As a kid, I lived on Long Island, NY. I’ve actually spent two thirds of my life living on islands and still do. However, when you look at Long Island you realize it is sizable, 110 miles long and about 30 miles from south to north at roughly the middle. It’s hard to think of it as an island when you live there.
On Long Island there are two counties that are a part of New York City, Queens and Brooklyn. I was born in a hospital in Queens in 1940. A couple of days later I went with my new parents back to our home in Hicksville, a village in the town of Oyster Bay, which is in Nassau County, outside of NYC.
Given all that geometry, I should mention that there was a Major League baseball team in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Dodgers. One would think that as a boy I would root for the Dodgers, but my parents were from southern New Jersey, and although they did not follow baseball, my Uncle Arthur did. He was a Philadelphia Phillies fan…and so was I.
Our TV was black and white in those days. I never saw a game in color on TV. And then my Uncle took me to Connie Mack stadium in Philadelphia to a night game between the Phillies and the Dodgers. I was probably around ten at the time.
I cannot tell you who won, but it was the time of the Whiz Kids, and Philly could certainly have won. What I can tell you is that I will always remember the colors of the uniforms and the color of the grass. Both were a sight to be seen for a boy who had watched games only in black and white. I was a little disappointed to see that the uniforms of the Dodgers stood out in the bright lights of the night game much more so than the uniforms of my team.
And there was one other thing I saw. It was simply amazing. A Dodger swung, and the ball climbed like a rocket, easily lifting itself over the very high double decker left field stands and out of sight into the streets of Philadelphia.
The man who did it was named Jackie Robinson! I can still see it happening.