The story about the fan in St. Louis being grazed with a stray bullet reminded one of our commenters, and in turn, reminded me, about a crazy thing that happened at a ballgame back in 1950. The game: Brooklyn Dodgers vs. the New York Giants. The place: the Polo Grounds. The crazy thing: a fan was shot and killed while sitting in his seat during the game. The shot came from the roof of one of those apartment buildings to the third base side of the stadium in the picture above.
The entire story of it, complete with photos and stuff, was recapped by David Pincus at Sports Illustrated three years ago. Read it all here. The craziest part about it all? The game went on. And the fans didn’t even seem to care. Not even the 13-year-old boy who went to the game with the victim:
“Standees fought over Doyle’s empty seat as medics carried the dead man away,” reported the New York Daily News. Even Flaig, Doyle’s compatriot, seemed more upset that the incident caused him to miss the game than that his neighbor had been killed before his eyes.
“Young Otto himself complained that the detectives’ questions were making him miss the ballfield action,” the Daily News story continued. “‘I’ve been dreaming about this game for a month,” he grumbled.'”
We’re often accused of being a coarser, less caring society today than we were back then, but can you imagine if that happened today? The game would certainly be stopped. A national conversation would ensue. The people who flocked to the dead man’s seat would be castigated as monsters. It would dominate the news for days. In the 1950s? Eh, just a thing that happened, man.
Like I said. Crazy.