I read with interest the article in the July 1 issue of SCD and how a hobby like ours grows in our hearts when we can share with others who have similar interests.
I’ve been collecting Brooklyn Dodgers’ memorabilia for more than 30 years. This isn’t just any Brooklyn Dodgers’ memorabilia, but only those items dealing with that glorious team from 1955, when they won their only World Series title in Brooklyn.
Fortunately, I have many to share it with – my wife, who insisted that the collection be displayed in our study; my younger brother, who also collects memorabilia from that year and only lives 30 minutes from me; and my daughter’s father-in-law, who collects everything Brooklyn. He, too, lives close by.
Further, I have a list of collectors around the country who also share my passion with our Beloved Bums. Plus, there are many in my community who just love to come over and view what I have and to talk about the Dodgers. Many call and ask if they could bring their children or grandchildren over to my home to see my collection. I just love sharing it with them.
Included in my 1955 collection are autographed photos of every player who wore a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform during that year, Hall of Fame bats, 28 single-signed baseballs, signed bats and team baseballs, statues, pennants and ticket stubs from 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956. Each year of the ticket stubs is framed with a Dodgers’ press pin at the top of the frame. I wish I could remember why I collected those other years, but I just don’t. I also have a 1955 World Series Dodgers’ black bat.
The most unique item I have is a photo of two security guards removing a fan from the playing field at Yankee Stadium during the seventh game of the 1955 Series. The fan was trying to get Duke Snider to sign an autograph. Well, one of those security officers was my father, who worked at both Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium during the 1950s.
About 12 years ago, my brother and I were at a show in Long Island, and he was looking through a binder of photographs from Ebbets Field. Well, when he started to scream my name out, I ran to his side. He looked so pale, I thought he was having a heart attack! He pointed to this photo and said, “Look, that’s Dad!” And it was. What do you think the odds are in finding a photo like that? He purchased it and had copies made for me, our older brother and our sister. The back of the photo has the photographer’s name, frame number and date. What a find!
The most magical event that I’ve ever experienced in my collecting years occurred in August 2006, when my wife and I hosted a brunch at our home for Clem Labine and his wife Barbara.
Clem was invited to my community to speak at our Men’s Club meeting on a Sunday morning. They planned to fly him in on Friday and take him and his wife to dinner. They also had plans to take him to a Broadway show on Saturday evening. And, of course, the Sunday morning meeting was the focus of his visit. Saturday was kind of open, so the club president asked if I would entertain him on Saturday, late morning through the afternoon. Well, when I was finally able to answer, I said “Are you serious?”
Aware of my love of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and my collection, they thought it would be a nice idea. In 2004, I made a PowerPoint presentation to the Men’s Club . . . about the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, of course. And what a day it was!
My wife, Susan, prepared a beautiful brunch, and Clem even let me wear his World Series ring the entire visit. I printed a page showing his 1955 Topps card and his career pitching statistics, and made one for each of my friends who was invited. When I quietly asked Clem if he would sign one for each guest, he said he’d be very happy to do it. Then he said, in a whisper, “Write down their names so I don’t misspell any.” What a gentleman!
My current goal is to have a ticket stub for every game played at Ebbets Field during 1955, and so far, I have 34 – only 36 more to complete the “set.” They’re so hard to find, but the search continues. But isn’t that what the hobby is all about?
I’m sure I could continue to write more about my collection, but I feel I’ve covered the most memorable events.
My grown children, all who live within 20 minutes of me, and my young grandchildren, still enjoy asking me questions about the various items I have on display. Doesn’t get any better than that!