Feb 14, 2016

Remembering the Mayor's Trophy Games: Part One (1946-1963)

The Mayor's Trophy Game was an exhibition game held in New York City between the Nations League New York Giants & the A.L. New York Club starting in 1946. Eventually by 1950 the Brooklyn Dodgers took over representing the New York National League. The funds that were raised went to help promote sandlot baseball in New York City.

When the Giants & Dodgers left for the West Coast, the Mayors Trophy game looked like it was doomed. But efforts were made & in 1958 an exhibition game between the Milwaukee Braves & AL New York Club was played. In 1960 the now relocated Los Angeles Dodgers played & in 1961 the San Francisco Giants came back to the Bronx for the game in July.

In 1946 two games were held one in the Bronx & one in the Polo Grounds. That year the AL new York team took both games. In 1947 after losing the first game the Giants took the second game on August 18th, with a 4-1 win, as Bobby Thompson & Johnny Mize were the hitting stars.

By 1948 only one game was to be held annually, alternating ballparks for home field advantage. In the 1948 game, the game was overshadowed by Babe Ruth's death. The players paid tribute as a moment of silence was recognized. The game went into extra innings with the AL club winning it.

In 1950 the Brooklyn Dodgers played their first Mayors Trophy game to a record (at the time) 71,289 fans for an exhibition game. Although Brooklyn lost in the 10th inning, Roy Campanella won MVP honors with a HR, while throwing out three base runners trying to steal.

In 1953 Brooklyn walloped with a 9-0 win, as Wayne Belardi hit a pair of HRs & drove in six runs. Johnny Podres was the winning pitcher. T

he next year, the Dodgers had only two hits the entire game but won it 2-1. Duke Snider hit a solo HR & Jim Gilliam drove in Don Hoak in the 8th inning for the game winner. For this game attendance had dropped drastically to 28,084.

The Giants returned in 1955 & in 1956 no game was played. In 1957 an estimated crowd of 30,000 showed up for the final game in which the two National League New York clubs would be in existence.

In 1958 the Milwaukee Braves came to town to play the exhibition game. A HR derby was held before the game with Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Joe Aadcock, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle & Moose Skowron all participating. Milwaukee won the game 4-3 in front of just 13,000 fans.

After another hiatus, the Los Angeles Dodgers came to town in 1960. Their proceeds went to the Roy Campanella fund. This was part of the home & away exhibition series with the AL New York team & the Dodgers.

Many remember the game at the L.A. Coliseum the previous year, where Pee Wee Reese took Campy to the field in his wheel chair as the Coliseum was lit up in candlelight. At the '60 Game, Gil Hodges drove in the winning run with a 7th inning triple.

In 1961 it was the Giants return to New York & the crowd of 47,346 seemed to go wild, cheering Willie Mays every time he came onto the field.

On this hot humid night The Sporting News wrote that Willie Mays "drew what amounted to a continuous ovation whenever he was on the field, and at times it thundered louder than the turbulent storms which had almost washed away the game."

Mays two run single proved to be the winning runs in the 4-1 win.

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