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Summer of ‘47

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP,MACE You will recall in Jake the Pickle Man I started to tell stories of my past on the advice of my son Brad. This blog is dedicated to Phil Rizzuto. This is my story of my Summer of ’47. 1947 was a great year for both the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. It was also a great year for the Bronx Redwings baseball team. I was starting first baseman because I was the only lefty on the team. We lived in the Bronx on Mount Eden Avenue, fourteen blocks from Yankee Stadium on 161st St. and nineteen blocks for the Polo Grounds on 155th St. None of my teammates’ families could afford to send us to summer camp so we figure out how to entertain ourselves while increasing our baseball skills. We all met at Geller’s Candy Store at promptly 8 am each morning. Some of us got there a little early. We thumbed through Mr. Geller’s New York Daily News. Next, we went to the baseball field in Claremont Park to practice until 11:30 a.m. We did not have a coach so we had to improve our skills by watching and imitating major league ballplayers. At 11:30 we all went into our respective apartment buildings for lunch. We met at Geller’s at 12:15 p.m. When the New York Yankees were in town we wore Yankee hats. When the New York Giants were in town we wore Giant hats. We walked to the Mt Eden Avenue Subway station IND (Number 4) when the Yankees were in town, paid a nickel to get into the subway and got a free transfer for the 161st St. to 155th St. shuttle. We got off the subway at Yankee Stadium on 161st Street. We stood outside the box seat entrance and invariably would be taken into the stadium by some business men in suits, ties and fedoras. We were cute kids and they looked respectable. After a Yankee game, we used the subway transfer to ride the shuttle over to 155th St. We took the IRT (B train) back to Jerome Avenue and 174th St. When the New York Giants were in town we took the Jerome Avenue IRT(B train) subway to 155th St. and got off at the Polo Grounds. We stood outside the box seat with our New York Giants hat on and again we were taken into the stadium by businessmen who had extra tickets for some cute looking kids. We repeated the routine going home, taking the shuttle to 161st St. and then the IND (4) to Mount Eden Avenue. The business men taught us a lot about baseball as did our powers of observation. The experience was our substitute coach. We would discuss the game, the pitchers and the strategies used on the way home after each game. We saw almost every weekday game in the Summer of ‘47. The games started at 1:05 p.m. and were always over by between 3:30 and 4:05 p.m. We always beat the rush hour on the subway. Our mothers’ had supper for us at 5:30. We were out on the baseball field by 6:30 to practice what we learned that day. The Summer of ’47 was a great summer for me and my teammates. We learned the beauty of the game of baseball in the most fabulous environment in the world. Cost was about $3.00 for the subway the entire summer. The value of the experience was priceless. Think about it. Would you let your kids do this in Bronx today? People do not even let their kids walk to school by themselves. Would you let a stranger take you child to a baseball game? Would you let him in a public park by himself to play baseball for six hours a day? Unfortunately, some things have changed in America. We now know the price of everything and the value of nothing. This is also true of our healthcare system. We are driving the humanity out of the healthcare system and destroying the physician patient relationship. It has to stop and the patients and future patients are the only ones who can stop the trend.

  • Gards

    Great story. It is unfortunate that today’s youth, especially in larger cities, isn’t experiencing this. Community and team sport among friends, especially in the summers, certainly defined my youth.

  • Parkite

    I was fortunate enough to have similar experiences in the summer. Baseball all day, everyday. Rode my bike everywhere. The sad thing is my kids will never experience this kind of freedom due to the danger that exists in society today. I guess that is the price we pay here in America.

  • jetlag11

    I’m from Washington Heights. Our family was divided; my brother and dad were Giants fans but I lived and died (and still do) with the Yankees. 47 was a great year. They used to win their games at 5PM, often with old reliable #15 leading the way (Tommy Henrichs).
    By the way, thanks for bringing the shuttle back. However, you have the transit lines reversed. The Jerome Avenue line (which wasn’t numbered back then) and the shuttle were IRT, and the B train was the BB and IND. On the IND, you could take the CC or the D to the Stadium, and the AA or BB to the Polo Grounds.
    I think you also have the physician-patient bit wrong, too. When the physician was the father figure, he could – mostly figuratively – get away with murder.

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