June 28, 1959, S.S.C. Napoli of Italy lost to Rapid Vienna of Austria 1 - 0 in front of 18,512. At the rematch, also at Ebbets Field in front of 13,000 people on July 1, Napoli tied Rapid Vienna 1 - 1.

File:Ebbets Field aerial.JPG


Original (estimates)

  • Left field pole - 419 ft
  • Center field deep - 477 ft
  • Right field pole - 301 ft


  • Left field pole - 348 ft (unposted)
  • Left field corner - 357 ft
  • Left-center field - 365 ft
  • Deep left-center - 407 ft
  • Deep right-center bleacher corner - 389 ft (unposted)
  • Deep right-center notch - 395 ft
  • Right-center, scoreboard edges - 344 ft and 318 ft
  • Right field pole - 297 ft


  • Left field pole - 348 ft
  • Left-center field - 351 ft
  • Deep left-center - 393 ft
  • Deep right-center bleacher corner - 376 ft
  • Deep right-center notch - 395 ft
  • Right-center, scoreboard edges - 344 ft and 318 ft
  • Right field pole - 297 ft
  • Backstop - 71 ft

References in literatureEdit

In Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Ebbets Field is mentioned by Willy's wife, Linda, as the place of Biff's game (89 in Penguin Plays ed., 1949). This is immediately mocked by their neighbour, Charley, thereby serving as a symbol of the family's downfall at the hands of modernity and self-delusion. The field is also mentioned in 'The Zodiacs' by Jay Neugeboren, a story about a team in Brooklyn.

The only time I ever saw him excited—-outside of what happened with him and our team—-was when our fathers would take the two of us to games at Ebbets Field.

In "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," by Michael Chabon, some readers are surprised to find the novel's two protagonists attending a Brooklyn Dodgers football game at Ebbets Field.

Some sourcesEdit

  • Green Cathedrals, by Phil Lowry.
  • Ballparks of North America, by Michael Benson.
  • Old Ballparks, by Lawrence Ritter.
  • The Zodiacs, by Jay Neugeboren.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 40°39′51.83″N, 73°57′32.34″W
Preceded by:
Washington Park 18981912
Home of the Brooklyn Dodgers
Succeeded by:
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 19581961
Preceded by:
Sportsman's Park
Host of the All-Star Game
Succeeded by:
Comiskey Park

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