The Last Of The Brooklyn Dodgers (Richard Staff, 2/19/24, Defector)

The team moved west 40 years before I was born, but I’m familiar with Brooklyn fan dedication through my grandfather, Duke. He’s 88 and still has a bedroom drawer full of Dodger cards; they have pinholes through them, from when he’d put the team’s depth chart on his cork board. To distract from the agony of the subpar Mets seasons he subjected me to—no reason to be more specific, here—he’d tell the story of listening to Bobby Thomson’s pennant-clinching home run from the Polo Grounds on his radio. Used to the sound of cheers being a good thing on the home Dodger broadcasts, his mother came into the room celebrating what she thought was another trip to the World Series for the Bums. Seven decades later, he remembers wanting to throw the radio to make that cheering stop.

“Our fans got attached to us players in a different way,” said Carl Erskine, the only surviving Dodger to take the field during the team’s 1955 World Series win. “Of course the players who perform well always have a good following. I wasn’t exactly a superstar, but I had people who identified with me. I had a fan club, a bunch of teenage girls who all wore number 17 with a president, a vice president, and so on.” The world has changed in many ways since then, but a mid-rotation starter having a fan club of his own has never been normal.

“Many years later,” Erskine continued, “I went back to a function in New York and all these grandmothers showed up to meet me at the card show. They were all the teenage fans from the club, just a little bit older now.” He laughed when he told the story. “I didn’t have any of them tell me they named their kids after me. But it could’ve happened.”

Legen has it that one of the few times in his life the Grandfather Judd from the (Sunday) sabbath was to go to a 1955 Dodgers World Series game.