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Sports historians typically date the Golden Age of Baseball from 1947 to 1957. During this time, Americans were full of hope and optimism, having beaten back the forces of fascism in World War II and created a thriving economy. While all of America was swept up in the allure of the country’s greatest pastime, baseball was especially important to New York City during the sport’s golden age. At the time, the Big Apple was home to three hugely successful, albeit incredibly different, teams: the Yankees, the Dodgers, and the Giants. Examining the contributions these three teams made to New York during the Golden Age of Baseball serves as an important reminder of the continuing influence baseball has on New York.

The Yankees of the era were the quintessential American team. During the Golden Age, the Yankees went to the World Series eight times and won the greatest jewel of baseball’s crown seven times. The Yankees of the Golden Age were especially well-known for their top players, none more so than the great Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio took on the legacy of Yankees greats like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig by leading the team to victory with the likes of other legends of the era, including Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle.

While great in their own right, the Dodgers are usually seen as the antithesis of the Yankees. Based in Brooklyn, the Dodgers embraced the aura of a smalltown team when compared to the big corporate powerhouse that was the Yankees. During the Golden Era, the Dodgers led the way in integrating Major League Baseball by signing Jackie Robinson as the team’s second baseman. Robinson’s placement on the Dodgers proved to Americans that everyone could not only compete at a professional level but excel as well. Known for their rivalry with the Yankees, the Dodgers would finally beat the Bronx Bombers during a nail-biting 7-game World Series in 1955.

Last but not least, the Giants of the era showed the world all that could be accomplished through grit and raw skill. Once the reigning champions of New York, the Giants had come on hard times as they stood against the might of the burgeoning Yankees. As the 1951 playoffs approached, the Giants were behind their other crosstown rival, the Dodgers, by 13 and a half games. Catching up to the Dodgers, the Giants won an improbable match to score the pennant when Bobby Thompson hit one of the greatest home runs in the history of the sport. Like the Dodgers, the Giants won one World Series during the era, bringing the championship win home for New York in 1954.