way back when...........with edward mckeever on opening day, 1913
way back when...........with edward mckeever on opening day, 1913
Great shots, pete!
One thing...I guess no one who took that group of photos knew how to spell EBBETS....and it drives me nuts when anyone misspells EBBETS!
the ol' redhead
sittin' in the catbird's seat
pee wee, burt, and red........
Red BarberWalter Lanier "Red" Barber (February 17, 1908, Columbus, Mississippi – October 22, 1992) was an American sportscaster.
Barber, nicknamed "The Ol' Redhead", was primarily identified with radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball, calling play-by-play across four decades with the Cincinnati Reds (1934-3, Brooklyn Dodgers (1939-1953), and New York Yankees (1954-1966). Like his fellow sports pioneer Mel Allen, Barber also gained a niche calling college and professional football in his primary market of New York City.
Barber grew up in Mississippi, and was a distant relative of poet Sidney Lanier and writer Thomas Lanier Williams. He got his start in broadcasting in the 1920s while studying English education at the University of Florida. He filled in for an absent reporter on WRUF, the university's radio station, and read a scholarly paper on the air. After those few moments in front of a microphone, Barber decided to switch careers. The radio station hired him as a full-time employee in 1930, and during his tenure he announced Florida football games. Barber promptly dropped out of school to focus on his radio work. He held his position at WRUF for the next four years, eventually landing a job with the Reds.
On Opening Day in 1934, Barber broadcast his first play-by-play for a major league game, as the Reds lost to the Chicago Cubs 6-0. It was also the first major league game Barber had ever seen in person. He called games from the stands of Cincinnati's newly-named Crosley Field for the next four seasons.
Red Barber at Ebbets Field
Barber had been hired by Larry MacPhail, then president of the Reds. When MacPhail moved on to become President of the Dodgers in 1938, he took Barber with him.
At Brooklyn, Barber became an institution, widely admired for his folksy style of play-by-play. He was also well respected among people concerned about Brooklyn's reputation as a land of "dees" and "dems."
Barber was well known for his signature catchphrases, which included:
"They're tearin' up the pea patch" -- used for a team on a winning streak.
"The bases are F.O.B. (full of Brooklyns)" -- indicating the Dodgers had loaded the bases.
"Can of corn" -- describing a softly hit, easily caught fly ball.
"Rhubarb" -- any kind of heated on-field dispute or altercation.
"(Sittin' in) the catbird seat" -- used when a player or team was performing exceptionally well. This expression was the title of a well-known story by James Thurber. According to a character in Thurber's story, the expression came from Red Barber. But according to Barber's daughter, her father did not begin using the expression until after he had read the story.
"(Walkin' in) the tall cotton" -- also used to describe success.
To further his "Southern gentleman" image, Barber would often identify players as "Mister," "Big Fella" or "Old" (regardless of the player's age):
"Now, Mister Reiser steps to the plate, batting at .344."
"Big fella Hatten pitches, it's in there for strike one."
"Old number 13, Ralph Branca, coming in to pitch."
A number of play-by-play announcers, including Chris Berman, picked up on his use of "back, back, back" to describe a long fly ball with potential to be a home run. Oddly, those other announcers are describing the flight of the ball, whereas Barber was describing the outfielder, in this famous call from the 1947 World Series with Joe DiMaggio at bat:
"Here's the pitch, swung on, belted... it's a long one... back goes Gionfriddo, back, back, back, back, back, back... heeee makes a one-handed catch against the bullpen! Oh, Doctor!"
The "Oh, Doctor" phrase was also picked up by some latter-day sportscasters, most notably Jerry Coleman, who was a New York Yankees infielder during the 1940s and 50s and later worked alongside Barber in the Yankees radio and TV booths.
In 1939, Barber broadcast the first major-league game on television. He later added to his Brooklyn duties a job as sports director of the CBS Radio Network, succeeding Ted Husing, and called college football and other events. For most of his run with the Dodgers, the team was broadcast over radio station WHN at 1050 on the AM dial. From the start of regular television broadcasts until their move to Los Angeles, the Dodgers were on WOR-TV, New York's Channel 9. Barber's most frequent broadcasting partner in Brooklyn was Connie Desmond.
In 1948, Barber developed a severe bleeding ulcer and had to take a leave of absence from broadcasting. Dodgers president Branch Rickey arranged for Ernie Harwell, the announcer for the minor-league Atlanta Crackers, to be sent to Brooklyn as Barber's substitute in exchange for catcher Cliff Dapper.
While running CBS Sports, he became the mentor of another redheaded announcer -- a young Vin Scully -- recruiting the Fordham University graduate for CBS's football coverage, and eventually inviting him into the Dodgers' broadcast booth to succeed Harwell in 1950 (after the latter's departure for the crosstown New York Giants).
Barber was the first person, outside of the team's board of directors, to be told by Branch Rickey that the Dodgers had begun the process of racial desegregation in baseball, a process that led to the signing of Jackie Robinson as the first black player in major league baseball since the 1880s. As a Southerner, living with segregation as a fact of life written into law, Barber told Rickey that he wasn't sure he could broadcast the games, but said he would try. Observing Robinson's skill on the field and the way Robinson held up to the vicious abuse from opposing fans, Barber became an ardent supporter of Robinson and the black players who followed him, including Dodger stars Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. (This story is told in Barber's 1982 book 1947: When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball.)
New York Yankees
Barber was determined to be a fair broadcaster, and not a "homer" who would seem to be cheering for his employer. By the end of the 1953 season, with Walter O'Malley having a controlling interest in Dodger ownership, Barber was pressured to become more of a homer. According to the baseball-broadcasting historian Curt Smith, however, Barber resigned from the Dodgers because O'Malley refused to back Barber in his demand that the Gillette Company pay him a higher fee for telecasting the 1953 World Series (which Gillette was sponsoring). Barber declined Gillette's fee and was replaced on the series telecasts by Vin Scully, who partnered with Mel Allen. Soon afterward, Barber was hired by the crosstown Yankees. Just before the start of the 1954 season, surgery resulted in permanent deafness in one ear.
With the Yankees, Barber increasingly strove to adopt a strictly neutral, dispassionately reportorial broadcast style, avoiding not only partisanship but also any emotional surges that would match the excitement of the fans. Some fans and critics found this later, more restrained Barber to be dull, especially incontrast to the more dramatic, emotive delivery of his famous Yankee colleague, Mel Allen. Nevertheless, both he and the occasionally partisan Allen both eschewed the rank homerism of former Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto, who joined the Yankee broadcast team in 1957.
Barber described one of the central differences between himself and Allen as how they described potential home runs. Allen would watch the ball, resulting in his signature call of "That ball is going, going, it is GONE!" sometimes turning into, "It is going . . . to be caught!" or "It is going . . . foul!" Barber would watch the outfielder, his movements and his eyes, and would thus have a better idea of whether the ball would be caught. This is evident in his famous call of the Gionfriddo catch. Many announcers say "back, back, back" describing the ball's flight. It is clear from the Gionfriddo call that Barber is describing the action of the outfielder, not the ball. Curt Smith, author of Voices of Summer, summarized the difference between Barber and Allen in these words: "Barber was white wine, crepes suzette, and bluegrass music. Allen was hot dogs, beer, and the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Like Millay, Barber was a poet. Like Sinatra, Allen was a balladeer. Detached, Red reported. Involved, Mel roared."
On September 22, 1966, in a season in which the Yankees finished in tenth and last place under the ownership of CBS Corporation, their first time at the bottom of the standings since 1912 and after more than 40 years of dominating the American League, a paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium. Barber asked the TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees' head of media relations, he said, "I don't know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game."
By a horrible stroke of luck, that game was the first for CBS executive Mike Burke as team president. A week later, Barber was invited to breakfast, where Burke told him that his contract wouldn't be renewed.
Red at his Tallahassee home.After his dismissal by the Yankees in 1966, Barber retired from baseball broadcasting. He wrote several books, including his autobiography, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat; contributed to occasional sports documentary programs on radio and television; and from 1981 until his death made weekly contributions to National Public Radio's Morning Edition program. He would talk to host Bob Edwards about sports or other topics, including the flora at Barber's home in Tallahassee, Florida. Barber would call Edwards "Colonel Bob", referring to Edwards' Kentucky Colonel award from his native state. Red Barber died in 1992 in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1993, Edwards' book Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship (ISBN 0-671-87013-0) was published, based on his Morning Edition segments with Red Barber.
In 1978, Barber joined former colleague Mel Allen to become the first broadcasters to receive the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1979, he was recognized with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Florida, given a Gold Award by the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.
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Hardworking and ambitious, Charles Ebbets worked for the Brooklyn baseball club for 42 years, serving at various times as ticket seller, clerk, bookkeeper, scorecard salesman, business manager, president, field manager, part owner, and eventually owner. Though often criticized for his miserliness, the good-natured owner was generally popular with the fans, and deservedly so; he incurred huge personal debt to purchase the team and keep it in Brooklyn when a move to Baltimore threatened, and he did it again a decade later to give the fans a state-of-the-art ballpark in an era when public financing of such a facility was unthinkable. Today Ebbets is best remembered for Ebbets Field, which opened in 1913 and was razed in 1960, three years after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. His name lives on in the 21st century primarily because of the current trend towards retro-style ballparks-every city wants its new stadium to be an "Ebbets Field-style" ballpark.
Charles Hercules Ebbets was born in New York City on October 29, 1859, and attended the city's public schools. Baseball was his favorite sport even though he was a much better bowler than baseball player. Initially pursuing a career in architecture, Charlie was a draughtsman on several prominent projects, including the Metropolitan Hotel and Niblo's Garden, a famed New York amusement center. He also tried his hand at publishing, printing cheap editions of novels and textbooks and selling them from door to door himself. Active in local politics, Ebbets served four years on the Board of Aldermen and one in the New York Assembly before an unsuccessful campaign for the New York Senate convinced him to devote his considerable talents to the business of baseball.
Charlie was 23 years old when he started working for the Brooklyn baseball club as clerk, bookkeeper, and scorecard salesman during its inaugural season in the Interstate League in 1883, and his ascent in the Dodgers organization dovetailed with the history of the borough. He joined the club two weeks before the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, the engineering feat of its day but also the death knell for Brooklyn as an independent city. Charlie remained with the team as it moved to the American Association in 1884 and the National League in 1890, ascending to its presidency when his predecessor in that office, Charles Byrne, died three days after Brooklyn was incorporated into New York City in 1898. Later that season Ebbets even tried his hand as field manager, sitting on the bench in the club president's traditional top hat and compiling a 38-68 record. Ned Hanlon replaced him as manager the following season.
Having acquired his first shares of stock in the team from George Chauncey some 12 years earlier, Ebbets invested his life's savings in 1902 to buy out Ferdinand Abell, one of the club's original owners. Shortly thereafter the majority owner, Harry von der Horst, put his entire Brooklyn stock interest up for sale, and Hanlon expressed his desire to buy the team and move it to Baltimore. Tapped out but desperate to keep the team in Brooklyn, Ebbets obtained a loan from his friend Henry W. Medicus, a Brooklyn furniture dealer, and purchased the outstanding shares. Now in control of virtually all of the club's stock-he bought the remnants from Hanlon several years later-Charlie re-elected himself as president (with a raise in salary from $7,500 to $10,000) and elected Medicus and his son Charles H. Ebbets, Jr., as treasurer and secretary, respectively.
With his background in architecture, Ebbets dreamed of constructing a magnificent concrete-and-steel baseball palace to replace outmoded Washington Park. After considering several potential sites, he finally settled on a 4.5-acre plot that was being used mostly as a garbage dump on the edge of a disreputable neighborhood called Pigtown. Located between the Bedford and Flatbush sections of Brooklyn, the land had two primary benefits: it was affordable and adjacent to the tracks of nine separate trolley lines. Without revealing his intentions, which would have driven up the price significantly, Ebbets set about acquiring the land parcel by parcel, making his first purchase in September 1908. Operating his club frugally and borrowing heavily from the bank, he eventually bought the final parcel on December 29, 1911.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on March 4, 1912, when asked what he would name the new ballpark, Ebbets' initial reaction was to continue the name Washington Park. "Washington Park, hell," said Len Wooster of the Brooklyn Times. "That name wouldn't mean anything out here. Why don't you call it Ebbets Field? It was your idea and nobody else's, and you've put yourself in hock to build it. It's going to be your monument, whether you like to think about it that way or not." With its proper name decided, construction on Ebbets Field continued throughout the 1912 season, and Charlie Ebbets wielded the trowel at the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone on July 6. That August Ebbets solved his financial problems by taking on the builders, his old friends the McKeever brothers, as half partners in the club.
With a seating capacity of 25,000 and a final price tag of $750,000, Brooklyn's gorgeous new ballpark officially opened on April 9, 1913. The exterior featured a curved brick façade at the corner of Sullivan and Cedar streets highlighted by classical arched windows. Inside the main entrance was an ornate lobby with a domed ceiling that stood 27 feet high at its center. The terrazzo floor was tiled like the stitches of a baseball, and a chandelier with 12 baseball-bat arms holding 12 baseball-shaped globes hung from the ceiling. The double-tiered stands ran along the foul lines from the right-field corner to a bit beyond third base, where a single double-deck bleacher section extended to the left-field corner. At the time the park's dimensions were 419 feet to left field, 476 to dead center, 500 to right center, but, because of Bedford Avenue, only 301 feet to right field. Ebbets installed two long benches at the back of the lower tier of the grandstand, one for himself and his friends and the other for the McKeevers and their friends. After Brooklyn victories the owners smilingly received the congratulations of their customers; after losses Ebbets and Steve McKeever, the older and more outgoing of the brothers, often engaged the fans in good-natured debates, loudly defending themselves and their players.
Over the years Ebbets received credit for several baseball innovations, including the rain check and the idea that teams should draft in inverse order to their final standings in the annual minor-league draft. He was also an early proponent of uniform numbers. During an exhibition game in Memphis on March 28, 1917, the previous year's World Series combatants, Brooklyn and the Boston Red Sox, wore numbers on their sleeves because Ebbets thought that fans in non-major league cities would be unfamiliar with the players. He proposed that all teams be required to put numbers on players' sleeves or caps at the NL meeting on December 13, 1922, but the league voted to leave it to the discretion of the individual teams. The practice of putting numbers on uniforms didn't catch on until after the New York Yankees wore large numbers on their backs in 1929.
Ebbets purchased a home in Clearwater during the Florida land boom. In 1923 he moved the Dodgers' training camp to that small town on Florida's west coast, and over the next several years so many Brooklyn fans attended spring training that the tiny Clearwater ballpark took on many of the sights and sounds of Ebbets Field. Late in the 1923 season Ebbets began to suffer heart difficulties. On the advice of his doctor he returned to Clearwater and contemplated selling his stock in the Brooklyn team. In the spring of 1925, shortly after coming north from spring training, Ebbets fell ill again and his doctor ordered him to the suite at the Waldorf-Astoria where he lived during the season. Early on the morning of April 18, 1925, 66-year-old Charles Ebbets died with his sister, his son, two daughters, and his second wife at his bedside. He left behind an estate valued at nearly $1.28 million.
The Dodgers were scheduled to open a three-game series against the Giants at Ebbets Field later that day. "Charlie wouldn't want anybody to miss a Giant-Brooklyn series just because he died," said Wilbert Robinson. The game went on, with the crowd standing for a moment of silence beforehand and both teams' players wearing black mourning bands on the left sleeves of their uniforms. NL president John Heydler ordered all NL games postponed on the day of the funeral, which was attended by most of the league's magnates. A penetrating wind swept the gravesite at Greenwood Cemetery, and Ed McKeever, Brooklyn's acting president, contracted pneumonia. He too died within a week of the funeral.
While puttering around the Internet, I ran across the name of Ebbets Field's owner, Kratter Corporation, and became curious about this company and the man behind it.
Although I'm a Yankees fan, I know very well how many of you (and me included) despise Walter O'Malley. But, I've never seen or heard any opinions on Marvin Kratter, the man who demolished a veritable baseball shrine, a historical landmark, and in conjunction with O'Malley, denied a future generation of fans Brooklyn-style big league baseball !
In case it hasn't been posted here before, this is Marvin Kratter's obituary as published in the New York Times back in 1999:
Marvin Kratter, 84; Once Owned Ebbets Field
By NICK RAVO
Published: December 9, 1999
Marvin Kratter, the New York real estate investor whose holdings once included Ebbets Field (which he eventually replaced with an apartment complex), died on Oct. 24 at a hospital in Encinitas, Calif. He was 84.
The cause was pancreatitis, said his son, Leslie M. Kratter, of Hillsborough, Calif.
Mr. Kratter's wide-ranging business interests also included ownership or part ownership of the Boston Celtics basketball team, a brewery and a pharmaceutical company. In 1956, he bought the legendary Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, from Walter O'Malley, the team's owner.
He leased Ebbets Field back to Mr. O'Malley. But after Mr. O'Malley moved the team to Los Angeles after the 1957 season, Ebbets Field was demolished, and became the site for a development called Ebbets Field Apartments. It was built under the Mitchell-Lama subsidy program, which gave developers tax breaks and low-interest mortgages as incentives to build middle-class housing.
The 1,327-apartment complex, which stands on the block bounded by Bedford Avenue, Montgomery Street, McKeever Place and Sullivan Place in Crown Heights, was completed in 1962. It was later sold to a Minneapolis company.
Mr. Kratter headed a variety of companies, including the Kratter Corporation, National Equities and Countrywide Realty. He was also known for building, in 1961, the Bridge Apartments above the Manhattan entrance to the George Washington Bridge. The four 32-story buildings were among the world's first aluminum-sheathed high-rise structures.
The bridge project was considered an imaginative use of air rights over a public facility. Air rights were transferred by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to the city, which sold them at auction to the Kratter Corporation.
Mr. Kratter also developed the St. Tropez, at 340 East 64th Street, one of the first condominium apartment buildings in the city. For a while, he also owned the St. Regis Hotel.
Mr. Kratter also bought the Knickerbocker Brewery, and his ownership of the Boston Celtics was an effort to promote the beer in New England. He owned the team from 1965 to 1968.
He then moved to Rancho La Costa, Calif., befriended the singer Steve Lawrence, and recorded a solo album, ''What I Did for Love,'' on the RCA label, using the stage name Mark Matthews.
He moved to Las Vegas for several years, serving as president of Rom-American Pharmaceuticals. He retired to Del Mar, Calif., where he lived at the time of his death.
Mr. Kratter was born on Nov. 9, 1915, in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School. He was also a certified public accountant and worked as an accountant at the start of his career.
He moved to Tucson in the late 1930's, and, in 1945, he started a dude ranch, Rancho del Rio Estates, that went bankrupt in 1949. He also filed for personal bankruptcy in 1953 but quickly recovered financially, moved back to New York and became one of the early practitioners of real estate syndication. He became a millionaire a few years later.
Mr. Kratter's wife, Lillian, died in 1994. Besides his son Leslie he is survived by a second son, David E. Kratter of Bellevue, Wash.; a daughter, Sherry Santa Cruz of San Diego; a half-brother, Arnold Kratter of Manhattan, and six grandchildren.
It does make an interesting read. Seems like he and the "Big O" were of like minds. They both could do what they did so effortlessly, not caring for one minute how many people they were truly hurting.
Last edited by DODGER DEB; 11-26-2007 at 02:44 PM.
Hi Dodger Deb,
Here's something further attesting to the O'Malley-Kratter conspiracy (aided and abetted by Phil Wrigley of the Cubs). If one reads the entire chain of events leading to the kidnapping and exile of the Brooklyn Dodgers to the left coast, it starts to sound very much like Watergate!
From the "official Walter O'Malley" website (http://www.walteromalley.com/57-58_timeline.php):
February 21, 1957
The Dodgers exchange their Fort Worth team in the Texas League for Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, the Pacific Coast League L.A. Angels and territorial rights in Los Angeles with Chicago Cubs’ owner Philip K. Wrigley. As a proponent of Major League Baseball expansion to the West Coast, Wrigley realized that his team in the PCL would be worth much less if a team relocated to Los Angeles, thus he made the important swap. Walter O’Malley further announces that Marvin Kratter, real estate investor, has purchased La Grave Field in Ft. Worth and that the Cubs, in operating the franchise there, would lease the La Grave Field facilities.
Also found on the same site, an interesting proposal for the Dodgers to buy the Polo Grounds, representing the entire city as the "New York Dodgers":
October 9, 1957
Alfred J. Bailey of the Brown, Harris, Stevens, Inc. Real Estate firm writes a letter to Walter O’Malley stating, “After reading the newspaper today I suppose this letter would have little interest to you, however, being a native of Brooklyn, I would like to see the Dodgers remain in New York City and represent the entire City, possibly being known as the New York Dodgers. We are offering for sale the Polo Grounds which has a seating capacity of 56,000 which I believe is about 20,000 more seats than most of the other baseball stadiums. It is only exceeded by the Yankee Stadium with 67,000 seats. The New York Giants have a lease to March 1962 at a rental of $74,000 net per year which is a low rental. As the Giants, according to reports, are scheduled to go to San Francisco, I believe they will surrender their lease. The property involved is the Polo Grounds and the parking lot which accommodates about 1800 cars...If it is not too late to discuss the matter, I would like to arrange an appointment to discuss the proposition with you.”
Here's a picture from today's NY Times of Red Barber calling a game at Ebbets Field
48 years ago today (Feb. 23,1960) demolition began on our Ebbets Field.
Never should have either of our respective teams been taken from us. It was simply wrong.
Last edited by Ralph Zig Tyko; 02-23-2008 at 11:06 AM.
When you read about the sale of Ebbets Field to Kratter, it is quite obvious that O'Smelley was working on a move.
When it was announced that Ebbets Field was sold, didn't it become clear to you that a move was at hand?
Last edited by Yankeebiscuitfan; 03-02-2008 at 01:51 PM.
The three-year leaseback that was part of the Kratter deal (October 1956) was certainly a major sign of living on borrowed time.
What it did say to US was that WE perhaps needed a new ballpark, something that was being talked about prior to the sale of OUR Ebbets Field to Kratter.
NEVER in OUR wildest dreams did WE equate that sale with the possibility that anyone could actually be serious about taking OUR Dodgers away from US, and out of BROOKLYN, or that NYC would ever allow that to happen.
To OUR way of thinking, and, I might add, to all sensible people both in and out of baseball, no one in their right mind would EVER entertain that thought....NO ONE! It simply made NO sense!
So many of us are still in mourning about the lose of our respective teams. I constantly remind myself that it is better to have loved and lost, than... We'll always have "Paris."