People always ask me “Hey Dailey, why do you wear a Brooklyn Dodgers cap?”
I’m just kidding. Nobody calls me “Dailey” and they don’t ask me why I wear a Brooklyn Dodgers cap either. But I am a Minnesota boy and I have no ties to New York, so I’m going to tell you.
It comes down to three main reasons.
- They represent a Golden Age of baseball. The very name “Brooklyn Dodgers” especially evokes a specific period. Though they’d been around since 1884, they really didn’t become “the Brooklyn Dodgers” of legend until about 1941. Between then and 1956 the Dodgers faced the Yankees in the World Series seven times. The era culminated in 1955 when the Dodgers defeated the Yankees to win it all for the first and only time while in Brooklyn. They moved to Los Angeles a season later, ending their cross-town rivalry with the Yankees.
Which brings me to my second reason.
- They were the antithesis, the arch rival of the New York Yankees. And I, for one, see great value in that. I honestly don’t mind sports dynasties. In fact I rather like them. You have to be impressed by the consistency with which the Yankees won during this “Golden Age”. But they’ve been winning pretty consistently since about 1923 and the ’41-’56 Dodgers were the only team to challenge their dominance with such persistence.
In recent years almost every year we have a team in the World Series who hadn’t made it that far in a very long time. It’s nice to see. While I’ve never consciously rooted for “the underdog” it turns out that is precisely what I am talking about. And that is what the Brooklyn Dodgers were in this era whenever they faced the Yankees.
- They were the franchise that, in 1947, broke the unwritten “Color Line” which had stood in Major League Baseball since the 1880s. When Brooklyn’s GM Branch Rickey signed a young multi-sport athlete and former military man, Jackie Robinson, he wasn’t looking for the best player. He was looking for a man of character. That is what he got first and foremost. But Robinson’s success – along with that of others who quickly followed – ensured that Major League Baseball would open its doors to a huge pool of talent which would revitalize and revolutionize the game for decades to come.
For these reasons, I have a reverence for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and I wear their “B” insignia with pride.
I have a cousin who is a lifelong fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Every time I discuss his team with him, I am sure to refer to them as the “Brooklyn Dodgers” just to amuse myself. Los Angeles doesn’t seem right for them anyway ever since I discovered their full moniker was the “Trolley Dodgers”. For that reason, I’ve always felt like when they left Brooklyn, they should have relocated to San Francisco. Maybe New Orleans. You know, for continuity.
Well, I’ll just keep on calling them the Brooklyn Dodgers forever probably.