17 September 2007

67 years ago today Sunset Park kid beats up umpire at Ebbets Field

The Cincinnati Reds concluded their season’s business with the Dodgers on a pleasant note yesterday [Sept. 16], beating Brooklyn, 4 to 3, in ten innings before a resentful crowd of 6,782 fans.

One Brooklyn Dodger fan (among many others) was quite displeased with umpire George Magerkarth’s reversal of umpire Bob Stewart’s decision during a September 17, 1940 game between the Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds at Ebbets Field. As the game ended, and the Reds had won 4 to 3, this hot-headed fan jumped from the stands and physically attacked “Mage,” throwing him to the ground and pummeling him.

[The berserk Dodger fan] Frank Gernano, an unemployed youth of twenty-one, who lives at 128 Thirty-third Street, Brooklyn, was arrested after the fight and taken to the 71st Precinct.
“Gernano was held in $500 bail in Brooklyn-Queens afternoon court for a hearing today on a charge of simple assault.

“As the Reds scored the winning run in the tenth with the aid of a decision by [umpire] George Magerkurth, one Brooklyn follower [Frank Gernano] became lost in unbridled fury. As soon as the game was over he jumped out of the stand, pounced on Magerkurth and pummeled him with several good rights and lefts before [fellow umpire] Bill Stewart and the Ebbets Field ushers could reach the scene of the battle.

“It was Stewart who prompted this curious ending to a ballgame, which carried little significance as far as the National League standings were concerned. With team mates on first and second and one out in the tenth, Frank McCormick [Reds 1b] grounded to Johnny Hudson [Dodgers ss], who tossed to Pete Coscarart [Dodgers 2b] on second. Coscarart, in a hurried attempt to make a double play, dropped the ball, but Stewart first ruled that a force-out had taken place at second


Anonymous said...

...a loss that allowed the Reds to move into 1st place...

That fan on top of George Magerkurth (long time Dodger nemesis) was Frank Germano a parole violater. He was briefly out on parole and went back to jail right after the incident. (What a dummy).
Magerkurth actually refused to press charges later. Maybe he figured he had already "robbed" the Dodgers and didn't want to press things further.
This whole thing happened after the game in which the Dodgers (specifically Durocher) were on Magerkurth the whole afternoon. This may have incited Germano but was no excuse for punching out the umpire. He blindsided him as George was ready to leave the field after the game was over.
Magerkuth had been a heavyweight fighter so in a fair fight Frankie would have gotten his butt kicked. The photo is a classic though.
Durocher received a five day suspension from Ford Frick for his part in "tending to incite a riot..."

Anonymous said...

Magerkurth's obit from 1966 mentions the fight, too