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50 YEARS AGO: BROOKLYN TO LOS ANGELES

Out at home

It has been 50 years since the Dodgers played at Ebbets Field, and although there are reminders of the park and the team, the borough has more than moved on.

October 08, 2007|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

"We don't say the Brooklyn Dodgers. We just say Dodgers," she explained from her Brooklyn home. "They will always have a special place in my heart. But I think it's wonderful that baseball has come back with the Cyclones. I go to their games all the time."

There is even a big-league revival looming in Brooklyn, even if it is a very different league. The New Jersey Nets of the NBA are planning to move from the Meadowlands to a planned arena in Brooklyn near Atlantic and Flatbush, on the very site Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley had hoped to build a domed stadium to keep his team in the borough.

"Loyalty to the Dodgers is perhaps the strongest emotion man can experience," according to a 1941 Life magazine article.

But when those loyal fans were abandoned in 1957, despite the fact it was New York city commissioner Robert Moses rather than O'Malley who killed the stadium plan, bitterness against the team erupted.

And lingered for years.

"About 10 years ago," said former Dodgers traveling secretary Billy DeLury, "I was standing in front of our dugout during batting practice at Shea Stadium. There was this kid about 19 years old who was just ripping into all our players as they were going up to home plate.

"Finally, I turned around and said to him, 'Why do you hate the Dodgers so much?'

" 'Because,' he said, 'my father told me to hate them.' "

Not all of those echoes are pleasant sounds.

--

steve.springer@latimes.com

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