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  • Robert Moses ran the Giants out of NY

    I don't know if this was posted before.......


    For years, the O'Malley apologists have tried to push the lie that they were run out of NYC by Moses. I have found this article that seems to confirm that Moses did run a baseball team out of NYC....the Jints !

    November 6, 1953
    Mr. Horace C. Stoneham
    President
    National Exhibition Co.
    100 West 42 Street
    New York 36, N.Y.
    Dear Mr. Stoneham:
    The newspapers have carried numerous stories in the past year to the effect that various baseball clubs were considered transferring their franchises to other cities. While I have not read any announcement to that effect about the New York Giants, it seemed quite obvious from the attendance figures that the maintenance of a separate stadium must be a terrific drain on the ball club.
    You are familiar with the housing project which the City built just north of the Polo Grounds. The site, occupied by the Polo Grounds itself and the parking field adjacent thereto, being one of the last large open spaces in Manhattan, would make an excellent site for additional housing.
    I have no direct knowledge about the matter, but it would seem to me that the owners of the New York Yankees would welcome the idea of having another club in a different league use their park as has been done successfully in other places. To an outsider, it would appear that it would certainly save money for both clubs.
    I don't know how many years your lease has to go on the Coogan property or what other stumbling blocks there might be in the way of this proposal. I should like very much to know whether you have considered such a consolidation and whether you consider it feasible and desirable. Is there any possibility of such a consolidation becoming effective by the next baseball season?
    Cordially, Robert Moses, Co-Ordinator.


    Feeley stated that this letter started the Giants in the direction of leaving New York.Afterwards, Stoneham and Feeley visited Moses in his office on Randalls Island, a small island located in the East River between Manhattan and the Bronx. Moses stated that he wanted to put public housing on the Polo Grounds site. When Moses suggested that the Giants move into Yankee Stadium, Stoneham told him that such doubling-up was not the custom in baseball.
    Feeley also pointed to an incident which happened in 1955. The Giants had leased a small parking lot on the north side of 155th Street. The City condemned the small parking lot to put a school there. Feeley described this as another sign that the Giants were insecure in their Polo Grounds home.
    Attendance at Giants games declined in the 1950's as the team dropped in the standings after 1954. In 1956, home attendance was 707,579; in 1957 it was 700,279. The Giants also lost the rental paid by the football Giants after 1955. The average annual rent paid by the football Giants for the 1951-55 period was $53,480.
    Feeley stated that the baseball Giants left New York primarily because they believed that the City was going to take the Polo Grounds; the meeting with Moses and the seizure of the parking lot on 155th Street were the source of this anxiety. Feeley said that Stoneham began serious consideration of leaving New York in 1956 or 1957. He also said that if the City had offered the Giants a municipal stadium, they would not have left.

    http://www.profootballresearchers.or.../12-01-389.pdf

  • #2
    A couple thoughts here.

    First off, very few people are boldfaced apologists for O'Malley. These people are usually called Angelenos or O'Malleys. There are a lot of people, however, who know it takes two to tango and that New York is certainly not blameless in losing their National League teams. That doesn't make what O'Malley did right, but if the City had worked with O'Malley in anywhere like the manner they worked with the Yanks and the Mets to build their new parks - a situation where the stakes were infinitely lower - then the Dodgers are still playing in Brooklyn in their geosidic dome. Robert Wagner said after his mayoralty that if he had any idea that the Giants and Dodgers actually were serious about leaving then he would have done a lot more.

    That doesn't make what O'Malley did right, but you can't adopt the attitude that the power brokers of NY (including Moses) had to him, which was essentially, "**** you, you'll like where you're playing and if you don't, go to hell because you'll never leave us." This isn't what the people wanted, which was new stadiums.

    They did this with the city of Los Angeles promising everything O'Malley could ever want, which is ridiculously stupid. I think the history of sports economics in America has told us that was an idiotic gamble by the city of New York.

    As for the Giants, we have to remember this was in a civil suit by the Coogans and the Giants against the City of New York. There was a very good reason - money -for the Giants to adopt a completely different line over the condition of the Polo Grounds and their motives for leaving. If they trash the place in the suit then they don't get as much money, which the NY Supreme Court saw right through in later placing the value of the stadium so low.

    Moses clearly wanted them out, but to say he engineered their departure is much. They left because they weren't drawing anybody at the Polo Grounds, which by most people's accounts was a decrepit hole in a horrible part of town, and they were losing money. Simple as that. Feeley's testimony is an ex post facto story. I'm sure they were spooked by some of the things Moses was doing, but they were not forced out of New York from the black hand of Robert Moses. The truth is more mundane.
    Last edited by Bitter Fan; 09-10-2009, 11:53 PM.

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    • #3
      There were so many factors, so much politics, so many errors of judgment by NYC......I am reading a very interesting book on the subject of both teams leaving.....great detail and documentation and some editorial license but worth the time involved.

      "After Many a Summer" (The passing of the Giants and Dodgers) by Robert Murphy. It was released just this past May.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mays24us View Post
        There were so many factors, so much politics, so many errors of judgment by NYC......I am reading a very interesting book on the subject of both teams leaving.....great detail and documentation and some editorial license but worth the time involved.

        "After Many a Summer" (The passing of the Giants and Dodgers) by Robert Murphy. It was released just this past May.
        Just finished this book.

        Judging by it's subtitle, ( "The Passing of The Giants and The Dodgers"), I was looking forward to an interesting read on how the Giants were allowed to be stolen away as there's virtually nothing out there concerning Stoneham and what he did.

        The book is interesting and a good read but, BUT, it is 99% about the Dodger move with only occasional asides regarding the Giants. That was disapointing. It's always been my opinion the stealing of the Giants was the greater loss to NY baseball history and tradition and I'm still searching for an in depth examination of how it came to pass.

        It's not really about the Giants, but a good book none the less.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by whoisonit View Post
          Just finished this book.

          Judging by it's subtitle, ( "The Passing of The Giants and The Dodgers"), I was looking forward to an interesting read on how the Giants were allowed to be stolen away as there's virtually nothing out there concerning Stoneham and what he did.

          The book is interesting and a good read but, BUT, it is 99% about the Dodger move with only occasional asides regarding the Giants. That was disapointing. It's always been my opinion the stealing of the Giants was the greater loss to NY baseball history and tradition and I'm still searching for an in depth examination of how it came to pass.

          It's not really about the Giants, but a good book none the less.
          Ugh. I know O'Malley was the mover and shaker, but baseball is crying for a good Horace Stoneham biography. Maybe once my millions roll in and I can retire..

          Comment


          • #6
            Well- a good bio about Charles Stoneham too- both father and son were rather interesting characters...

            An interesting idea for a book or two.

            Originally posted by Bitter Fan View Post
            Ugh. I know O'Malley was the mover and shaker, but baseball is crying for a good Horace Stoneham biography. Maybe once my millions roll in and I can retire..

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jackwood View Post
              Well- a good bio about Charles Stoneham too- both father and son were rather interesting characters...

              An interesting idea for a book or two.
              "After Many A Season" offered some of the sleaze associated with Stoneham's father for the sake of saying, in effect, 'the apple doesn't fall far'. It gave just enough on the father, and just enough of a hint that the son was a somewhat peculiar personality, to wet my appetite for a full blown bio.
              Maybe someday we'll get one.

              I feel the need to add this: I almost hate to make these posts in this thread because of the title, re Moses.
              He definitly did not 'run them out'. Not even close to what was going on from all the things I've read over the years. He was a player in the drama yes, and was a man of outlandishly huge ego yes, but if he had his way the Giants would have been in Queens all these years. In all liklihood they would now be the most valuable franchise in all of baseball.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by whoisonit View Post
                "After Many A Season" offered some of the sleaze associated with Stoneham's father for the sake of saying, in effect, 'the apple doesn't fall far'. It gave just enough on the father, and just enough of a hint that the son was a somewhat peculiar personality, to wet my appetite for a full blown bio.
                Maybe someday we'll get one.

                I feel the need to add this: I almost hate to make these posts in this thread because of the title, re Moses.
                He definitly did not 'run them out'. Not even close to what was going on from all the things I've read over the years. He was a player in the drama yes, and was a man of outlandishly huge ego yes, but if he had his way the Giants would have been in Queens all these years. In all liklihood they would now be the most valuable franchise in all of baseball.
                Of course a big part of the Giant identity was not being in Queens, but Manhattan. It seems clear to me few players in the New York scene other than Bob Moses thought of Queens as a desirable place to host a baseball team.

                Let's be honest, are they wrong? Flushing Meadows isn't a great site for a team today. I'm certain the Mets would rather play in Manhattan than Queens, all things being equal. Plus, for a large portion of the Giants fanbase, it is quite the haul to get out to Flushing Meadows.

                Comment


                • #9
                  On the contrary, Flushing Medows has proved an ideal location for the NY fan base, bearing witness to those who recognise that many of Moses' projects were visionary. It is far easier for Long Islanders to access the Shea location than Yankee Stadium and the 7 line deposits city dwellers directly at FM park.
                  Stoneham was exploring his exit from the decrepit Polo Grounds as early as 1946 from many accounts. One of his biggest gripes was the lack of parking which led to an arrangement that had fans parking at Yankee Stadium, when its tenants were playing out of town, and walking to the PG.
                  6ranted, yes, the Giants were considered Manhattan's team, but no more than the Yankees were the Bronx's team. Further, I would have to offer that that identity was a remnant of the earlier McGraw era and didn't hold true in the 50's when the suburbanization of the fan base was in full throtle.
                  I would have to defer to you, whom I believe was a Giants fan of that time, when I ask; do you feel a New York Giants in Queens would have affected the identity of the team ? I ask because even Stoneham himself, in 1974, admitted he made a mistake, ( which is one of the biggest understatements of all time).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by whoisonit View Post
                    On the contrary, Flushing Medows has proved an ideal location for the NY fan base, bearing witness to those who recognise that many of Moses' projects were visionary. It is far easier for Long Islanders to access the Shea location than Yankee Stadium and the 7 line deposits city dwellers directly at FM park.
                    Stoneham was exploring his exit from the decrepit Polo Grounds as early as 1946 from many accounts. One of his biggest gripes was the lack of parking which led to an arrangement that had fans parking at Yankee Stadium, when its tenants were playing out of town, and walking to the PG.
                    6ranted, yes, the Giants were considered Manhattan's team, but no more than the Yankees were the Bronx's team. Further, I would have to offer that that identity was a remnant of the earlier McGraw era and didn't hold true in the 50's when the suburbanization of the fan base was in full throtle.
                    I would have to defer to you, whom I believe was a Giants fan of that time, when I ask; do you feel a New York Giants in Queens would have affected the identity of the team ? I ask because even Stoneham himself, in 1974, admitted he made a mistake, ( which is one of the biggest understatements of all time).
                    The two biggest problems with the Polo Grounds was a) lack of parking in the post WWII era of the auto, and b) crime around the Polo Grounds. Both of these were primarily caused by the opening of low income (not working class) housing projects in 1951 right next to the PG in the 'old elevated' train yard. The Giants were the 5th best drawing team in MLB in the 1940's, and the 3rd best in the 1930's. In fact, in 1947 they drew 1.6 million and in 1948 they drew nearly 1.5 million and they did not have a very good team (Leo would take a couple more seasons to contend). Convert the rail yard to parking lots and that would have helped a lot. Ironically, Mara took the football Giants out of the PG after the '55 season because of these two reasons. Mara was never satisfied in YS, and the Giants only lasted 16 years there.

                    When the 9th Ave EL was taken down in 1940, only a connecting shuttle to YS was kept running until 1958. This elimination of the EL from downtown with no replacement also made it harder to get to the PG as fans traveled to the Bronx and then caught the spur to the PG. Part of this spur stayed outside YS until they removed it for construction of NYS.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by whoisonit View Post
                      On the contrary, Flushing Medows has proved an ideal location for the NY fan base, bearing witness to those who recognise that many of Moses' projects were visionary. It is far easier for Long Islanders to access the Shea location than Yankee Stadium and the 7 line deposits city dwellers directly at FM park.
                      Stoneham was exploring his exit from the decrepit Polo Grounds as early as 1946 from many accounts. One of his biggest gripes was the lack of parking which led to an arrangement that had fans parking at Yankee Stadium, when its tenants were playing out of town, and walking to the PG.
                      6ranted, yes, the Giants were considered Manhattan's team, but no more than the Yankees were the Bronx's team. Further, I would have to offer that that identity was a remnant of the earlier McGraw era and didn't hold true in the 50's when the suburbanization of the fan base was in full throtle.
                      I would have to defer to you, whom I believe was a Giants fan of that time, when I ask; do you feel a New York Giants in Queens would have affected the identity of the team ? I ask because even Stoneham himself, in 1974, admitted he made a mistake, ( which is one of the biggest understatements of all time).
                      Shea is very good to get to from Longguyland - by car. It is not a great location to get to by public transit, something both Stoneham and O'Malley knew was the real way to get people to the park. The Polo Grounds needed parking because it was a difficult place to get to from the suburbs by anything other than car.

                      Both owners picked very good locations for their stadiums. Stoneham wanted the West Side rail yards, O'Malley wanted the Atlantic and Flatbush Ave. site. Both places are phenomenal to get to by public transit. Stoneham would have had Penn Station two blocks away, and anybody in Long Island can get there. Anybody in Jersey and Westchester/Connecticut can get to that too, two areas the Mets have very little traction in. In that situation you don't need parking. O'Malley's proposed stadium did not include enormous tracts of parking. Better than Ebbets Field, of course, but nothing like Shea.

                      IMO, both of those sites were indisputably better than Flushing Meadows.

                      While strict regional attachment to the Giants was waning in the 1950s (which is why they weren't drawing flies in the Polo Grounds), there are so many other benefits to playing in the population center of the region that it makes way more sense to play in Manhattan rather than out in Queens.

                      As for Stoneham, of course it was a mistake in 1974. The American League had parachuted a team into Oakland, the Giants were bad and playing in one of the worst stadiums ever to host a baseball team in a neighborhood not much better than the Polo Grounds projects. The Giants were not fully realized in San Francisco until AT&T Park was built, and now the Giants are among the richer clubs in baseball.

                      And I wasn't there. I'm just somebody who spends way too much time thinking about this stuff.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Baseball would be much more ingrained as part of the fabric of America and would still be its undisputed pastime if the two NL New York teams didn't leave. The NFL is much more popular now. So it's safe to say that sprawl and everything that comes with it (car-oriented development, so called "urban renewal") killed America's pastime. If the owners of the Giants and Dodgers got what they wanted, they would've stayed, and New York would have three teams of equal stature that everyone would be crazy for, as opposed to what we have now, which is the Yankees and the second-rate alternative Mets. Everyone says O' Malley wanted to move no matter what, but there's no way it would've happened if he couldn't lure the Giants as well. Robert Moses, pushing his plans for sprawl, killed any chance they had of staying.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bitter Fan View Post
                          Shea is very good to get to from Longguyland - by car. It is not a great location to get to by public transit, something both Stoneham and O'Malley knew was the real way to get people to the park. The Polo Grounds needed parking because it was a difficult place to get to from the suburbs by anything other than car.

                          Both owners picked very good locations for their stadiums. Stoneham wanted the West Side rail yards, O'Malley wanted the Atlantic and Flatbush Ave. site. Both places are phenomenal to get to by public transit. Stoneham would have had Penn Station two blocks away, and anybody in Long Island can get there. Anybody in Jersey and Westchester/Connecticut can get to that too, two areas the Mets have very little traction in. In that situation you don't need parking. O'Malley's proposed stadium did not include enormous tracts of parking. Better than Ebbets Field, of course, but nothing like Shea.

                          IMO, both of those sites were indisputably better than Flushing Meadows.

                          While strict regional attachment to the Giants was waning in the 1950s (which is why they weren't drawing flies in the Polo Grounds), there are so many other benefits to playing in the population center of the region that it makes way more sense to play in Manhattan rather than out in Queens.

                          As for Stoneham, of course it was a mistake in 1974. The American League had parachuted a team into Oakland, the Giants were bad and playing in one of the worst stadiums ever to host a baseball team in a neighborhood not much better than the Polo Grounds projects. The Giants were not fully realized in San Francisco until AT&T Park was built, and now the Giants are among the richer clubs in baseball.

                          And I wasn't there. I'm just somebody who spends way too much time thinking about this stuff.
                          The Mets were the first NY team to ever draw 3 million fans and they did it the old fashioned way, only turnstile count. The demographics of their attendence was fairly equally distributed from the various sectors of the Metropolitan area. I really don't understand anyone saying Flushing is an inconvenient location. Certainly wasn't for the Mets in the mid 1980's.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            robert moses ran the giants out of NY

                            in response to jaysexpos, you are either to young or live to far away to know what was going on in new york with the giants in the mid-50's. stoneham and the giants were gone whether or not the dodgers left brooklyn. he could not survive in the polo grounds. he was planning on moving the franchise to minneapolis where they had their top farm club, the millers. it was o'malley who needed him to make the move to los angeles. he sold stoneham a bill of goods about san francisco. but the franchise in new york was doomed at any rate.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Actually, I was going off what Bitter Fan said, that Stoneham wanted the West Side rail yards because it's close to Penn Station, and thus, would be the best possible location for drawing fans to the park via public transportation. Had they got to build a stadium there, the Giants would be as popular as the Yankees are today. Maybe moreso. The city, in pushing their "urban renewal" projects (building a ghetto next to the Polo Grounds, etc.) and not giving them the West Side rail yards to build on, allowed them to flee.

                              Make no mistake about it, Giants vs Dodgers is such a storied rivalry, that one wouldn't have been allowed to move without the other. If the city was willing to work with the teams, they wouldn't have left.

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