– Giants Last Game at the Polo Grounds
My dad was a Giants fan from his early childhood. He was at three games enshrined in the Hall of Fame: the 1934 All-Star game at the Polo Grounds (my brother has the score card). Carl Hubbell started for the National League. Gehringer led off the first with a single. Manush walked. Ruth, Gehrig and Foxx all struck out. In the second Hubbell struck out Simmons and Cronin. Dickey singled and Gomez struck out.
Dad was also at the 1954 World Series game where Mays made “The Catch” off of Vic Wertz.
He took me, 14 years of age, to the last Giants game at the Polo Grounds. The Giants lost to the Pirates, but the game was of no consequence to the pennant race. The stands were another story. There were old-time players, movie stars and other notables. Bands of kids roamed around seeking autographs, I got several myself.
We were sitting in the reserve section behind home plate, and several rows behind us sat an attractive young woman with green hair, very unusual in those days. The people we were sitting with encouraged me to get her autograph, thinking she must be a movie star. I handed her my scorecard, and she signed it: “Here’s hoping the Giants do better in San Francisco, Martha Schwab.” Gangs of kids followed me seeking Martha’s autograph. The next day the paper carried a story about a kid who led a stampede to a girl with green hair. I was that kid. She was a chorus girl at the Copa Cabana.
Dusty Rhodes grounded out to end the game. After that the players ran for the centerfield clubhouse, and the fans poured on to the field. The bases disappeared. A kid with a pocket knife was cutting up the pitchers rubber and handing out pieces. In the stands, a guy pulled out some sort of a wrench and was trying to unbolt his seat. Security guards approached him. He brandished the wrench threateningly saying something about sitting in that seat for 30 years and it was his. Security backed off. In center field someone displayed a hangman’s noose, and the fans started chanting “We want Stoneham (the Giants owner) with a rope around his neck.” Needless to say Stoneham never appeared. Neither did Willie Mays when they chanted for their hero.
On the train ride from 155th to 167th street, where we lived, there was a kid sitting across from us, his eyes flashing back and forth, protecting something bulky under his jacket. He had home plate.
Dad and I always laughed about Martha Schwab, the girl with the green hair.