Thursday, May 29, 2008

Where the streets... (take 3)

Nine months ago I started a series called "Where the Streets Have Fun Names." Las Vegas is full of small housing developments, complete with their own creatively named courts and avenues, and I thought it would be fun to share screencaps of these quirky neighborhoods from Google Maps.

This is the third such post. At this rate, expect a new one in about 4.5 months.

Baseball season is in full [insert pun here], and I felt this area of town was appropriate. While the Las Vegas 51s are part of the Dodgers farm system, this set of streets makes a better tribute to the team from Brooklyn, now in its 50th year in Los Angeles. Here's the alphabetical breakdown.

Campanella Street: Catcher Roy Campanella played his entire major league career (1948-1957) in Brooklyn. Half-black, he was originally barred from playing major league baseball, but was part of the Dodgers' effort to break the color barrier. He and Don Newcombe (see below) helped make history within the Dodgers farm team in Nashua, New Hampshire; in 1946, it became the first pro baseball team of the 20th century to integrate its lineup. He was called up to the majors the season after Jackie Robinson.

Cominskey Street: I see two problems here. First, the guy's name was Charles Comiskey, with no N. Second, he is best known as owner of the Chicago White Sox (1901-1931) and namesake of its famous ballpark (1910-1990). Where's the Dodger connection?

Doggett Avenue: Jerry Doggett voiced radio broadcasts for Dodger games from 1956-1987, working alongside the legendary Vin Scully. Any relation to The X-Files characters Dana Scully and John Doggett is NOT coincidental; show creator Chris Carter is a Dodger fan. (And in case you're wondering, pitcher Mark Mulder has only played for Oakland and St. Louis.)

Dressen Avenue: Chuck Dressen managed the Dodgers from 1951-1953. He was on the losing end of the Shot Heard 'Round the World, by which the Giants miraculously won the National League pennant.

Erskine Avenue: Carl Erskine was another Dodgers lifer (1948-1959) who added to the annals of baseball literature in 2004 with his first-person account of the team's glory days.

Hodges Avenue: Gil Hodges, originally a catcher, was moved to first base to accommodate the superior play of Roy Campanella (above). He was a Dodger from 1947-1961. Wikipedia claims he had his best seasons when the Dodgers did not win the pennant, but was less solid when they did. This inverse relationship is described as one of the reasons he is not in the Hall of Fame.

Labine Street: Pitcher Clem Labine spelled relief for the Dodgers (1950-1960) and set a franchise record for career games pitched, with 425.

Newcombe Street: Don Newcombe pitched for the Dodgers starting in 1949, and still serves the organization at the administrative level. He joined Roy Campanella (above) and Jackie Robinson in breaking baseball's color barrier; they, along with Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians, were the first black players named to the All-Star team.

Shea Street: Like Charles Comiskey (above), William Shea has a stadium named after him but is of no relation to the Dodgers. Though he did bring National League baseball back to NYC, 5 years after the Dodgers and Giants moved to California.

Yeager Avenue: Steve Yeager played for the Dodgers at least a generation later than anyone else here, from 1972-1985. He's also the nephew of test pilot Chuck Yeager.

Across the street is another subdivision that contains mostly beachy names like Desert Shale and Coral Rainbow, but has a small section of roads named for comparatively newer Dodger names: Cedeno, DeShields, Hernandez, Nomo, and Tapani.


Quinn said...

Kudos for including that the integration of Robinson, Campanella, and Newcombe was really a re-integration from 19th century practices.

Neel Mehta said...

I've read a little about baseball history, and it always struck me as odd that (at least in baseball) America was less racist in the late 1800s than they were by the 1940s.

pilgrimchick said...

Interesting choice for street names, actually, but entertaining nonetheless.

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