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Letters June 20, 2013  RSS feed

Letters To The Editor

1950s Baseball Remembered

Editor’s Note: The following letter was addressed o the Old Timer, who remains on hiatus.

Dear Old Timer:

I was reviewing your Thursday, June 21, 2007 column, “A Mystery No Longer, ‘Brooklyn’ Photo Stirs Some More Memories,” and I thought I might offer some insight.

“The 1951 Bushwicks played 38 games—winning 27, losing seven and playing four ties” in the same year, I played for Franklin K Lane in Dexter Park. That time was a period of no race track, and playing at Dexter Field was like playing in a big league park.

Besides racecars, football was part of Dexter Park’s agenda. I had a few friends who played for the Dexter Bombers, and they were very competitive.

You mentioning that “teams were sponsored by clubs; by companies such as Jamaica Water Supply, Frank Medico Pipe, Greenworld Jewelers, U.S. Steel, etc.; and by individuals, such as Frank “Pop” Herbert (Glendale Tigers)” struck a chord with me, as my first experience in the Queens Alliance was with Pop Herbert’s Glendale Tigers. It was 1952, and I was 19 at the time. We even wore Dodgers’ uniforms. I recall it was the Tigers’ last year.

The following year (1953), I played for Jamaica Water Supply, and we won the alliance championship. Our reward was a trip to Atlantic City for a weekend.

Jamaica Water Supply was a good organization—they had an account with Joe Hassel’s sporting goods store, and we could buy our equipment there.

That year we played at 207th Street and Jamaica Avenue. I believe there is a Meineke shop at that location now.

The following year, Jamaica Water moved to Barton’s Stadium, Whenever I drive by the Dublin Pub—formerly known as Barton’s Cantina—it brings many memories.

Halfway through the season I had to leave Jamaica Water due to travel problems. I found out U.S. Steel needed an outfielder, and I was added to their roster. I was fortunate to be able to play for winning company teams. Many of the home field’s teams would split the attendance proceeds with the players.

The last game I played in Dexter Park was the championship game between U.S. Steel (my team) and Jamaica Water Supply (my former team) in 1954. The home company teams attracted ball players from the college or ex-minor leaguers. It is why the teams were consistent in wining.

Frank Cunningham