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John R. Nordell, Jr.
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Brooklyn's Last Pennant Surge|
Fifty years after they played their last baseball game, the Brooklyn Dodgers are still remembered by millions of people. The Dodgers had some of the best players in the major leagues during the postwar era and their crosstown rivalries with the New York Giants and the New York Yankees are the stuff of baseball legend. From 1947 to 1956 the Dodgers captured six out of ten National League pennants and they defeated the mighty Yankees in the 1955 World Series. The year 1957, however, is recalled mainly for the decision by Dodger president Walter O’Malley to move his team to Los Angeles the following year.
Long-time Dodger greats Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, and Roy Campanella were still playing in 1957 as were such famous opponents as Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Warren Spahn. “To this day,” writes Nordell, “no baseball summer is as memorable for me as that July when the Dodgers began a winning streak in a suddenly torrid, topsy-turvy National League pennant race.” Amid growing signs of a Dodger move west, Brooklyn fans had reason to hope for one more pennant.
From his research in a variety of sources, including the library at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, the New York Public Library, audio recordings of Dodger games, and numerous magazines and newspapers, Nordell recreates the excitement of following the Dodgers and their National League rivals in the daily drama of a five-team pennant race. He also draws on his own youthful memories of that year and describes the unforgettable thrill of seeing his first baseball game at Ebbets Field.