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From the Stars and Stripes archives

Fans wait all night for bleacher seats

By SID GANS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 6, 1949

NEW YORK, Oct. 5 — The weatherman said, "Rain, maybe," but that didn't deter the faithful, who streamed toward the Yankee Stadium and the sign that read:

"Bleacher line forms here. $1.00."

They came from far and near and everywhere — and Brooklyn. Parked comfortably, right under that big "$1.00," with portable radio and food kit, was Joe H. Gabionwitz, a Navy vet who lives in Newark, N. J. He staked his claim to first place at 6 pm Monday night, 43 hours before the first pitch at 1 pm today.

Gabionwitz held the fort alone until 7 am yesterday, when he was joined by mother and daughter, Mrs. Henrietta and Beverly Brafman, two New Yorkers. The line grew slowly all through yesterday, and by nightfall there were about 100 patient souls eying that big, beautiful "$1.00."

The line was protected by a police barrier, and the crowds came to peep at the diehards who wanted to be first into the ball park. One old guy among the gapers at 7 pm muttered, "Characters! Characters! They need psychiatrists, that's what they need."

And the line continued to grow. The portables were tuned in on the all-night programs, and the boys and girls munched on sandwiches or huddled beneath blankets stretched out on the sidewalks.

Through the long night the arguments would start between the pro-Dodgers and the pro-Yankees, and immediately the gapers scurried to surround the antagonists, while the faithful held onto their place in line, jealously.

"I'm from the Bronx but I'm for the Dodgers," cried Herb Kanasy, and he waved a bandaged finger and other wound dressings in the photographer's face. "Take my picture."

It turned out his bandaged finger was labeled "Yogi Berra," and scrawled on the splint on his arm was "Bob Porterfield" and one of the signs he carried read, "We'll cripple those Yankees."

A girl in line spotted a photographer through the crowd. "I'm from Baltimore," she yelled. "Take my picture."

Another fan buttonholed the cameraman. "I came from Toronto," he complained, "and I have to wait all night for a bleacher seat. Take my picture."

It was 2 am and the crowd in line had grown to about 1,000 — but there were no statistics on how many had come from Brooklyn. And the gapers still moseyed along the line, wondering why anybody would wait all night just to see a ball game that they could see more comfortably in their favorite saloon. The same old guy muttered, "Characters! Characters! What they need is a psychiatrist."

Fans wait outside Yankee Stadium hoping to get bleacher seats for the 1949 World Series.
SID GANS / ©STARS AND STRIPES

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