Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Fan Fight from the Brooklyn Dodgers Past


Earlier today, Andy Gray tweeted a photo on SI Vault that strikes me as both outrageous and hilarious.  Although, I am sure the subject of the beating above, umpire George "Mage" Magerkurth, doesn't think it's funny.

It is a Monday afternoon at Ebbets Field (September 16, 1940).  There was no pennant race.  The Cincinnati Reds had a comfortable 9 game lead over the Dodgers- who stood in 2nd place.  With only a couple weeks left in the regular season, there wasn't much left to fight over.  After all, the Dodgers would not be playing in October, and everybody knew it.

Maybe, that sense of a lost season contributed to the heated feelings that would bring about violence at the Brooklyn borough ballpark that day.  Were we looking for someone to blame? 

On that night in front of a crowd of 6,782 fans, the Reds were in town to play their final game against the Dodgers.  The Dodgers had taken the early lead in the 1st inning, but failed to hold on as the Reds rallied back to win it in the 10th inning.  Unfortunately, the Reds win wasn't uncontested.  It was as a result of a umpires ruling that allowed runners to be safe, and many folks that night were not happy about it.

All evening long, the Dodgers, especially skipper Leo "The Lip" Durocher, had it in for umpire George Magerkurth.  They complained of bad calls and continued to razed him all night.  Seeing this, a man named Frank Germano jumped onto the field at the end of the game to pummel George Magerkurth in retribution. 

Per the Gotham City Insider blog:
[The berserk Dodger fan] Frank Germano, an unemployed youth of twenty-one, who lives at 128 Thirty-third Street, Brooklyn, was arrested after the fight and taken to the 71st Precinct.  “Gernano was held in $500 bail in Brooklyn-Queens afternoon court for a hearing today on a charge of simple assault.
Germano was lucky he blindsided the umpire.  Mag, as he was affectionately called, was a former heavyweight boxer.  Germano is also lucky that Mag refused to press charges.  Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick, on the other hand, was not so forgiving.  For Durocher's part in inciting the fan, he was suspended 5 games.

Below is another press photo from the incident that I found at SB Nation.


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