Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Brooklyn Dodgers Themed Prayer/Mass Card at Lelands Auctions

Here's something you don't see everyday.

Featured at Lelands Auction is the above 1956 prayer/mass card extolling its adherents to pray for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  As you can see, on the reverse it makes reference to the "death" of the "Brooklyn Dodger Bums" on October 10th - the day the team lost Game 7 of the 1956 World Series to the New York Yankees.  It adds:
"We have loved them during life; let us not abandon them, until we have conducted them by our prayers, into the house of the Lord."  - St. Ambrose
The melding of religious devotion and local team fanaticism was one of the hallmarks of the old Brooklyn club.

In fact, there is a great story about how one Catholic priest asked his parishioners to pray for Gil Hodges during a Sunday homily in 1953.  As the story goes, Hodges was suffering through a slump for the ages.  He had gone hitless during the last eleven games of the prior year (including the entire seven game World Series against the Yankees) and basically began the new season right were he left off.  By the 29th game he was slashing a lowly .193/.360/.227/.588.

Naturally, the Brooklyn faithful did all that they could to help him turn things around.  Gil received countless letters, postcards and telegrams.  He even received numerous good-luck charms from fans.  Then, Father Herbert Redmond of St. Francis Roman Catholic Church decided to reach towards an higher authority, saying one Sunday afternoon:
"It's far too hot for a homily. Keep the Commandments and say a prayer for Gil Hodges."
Soon thereafter, Gil Hodges started to hit again, and eventually ended the season slashing a greatly improved .302/.393/.550/.943.  Furthermore, he never again struggled in the postseason.

Of course, this is not to say that a higher power had anything to do with Gil's improved fortunes.  After all, I've read that a minor adjustment to his batting stance did wonders for him that year.  I do wonder, though, if just a little bit of faith that things will turn out fine is all we need to see the fortunes of several current Dodgers turn around.

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