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  • Most Popular team in New York

    I just finished reading Roger Kahn's book, "The Era". It made me wonder which New York team (Dodgers, Yankees, Giants) had the largest following during the height of New York baseball 1947-1957.

    The popular assumption is that it would've been the Yankees because of their overwhelming dominance & star laden roster. Is this assumption fact or fiction ?

  • #2
    Fact.
    Yankees highest seasonal attendance total '47-'57:
    2,373,000, 1948
    Lowest:
    1,475,000, 1954

    Brooklyn highest:
    1,807,000, 1947
    Lowest:
    1,020,000, 1954

    Giants highest:
    1,600,000, 1947
    Lowest:
    629,000, 1956

    (totals are rounded off)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by westsidegrounds
      Fact.
      Yankees highest seasonal attendance total '47-'57:
      2,373,000, 1948
      Lowest:
      1,475,000, 1954

      Brooklyn highest:
      1,807,000, 1947
      Lowest:
      1,020,000, 1954

      Giants highest:
      1,600,000, 1947
      Lowest:
      629,000, 1956

      (totals are rounded off)
      I don't know if we can use raw attendance numbers to measure popularity. Don't forget that Yankee Stadium pre-1976 sat approximately 70,000. Meanwhile, Ebbets Field had a listed capacity of 32,000 & the Polo Grounds had a listed capacity of 55,000. If you went by percentage of seat sold then you could make the case that the Dodgers were more popular.

      Comment


      • #4
        Weren't the Polo Grounds in fairly bad shape towards the end of this time period?

        Comment


        • #5
          The Polo Grounds was located in Harlem. Many white fans became afraid to attend night games there in the years after WWII. The Giants had trouble guaranteeing the safety of its patrons. In 1950, a customer was killed by a stray bullet from a roof top sniper. The Giants were forced to schedule a disproportionate amount of day games. There was talk that the Giants were going to lease Yankee Stadium from the Yankees. Yankee Stadium was located right across the Harlem River in the Bronx. But this never materialized. Stoneham then looked into building his own park, but he didn't have adequate financing to successfully complete the project. At this point, Stoneham looked into relocating the team to Minneapolis, the home of the Giants' Triple A affiliate (Millers). The move could be made fairly cheaply because they already owned the territorial rights. Plus, Minnesota was in the process of building a brand new stadium(Metropolitan Stadium) in hopes of attracting a team. However, along came Walter O'Malley...........
          Last edited by Greenpeach; 10-27-2003, 11:13 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Greenpeach
            [B At this point, Stoneham looked into relocating the team to Minneapolis, However, along came Walter O'Malley........... [/B]
            With a better offer...Stoneham gets northern California to himself, instead of having to share the Upper Midwest with the Cubs, Braves, & White Sox....O'Malley does all the legwork, and Horace hardly has to lift a finger -- except to signal for another round.

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            • #7
              I'm not sure whom had the largest following, but I would venture to say none had a more loyal following than the Dodgers. Just the briefest perusal of their forum here at Baseball Fever will confirm that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by The Commissioner
                I'm not sure whom had the largest following, but I would venture to say none had a more loyal following than the Dodgers. Just the briefest perusal of their forum here at Baseball Fever will confirm that.
                Amen to that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by westsidegrounds
                  With a better offer...Stoneham gets northern California to himself, instead of having to share the Upper Midwest with the Cubs, Braves, & White Sox....O'Malley does all the legwork, and Horace hardly has to lift a finger -- except to signal for another round.
                  1957 Polo Grounds attendance - 653,923

                  1975 Candlestick attendance - 522,919

                  Net Loss (130,004)

                  For Comparison:

                  1975 Dodger Stadium attendance - 2,539,349

                  1975 Shea Stadium attendance - 1,730,566

                  Horace Stoneham sold the Giants in January of 1976.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I wish they'd stayed in the Polo Grounds myself, but

                    Originally posted by Greenpeach
                    1957 Polo Grounds attendance - 653,923

                    1975 Candlestick attendance - 522,919

                    Net Loss (130,004)

                    For Comparison:

                    1975 Dodger Stadium attendance - 2,539,349

                    1975 Shea Stadium attendance - 1,730,566

                    Horace Stoneham sold the Giants in January of 1976.
                    Polo Grounds attendance:
                    1951: 1,059,000
                    '52: 984,000
                    '55: 811,000
                    '56: 629,000
                    '57: 653,000

                    Seals Stadium (a minor league park!)
                    1958: 1,272,000
                    1959: 1,422,000

                    Candlestick Park:
                    1960: 1,795,000
                    1961: 1.390,000
                    1962: 1,592,000


                    For a guy without access to a Time Machine, Horace did pretty well, looks like.


                    (totals rounded off)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I wasn't hoping that the Giants would stay in the Polo Grounds. The stadium was old & antiquated in a rapidly deteriorating neighborhood. However, Robert Moses was already talking about building a new multi-purpose stadium in Flushing Meadow. If Stoneham would've been smart, he would've leased Yankee Stadium for a few seasons & waited for the completion of the new stadium in Queens. He should've let O'Malley go west by himself or with another team. The Giants would've owned half of New York. Can you imagine the type of crowds that they would've drawn with a team consisting of Mays, McCovey, Marichal & Cepeda in a brand new stadium in Queens ? They would've drawn two million on a consistent basis with that club.

                      Attendance last five years (1971-1975)

                      1975 - 522,919
                      1974 - 519,987
                      1973 - 834,193
                      1972 - 647,744
                      1971 - 1,106,043

                      In 1974 & 1975 they finished last in the National League in attendance. There was a slight bump up in 1971 because of the Western Division Championship.From 1968-77 the Giants only broke 1 million in attendance once. No wonder Stoneham said upon selling the club that the biggest mistake he made was moving the club out of New York.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE]Originally posted by Greenpeach
                        I wasn't hoping that the Giants would stay in the Polo Grounds.
                        in a brand new stadium in Queens ? They would've drawn two million on a consistent basis with that club.
                        [QUOTE]

                        Always felt the Polo Grounds defined the Giants at least as much as Ebbets Field did the Dodgers. Move to Queens?!?!? The Giants were Manhattan's team, the Broadway wiseguys' team, the Big City team. Flushing freaking Meadows?!?!? They might as well move to SF.
                        As for Robert Moses, he was a dictatorial egomaniac. Stoneham grew up rubbing shoulders with NY pols, if he didn't want to put his future in RM's hands he pretty certainly knew what he was doing.

                        From 1968-77 the Giants only broke 1 million in attendance once.
                        Yeah, but their first ten years in SF they broke a million two every year. Sorry, but the Move was certainly hurtful, may (MAY) have been economically shortsighted, but it wasn't stupid.

                        And looking at it from the perspective of September 1958, without foreknowledge of the future, nobody would have said it was.
                        Last edited by westsidegrounds; 10-30-2003, 08:34 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by westsidegrounds
                          Yeah, but their first ten years in SF they broke a million two every year. Sorry, but the Move was certainly hurtful, may (MAY) have been economically shortsighted, but it wasn't stupid.

                          And looking at it from the perspective of September 1958, without foreknowledge of the future, nobody would have said it was.
                          I never said Stoneham was stupid. I just indicated that I believe & history has born it out that he jumped the gun with the move out west & the Giants would've been better off staying in New York. He made an error judgement. In business it happens all of the time.

                          As far as the Giants being "Manhattan's team", by September of 1957 that was no longer the case. The Yankees had been Manhattan's team since the hey day of Joe DiMaggio. As for the Giants belonging to Manhattan this is ridiculous. Professional sports teams move all the time to follow population shifts. New Yorkers still go see the Jets & Giants play in the Meadowlands even though it's in Jersey. Giant & Jet fans aren't concerned about tradition. The only thing they care about is a winning team. Are you saying the Giants should still be playing in Yankee Stadium because of their history ? I doubt many fans would agree with that assessment.

                          The population of New York City started moving out to Queens & Long Island right after WWII. The GI's that were coming home wanted to get married, start a family & have a nice house with a big front yard. Flushing Meadow was the right place to build the new stadium if you wanted to follow demographic patterns of the new York metro area. Robert Moses may have been an egotistical jerk, but he was right about the location of Shea Stadium.

                          I think we agree on a lot of things & disagree on others. But, I've really enjoyed debating this issue with you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Greenpeach
                            I never said Stoneham was stupid. I just indicated that I believe & history has born it out that he jumped the gun
                            I think we agree on a lot of things & disagree on others. But, I've really enjoyed debating this issue with you.
                            My pleasure!

                            I just feel that I'm (in a perverse way, maybe) sticking up for the Giants in defending Stoneham's rationale for the move -- like, "Yeah, Our owner moved the team three thousand miles away, but he sure wasn't suckered into it by a two-bit grifter like O'Malley."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Move to Frisco

                              I think Stoneham's problem was he was lazy. He had the most popular team in the city except in Brooklyn and he had no idea how to market it. His real compitition in the city the Yanks have always understood marketing and ran circles around him. If he had not been so impatient about a new stadium he could have waited, let the Dodgers leave, moved to Shea in 62 and added all the Dodger fans to the Giant fans and given the Yanks a run for the money. In the end, moving to San Fran ultimately cost him the team and I believe a few world championships due to playing in that windy cold park for 40 years. I don't think he was just plain greedy like O'malley but made a very bad business decision which he later came to realize and regret because it cost him his team.

                              Comment

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