Monday, January 9, 2023



Continuing a look at the events and people in Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire.

Each two lines represent a year.

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"
Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide
Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go
U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo



California baseball

In 1958 the US baseball club the Dodgers moved from their traditional home of Brooklyn, New York City, to Los Angeles, California. The long-time rivals of the Dodgers, the New York Giants, moved to San Francisco, California.

For more than a half-century, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants were two of baseball's leading lights. Not only did they have beautiful ballparks, winning pedigree and stars past and present, they both symbolised New York in their own ways, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Then both teams left the Big Apple to relocate to California, the Dodgers to Los Angeles and the Giants to San Francisco. How did baseball history get so thoroughly turned on its head?

Falling attendances, declining interest, competition from other sports, lack of participation by other teams beyond the local area and problems in building a new ballpark contributed to the decision for the teams to relocate.

Local fans and supporters felt betrayed but in the end it regenerated interest in baseball and acted for the good of the sport nationally.

By the way . . .

According to the club, the Dodgers name originated in 1896 as the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers. Heavy construction of electric trolley tracks in front of Eastern Park caused fans to dodge the trolleys to reach the park. Those fans became known as Trolley Dodgers and the team took on the name, which was shortened to Dodgers.

The Giants began as the second baseball club founded by millionaire tobacconist John B. Day and veteran amateur baseball player Jim Mutrie. The Giants were originally known as the Gothams.

It is said that after one particularly satisfying victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, Mutrie (who was also the team's manager) stormed into the dressing room and exclaimed, "My big fellows! My giants!" From then on (1885), the club was known as the Giants. However, more recent research has suggested that the New York World was already widely using the Giants nickname throughout the 1885 season, before the legendary game was played.

By the way #2 . . .

Brooklyn Dodger's general manager Branch Rickey called it "the great experiment."

In 1945, Rickey agreed to a contract with Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs and integration in the major leagues began.

Officially putting on a uniform in 1947, Robinson changed the game forever.

The MLB missed out on perhaps the best players of all time before Robinson because of segregation.


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