Saturday, November 27, 2010

Plague of the Plaque

(From an article in the SF Examiner on October 26, 2010, by Katie Worth,)

The story starts close to 100 years ago, when a graceful utility infielder named Eddie Grant spent 2 1/2 seasons on the New York Giants. He was not a typical ballplayer- in off-seasons he went to Harvard University and acquired a law degree.

"Harvard Eddie," as he came to be known, retired from the game at 32 years of age, in 1915. Two years later, World War I broke out, and though he was not drafted because of his age, he volunteered. In 1918, he was killed in battle in the French Argonne Forrest.

On Memorial Day in 1921, the New York Giants honored Grant by placing a plaque on a memorial-right in the middle of deep center field, at the Polo Grounds.

The plaque remained there until 1957, during which time the Giants won four (4) World Series titles. But when the Giants decided to move to San Francisco, the plaque disappeared.

The Giants let the mystery rest and little was said about the plaque until the late 1990s, when a Smithsonian article about up the war hero's history. During the next several years, multiple organizations offered to replace the plaque but the Giants' brass blew off the opportunity, saying Grant was part of New York Giant history, not San Francisco Giant history.

Finally, in the mid-2000s-after the team's most recent blown chance for a World Series title (I'm guessing 2002), and after several articles began linking the missing plaque with a string of bad luck with a title on the line stories- the Giants starting paying attention.

On Memorial Day 2006, a replica of the plaque was put up at AT&T Park near the Lefty O'Doul gate.

Said Pat Gallaher, president of Giants Development Services, "Baseball fans are so superstitious, and players are too, so you have to take this stuff seriously." "And if by putting up a plaque we can break some sort of curse, who's to say it's not the right thing to do."

As a Giants' fan I must add...This is just another example of the exemplary job done by the San Francisco Giants' front office.

Kevin J. Marquez