Baseball and Jackie Robinson

Map of Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York. Sanborn Company, 1938

Looking at Sanborn Fire Insurance maps helps researchers visualize a subject. In this case, a map of the Ebbets Field area emphasizes how small the Dodgers' home stadium was --surrounded by streets on all sides. McKeever Place parallelled the third baseline, Sullivan Place ran along the first baseline, and Bedford Avenue hemmed in right field. When the stadium opened in 1913, the seating capacity was 18,000; the left field grandstand (shown in this map) helped expand capacity to almost 32,000 by the time Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers. The stands were close enough to the field that fans could see the player's faces. Other features of the map indicate the materials used to build the apartments, garages, and businesses that surrounded the stadium. Frame (wood) buildings are shown in yellow, and brick buildings are shown in pink.