Good ol’ baseball history will show you that even though St. Louis has always been that bustling baseball town of excitement, the title of Baseball City USA was once Brooklyn, N.Y.
St. Louis is Baseball City USA.
There’s no doubting it.
Cubs fans know it (even though they may deny it) and Rangers fans know it (and they found out the hard way last year).
But good ol’ baseball history will show you that even though St. Louis has always been that bustling baseball town of excitement, the title of Baseball City USA was once Brooklyn, N.Y.
If you want to read about a city revolving around baseball and every player who made their way into every fan’s hearts, look at the relationship of the Dodgers and the City of Brooklyn. You might as well have put a professional baseball team in the middle of Mayberry, because back in the Dodgers' heyday Brooklyn was a tight-knit town in love with their baseball team and every citizen (and I’m sure Andy, Barney and Opie would have done this, too) treated their ballplayers like kings.
If the Dodgers never left Brooklyn for Los Angeles, St. Louis wouldn’t be the baseball capitol it is today.
Now I’m not saying Busch Stadium wouldn’t be the place it is today. I’m not saying the Cardinals wouldn’t have the fan base they have today. I’m not saying the Cardinals wouldn’t be one of baseball’s most treasured and popular teams. I’m just saying that the Brooklyn Dodgers were so embraced, so loved, so adored, so idolized (just like the St. Louis Cardinals of today) that Brooklyn would surpass St. Louis by an overwhelming margin.
Neighborhood deli owners would bring the players food. Fans would cheer every strike, every hit, every out like they just witnessed the final out of the World Series. There was a makeshift marching band in the stands and the ballpark — historic Ebbets Field — was a cathedral of faith everyone worshiped; baseball.
Why do you think Brooklyn was the best fit for Jackie Robinson when he broke the color barrier? Branch Rickey wasn’t dumb when he signed him.
There was no other community with a baseball team that would’ve embraced a black man in a segregated game more than Brooklyn. Kansas City would’ve probably made a nice possibility, but the Athletics didn’t move there till the ‘50s and by that time Robinson’s impact was immense and other players had broken in.
The world would be a different place if the Dodgers never left Brooklyn, but everything happens for a reason. That’s why the heart of America’s game is in America’s heartland.
Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post