Craig “Doc” Davidson is too young to have seen Ebbets Field. The Brooklyn Dodgers abandoned their famed stadium in 1957, when he was 5.
So the 1970 Staples grad — and avid baseball fan — did the best thing he could: He painted a mural of it inside the fence surrounding his Compo Beach home.
Of course, calling this a “mural” is like saying Barry Bonds bulked up a bit late in his career. Doc checked with the Hall of Fame to ensure historical accuracy — from the scoreboard showing a 1955 World Series game against the Yankees (that’s why the stadium’s full) to the Abe Stark right-centerfield ad (“hit sign, win suit”).
Doc acknowledges two anomalies: Batter Duke Snider was actually a lefty. (Doc had him bat righty so mural viewers would not see his back). And Hilda Chester, the Bums’ famed cowbell-banging fan, sat in the bleachers. (Doc put her in the grandstand because he did not paint bleacher faces.)
The current mural is actually Doc’s 2nd. The 1st rotted away. He had a little help from his friends — Howard Munce painted the dugout — but this work of art is truly a Doc Davidson original.
Is it on par with the Sistine Chapel? Of course not.
Doc Davidson stands in front of his mural (that's his grill in the lower right corner). Yes, those are all individual fans.
Play ball! Here's the Ebbets Field infield -- with Jackie Robinson stealing 3rd base.
Center and right field. The Abe Stark ad is below the Schaefer scoreboard.
If you search hard enough, everything in the world has a Westport connection.
Even Satchel Paige.
Tomorrow at 7 p.m., Craig “Doc” Davidson — who in 1970 was thrown off the Staples baseball team for long hair — will show his new documentary, “Pitching Man,” at the Westport Library. A celebration of the legendary Negro League pitcher who became a Major League rookie at 42, the film’s never-before-seen images add power to an already compelling story.
Included too is an interview Doc did with Paige shortly before his death in 1982.
“Pitching Man” builds on Doc’s previous effort, “There Was Always Sun Shining Someplace.” That video — narrated by James Earl Jones — is a broader look at baseball before Jackie Robinson. It has become a staple of PBS fundraising. Doc jokes, “I never made it into the Hall of Fame. But my film did.”
Making his films, Doc grew impressed with the perserverance of Negro League players, against tremendous obstacles. He also learned that, rare for the era, Paige made money. During World War II he was the highest paid player in the country — black or white.
This film’s audience, Doc says, is “baseball lovers; anyone who adores history, and kids and parents.” Because baseball is, Doc notes, “the great melting pot,” those numbers are huge. When he told a few Westport Little League dads about tomorrow’s showing, one said, “Great! My son loves Satchel Paige.”
The library will provide free peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Take that, Citi Field!
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