Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Good morning. Today is the 59th day of the year. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Feb. 28, 1886, carried a story about “Reminiscences of Thirty Years of Base Ball.” In 1856, the writer says, 10 amateur games in Brooklyn a year (at that time, all games were amateur) was considered a lot. In 1886, by contrast, “a thousand permits for ball games were given out for the Prospect Park Parade Grounds alone.” The story went on to talk about the rivalry throughout the 1850s and 1860s between two Brooklyn teams, the Excelsiors and the Atlantics, and how this rivalry increased the popularity of the game. The first professional baseball league was founded in 1871, and the team that eventually became the Dodgers was organized in 1883.
It is also the birth anniversary (1906) of Brooklyn-born gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. In his twenties, Siegel, known as an uncontrollable, violent thug (thus the nickname “Bugsy”), began an alliance with Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello. In the late 1930s, the mob sent him to California to help establish rackets there. After World War II, he began to construct a hotel and casino in Las Vegas known as the Flamingo. The hotel was initially a failure, and the mob bosses back East became alarmed when they had to put more and more money into it. Finally, in 1947, Siegel was shot at his girlfriend’s home.
Well-known people who were born today include architect Frank Gehry, singer-actress Bernadette Perry (“Dames at Sea,” “Annie Get Your Gun”), Brooklyn-born actor John Turturro (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” “Quiz Show”) and former race car driver Mario Andretti.