Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Vintage Newsprint: 11-Year Old Dodger Fan Roots for Team in 1946

So, I was doing a bit of research recently for another post when I stumbled upon the above news article, and I have to admit I was smitten.  What endeared me to it wasn't that it provided any interesting news or information about the ballclub, but instead it goes right to the psyche of Brooklyn Dodger fandom.  Heck, it's about fans in general and the insanity that often comes with being a fan.

Let me set up the background story so that you can put yourself into the shoes of a reader during this time period.

On Sunday, September 29, 1946, the last day of the 1946 season, the Dodgers found themselves in a first place tie with the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Bums had just lost their last game, but so did the Cardinals (to the Cubs).  So, for the first time in league history a 3-game playoff series would be played between the two clubs to determine who would win the pennant and play in the World Series.  The article above is from the following day, Monday, September 30, 1946, and it features a fan written letter by an 11-year old Brooklyn Dodger fan sending her well wishes to the "Boys in Blue" as they battle for National League supremacy.

Below is what she wrote to then Dodger manager Leo Durocher.
Dear Mr. Durocher:
When the Dodgers lost today I could have cried.  I think I would have died if St. Louis won.  But could give you a great big hug and kiss for having led the Dodgers to a tie for the pennant.

While I am only 11 years old I have been one of the best rooters for the team.  I have not kneeled on the steps of Borough Hall or flown over Ebbets Field to pray for the team, for I think that it is silly.  But, believe me, I think as much of the Dodgers as those who do.

I have never seen a Big League game, but I listen to Red Barber and Connie Desmond read your column in the Eagle and all the baseball stories.  I know the winning records of all the players and how you work the squeeze play.  I cheer with glee when Pistol Pete steals home, when Eddie Stanky walks and Dixie Walker and Pee Wee get another hit.

Some people may say that you should have played the game differently today; that you should have used more pinch hitters or stayed with Lombardi, but I think you managed the team beautifully, as you did all season.

Although I will not see the team in the playoff or the World Series, much as I would like to.  I'll be at the radio rooting like mad for Brooklyn to win.  I hope that Musial breaks his leg, Kurowski sprains his wrist and Slaughter breaks his arm; that Breechen gets a sore arm and Pollet keeps his in a sling - but PLEASE don't let anything happen to you, Dixie Walker, Eddie Stanky, PeeWee Reese, Dick Whitman, 'Stetch' Schultz, Augie Galan, Carl Furillo or any other Dodger.

But even if all these things do not happen to the Cards, I'm sure the Dodgers can lick them.

Your for Victory in the World Series,
Eileen Keegan

P.S. - Mr. Rickey should give all the Cubs a car.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers would lose the first two games of the playoff series to finish in second place in 1946, and I'm certain little Eileen Keegen cried her eyes out.  Such is life as a Baseball fan.

The above story was taken from page 3 of the Brooklyn Eagle; dated September 30, 1946.  Click on the pic above to embiggen.

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