Los Angeles Dodgers Have No Right To Claim the Brooklyn Dodgers' History

Harold FriendChief Writer IFebruary 16, 2011

Pee Wee Reese is a Hall of Fame shortstop. He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1940, and is considered to have played his entire career for one team. He did not.

Following the 1957 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. Reese played for Los Angeles in 1958, which was his final year in the major leagues.

A franchise is defined as "the right or license granted by a company to an individual or group to market its products or services in a specific territory."

Los Angeles is about 3,000 miles from Brooklyn.

Major League Baseball ignores the accepted meaning of the term. It considers the Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers to be the same franchise.

The Los Angeles Dodgers count Jackie Robinson as one their own. Forget the fact that Robinson never played in Los Angeles for the baseball team.

Ignoring the valid definition of a franchise simplifies records and brushes aside the fact that if a team can increase revenues by moving to another city, it will attempt to do just that.

The National League was founded in 1876, and the American League was founded in 1901. The first team to leave its city of origin since there have been two leagues were the American League's Milwaukee Brewers, who moved to St. Louis to become the Browns in 1902.

The next franchise move occurred when the American League's Baltimore Orioles moved to New York to become the team now known as the Yankees.

Since the early 20th century, Major League franchises have relocated to different cities a total of 13 times. In some instances, the move was justified because the team was not being supported.

The St. Louis Browns played second fiddle to the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Philadelphia Athletics were the Philadelphia Phillies' poor cousins.

The Brooklyn Dodgers were doing quite well in Brooklyn, but owner Walter O'Malley claimed that he needed a new ballpark. Los Angeles made him an offer he refused to refuse, and the rest is history.

In 2011, the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to "honor" their Brooklyn heritage by wearing uniforms the Dodgers used when they played in Brooklyn. Little is mentioned that the Los Angeles is "honoring" a different franchise and a different team.

There is nothing wrong in honoring the Brooklyn Dodgers, a team that existed from 1883-1957. The Los Angeles Dodgers have every right to pay tribute to its Brooklyn roots, but it is not honoring its own history.

Joan Hodges, the widow of the great Brooklyn first baseman and former manager of sports' most beloved team, the New York Mets, supports the promotion.

"It's a wonderful thing," said the widow of legendary first baseman. "The Dodgers are the Dodgers, and they'll always have a special place in the heart of the people of Brooklyn. It's the name the Dodgers—not the city—that matters."

Many disagree with Mrs. Hodges.

Brooklyn Dodger' die-hards such as Charles Solomonson, 85, of Bergen Beach, doesn't mince words.

"They shouldn't even talk about 'the Brooklyn Dodgers' any more since they left," he said. "I don't think they should even be allowed to do this."

The Los Angeles National League baseball team can do whatever it sees fits with respect to the Brooklyn franchise, but it must be acknowledged that the Brooklyn Dodgers ceased to exist after the 1957 season.


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