This photo of a Brooklyn Dodgers fan fighting an umpire is as good as it gets.
Don’t you miss the days when baseball stadiums could get rough and rowdy at the drop of a hat? Scratch that: Don’t you miss the days when you could just, like, be inside baseball stadiums?
Ahh, memories. Memories from 2019.
You can’t tell the story of the Los Angeles Dodgers without taking things back to Brooklyn, when Dem Bums ruled and the unruly and legendary fans were a perfect contrast to the buttoned-up losers (ok, fine, winners) up in the Bronx.
But before the Yankees and Dodgers locked horns throughout the 1940s and 1950s and became the game’s preeminent cross-city rivalry, Brooklyn’s side was still getting its bearings at the start of the decade, trying to establish themselves as the rough and tumble underdog. It was weird at Ebbets Field quite often — for instance, this September game in 1940, captured beautifully in a photograph, that featured a fan rushing out of the stands to attack the umpire.
Was “Kill the umpire!” a thing before this event happened? If so, why?
Honestly, it doesn’t get more “Great Depression” than this photograph. Hey, anything goes! If you can afford to attend a ballgame during a national depression, you deserve special permissions. Go sock the ump while you’re here, why not.
Of course, over the next few years, the Dodgers racked up far more positive history than simply becoming”The Team With The Ump-Beating Fans”. Mickey Owen’s passed ball third strike hid the fact to history that the Dodgers made the World Series the very next season. By the end of the decade, too, this became the team that shattered the color barrier.
Look no further than the Brooklyn Dodgers as you attempt to explain the success of the modern game of baseball.
Fortunately, they didn’t bring umpire assault with them to the west coast, though.