Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Baseball place No. 62: Yankee Tavern, and No. 62A: The Dugout

Maybe it’s time for Josh Pahigian’s fellow Red Sox fans to call for an intervention.

Because once again, Josh is bringing us to another stinking Yankee haunt as place No. 62 in his “101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out.”

Let me state for the record, I can think of no reason to enter The Yankee Tavern. For one thing, I wasn’t exaggerating when I called it a “stinking” Yankee haunt.

Josh says fans and even players have been showing up in the bar, located at 72 East 161st Street in the Bronx, since 1923. He claims the walls are covered in artifacts – including some from Derek F. Jeter -- and that fans pack the place after games.

Just imagine the stench of arrogance and entitlement reeking from the walls of that place! It would take more than a Costco-sized vat of Pine-Sol to deal with that.

Obviously, I’ve kept my distance.

But there was a worthy dining establishment not far from home while I was growing up in Massapequa Park. That would be:

Alternative Place No. 62A) The Dugout.

Like Shea, Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds, some baseball landmarks remain only in our memories. The Dugout is one such place.

Co-owned by Ed Kranepool and Ron Swoboda, the restaurant was located at 1000 Broadway in Amityville, N.Y.

The ads in the Mets programs and yearbooks beckoned. “Every day is Banner Day.” “Prime Ribs, Our Specialty.” “Reduced Children’s Menu.” “Birthday Cakes.”

We went to the Dugout on a special occasion one year. I expected to see Ed and Ron there, in uniform. It was the only way I’d ever seen them. And if you had a real Mets uniform, you’d wear it all the time, too.

Alas, they were nowhere to be found. And I have little recollection of what we ate, or even of the décor, other than it being kind of dark.

But I remember in a glass case by the register sat the most glorious collection of treasures I’d ever seen – baseballs autographed by Kranepool and Swoboda.

Later, Dad came back from paying the bill and presented me with one of the inscribed orbs – my first autograph. I was one happy kid.

And for years, the ball was proudly displayed on a shelf in my room with other treasures.

The Dugout didn’t last too many years. Thanks to Google Maps, I checked out 1000 Broadway to see what sits on the site today. It’s a KFC, probably without a plaque or any other marker noting the history of the acreage.

But I’d still rather go to a KFC – which always smells better than it tastes – than that Yankee Tavern.


Steve J. Rogers said...

Was that the same as the LF, or whatever it was called Lounge that Agee and I think either one of those two were partners as well? I know they advertized in Met publications of the day as well.

I know I get crap about it, and I said it eariler in your Rusty's on 5th entry but I'd like to see something like that again with the Met name, or a famous Met attached to it. Be a great watering hole for Met fans, that's for darn sure.

Steve J. Rogers said...

Never mind, quick Google search suggests Tommie's place, Outfielder's Lounge was close to Shea. Can't seem to pinpoint an address at the moment, or even when it closed (certainly long before I started my drinking career, otherwise I would have stopped and patronized the place, hell even before I could legally buy a beer!)

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Steve, until you and Greg mentioned it, I had forgotten all about the Outfielder's Lounge. Pretty cool stuff!

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