Sixty years ago, the Dodgers played their final season in Brooklyn before packing up and moving west to Los Angeles for the 1958 season. Their home from April 9, 1913, to September 24, 1957, was Ebbets Field, a bandbox of a stadium that was built on a garbage dump in a Brooklyn neighborhood called Pigtown.
After the Dodgers left, the park languished for a few years, but on February 23, 1960, demolition began. A crowd of 200 watched a wrecking ball, painted like a baseball, smash the former home of the Dodgers to pieces to make room for a 1,300-unit public housing project, fittingly called Ebbets Field Apartments.
At the time, fans could buy a stadium seat for $5 and a piece of sod for 25 cents.
Now, a 21-pound slab of Italian marble from the stadium’s ticket rotunda is the Consignment of the Week from Heritage Auctions. The slab, listed as item No. 80061, will be part of the two-day Platinum Night Sports Collectibles Catalog auction beginning August 19. That is an ironic day in New York baseball history, as the Giants on that day in 1957 announced their intention to move west to San Francisco.
On February 23, 1960, a farewell luncheon was hosted in the stadium’s rotunda. On that day, baseball historian Lee Allen was presented the key that Charles H. Ebbets used to open the doors of the park in 1913. The key went straight to the Hall of Fame. Former catcher Roy Campanella, paralyzed in an automobile accident in January 1958, attended and was presented with his No. 39 jersey and his old locker. The cornerstone was bought by National League President Warren Giles and was shipped to Cooperstown.
The piece of marble offered by Heritage Auctions was sold at a construction salvage auction in New Jersey during the late 1980s. A handwritten letter by the man who won the piece said the slab was stacked in a pile of marble he was examining for table tops. After a brief bidding war, the man lugged the slab to his Brooklyn home, where he kept it for more than 25 years.
The marble is 21 inches wide by 9 inches high and is an inch thick. It shows its age with brown age spots, but Heritage Auctions said there are no cracks or chipping issues.
The opening bid was $6,000. Internet bidding for the slab will close at 10 p.m. Central Daylight Time on August 19, with extended bidding available.