The years immediately following World War II were a golden age for baseball attendance. In 1945 the Major Leagues drew more than 10.8 million, breaking a fifteen-year-old record. The next year, they eclipsed that total by more than 70 percent, attracting more than 18.5 million paying fans. The 1947 season was even better, producing nearly 19.9 million paid-for and filled seats.
That year was especially productive for the National League. It outdrew the American League for the only time between 1944 and 1952, overcoming the junior circuit’s formidable 27 percent advantage in seating capacity to lead it by nearly 10 percent. Brooklyn topped the league with more than million at home and nearly 1.9 million on the road—both were league records. If one includes the World Series, those numbers rise to more than million and nearly 2.2 million. The home figures are particularly impressive considering that the Dodgers were limited by playing in a park with 34,000 seats, the league’s second smallest. By filling nearly 79 percent of Ebbets Field’s available seats, they set a Major League record that stood for thirty-five years, until the Los Angeles incarnation of the team filled Dodger Stadium to 79.6 percent of capacity while drawing 3.6 million.
Counting their World Series home games, the Dodgers attracted more than 38 percent of the total NL gate as hosts or as visitors. Their games, home and away, drew 87 percent better on average than NL games not involving the team. Including the World Series, more than 4.1 million paying fans saw the Dodgers play in 1947.
Along the way to setting these full-season records, the Dodgers notched several notable daily figures. Facing the Giants at Ebbets Field on August 30, they set a Brooklyn single game record of 37,512. On August 18, playing the Cardinals in a day/night, separate-admissions doubleheader, they drew 66,504—a one-day Ebbets Field record. On Labor Day, 63,621 turned out for separateadmission morning and afternoon games against the Phillies. These records stood unbroken through the Brooklyn years.
There were also some impressive road crowds. On May 11, 40,720 fans packed Shibe Park for a Dodgers-Phillies doubleheader, the largest crowd ever to see a Phillies or A’s contest in that park’s history. Exactly a week later, the Cubs and Dodgers drew 46,572, a single-game Wrigley Field record that still stands, even though seating has been expanded. This turnout easily topped the All-Star Game (41, 123), which was held at Wrigley that year.
In six of their seven NL road parks, the Dodgers attracted the largest crowd of the season.(In the seventh, Crosley Field in Cincinnati, they drew the second largest.) At Shibe Park, they drew two of the three highest turnouts. At Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, they produced the season’s two largest crowds, at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis the top four, and at the Polo Grounds, by far the league’s biggest venue, they attracted the top six. In the World Series, the Dodgers helped draw Yankee Stadium’s four biggest daytime crowds of the season. Three of those games took place during the work week, and three topped 70,000, a figure that had never been reached in a Series game before. The overall World Series gate of 389,763 was a record at the time, and the October 5 crowd of