Brooklyn Dodgers: The Last Great Pennant Drive, 1957
John R. Nordell, Jr.
Copyright 2009 John R. Nordell, Jr.
Nikita Khrushchev consolidated his power in the Soviet Union during a Kremlin showdown. The United States Senate was debating the first significant race legislation in decades that was given a serious chance of passage. The motion picture Island in the Sun was playing in theaters across America. And as major league baseball observed its annual All-Star game break, the defending National League champion Brooklyn Dodgers found themselves mired in fifth place.
It was July 1957.
That was my first year as a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was destined to be my last. The brevity of the experience and the enduring nature of childhood impressions may explain why my recollection of it remains so vivid a half century later. To this day, 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. It was also the month when I saw my first major league baseball game at Ebbets Field, which was the most exciting thing I had ever experienced.
This book describes a pivotal time during Brooklyn’s last season in a baseball world now long gone. It was written for baseball lovers young and old but mainly for old Dodger fans who still recall these events and cherish their memories of them, as I do.
John R. Nordell, Jr. Old Forge, Pennsylvania February 24, 2007
This project was made all the more enjoyable by the friendly assistance of many people. I want to thank members of the reference departments at the Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and the Albright Memorial Library in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where much of my research was done. The staff of the library at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York provided invaluable guidance, especially Gabe Schechter. My thanks also to Warren Platt of the New York Public Library, Katherine LaBarbera and Jean E. M. Gosebrink of the St. Louis Public Library, and Claus Guglberger of the New York Daily News. For assistance with my photographs, I especially want to thank Gabe Dalessandro of the UPS Store in Edwardsville, Pennsylvania as well as Ed Menjak of Professional Photographic Services in Wilkes-Barre. I appreciate the permission that was granted by team historian Mark Langill to use photographs and other insignia of the Dodgers. I am grateful to David Smith for his instructions on using www.retrosheet.org, which is the best fact-checker that a researcher on baseball could ever have. It was a pleasure working with Nicole Langan of Tribute Books in pulling together the various elements of this book.