He’s doing it for the fans.
The son of a former Brooklyn Dodgers star is auctioning off some of his father’s prized memorabilia, giving baseball-lovers a chance to own a piece of their favorite pastime, he said.
“I had these bits of great baseball history locked up in a safety deposit box, and I figured that they really belong to fans and historians — the people who really appreciate this stuff,” said Ernie Lavagetto, 68, the son of Harry Arthur “Cookie” Lavagetto, who played for Brooklyn from 1937 to 1941 and again from 1946 to 1947, serving in the military during WWII in between.
Cookie is most remembered for the last hit of his Dodgers career: a line drive in the bottom of the ninth of game four of the 1947 World Series between Brooklyn and the New York Yankees that scored his team’s game-winning run and robbed Yankees pitcher Floyd “Bill” Bevens of a no-hitter. And while the Yankees went on to win the series, that game has since been known as “The Cookie Game” due to his winning play.
The items in the auction, which is being held online at stein
“Compare a fielder’s glove from 1948 to one from today and you will notice amazing technological innovation,” he said. “I don’t know how players caught balls with those old gloves, their hands must have had calluses about two inches thick in order to catch them.”
Ernie, who lives in California, said growing up with a dad who played for, coached, and managed professional baseball teams gave him access to the sport that most fans can only dream of, but, ironically, he never got to play it himself.
“I spent my life in and out of stadiums until my dad retired in 1967, and I got to meet players like Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, and Ty Cobb,” he said. “But I never got to play organized baseball because I’d be in California in the winter then go back east in the summer, so there was no permanent spot where I could join Little League.”
And though he is parting with many of his dad’s possessions for the enjoyment of fans, Ernie said there is some memorabilia that he just can not let go of.
“I have tons of scrapbooks with newspaper clippings about my father that probably wouldn’t interest anyone outside of hard-core historians,” he said. “They are of more interest to me because they tell my father’s story, which is more important than these things I’m selling.”