Bobby Thomson and A Young Fan
Sure it’s just a posed publicity photo, but there was a time when ballplayers actually did interact with fans. At the New York Giants’ spring training home in Phoenix, Arizona, Bobby Thomson demonstrates to a little cowboy, Dennis Filan age five, the proper way to grip a baseball bat on March 6, 1953.
Thomson, who will forever occupy a spot in every Giants fans heart for hitting the most famous homerun in baseball history the “shot heard ’round the world” in 1951, was typical of many ballplayers before astronomical salaries became the norm for baseball. These players spent time among the fans.
Not only that, most players worked other jobs in the off-season to make ends meet. They lived among regular people, who went to the ballgames and had daily interactions with them. In New York and many other major league cities, most players took public transportation or walked to the ballpark from their homes. The players were an integral part of the community they played in.
It’s one of the reasons baseball is so screwed up today. Continue reading