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1940 Life Magazine report, photo document Brooklyn Dodgers fan’s pummeling of ump

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2002:  Dodgers vs Reds at Ebbets Field Umpire George Magerkurth takes a pummeling from overwrought Brooklyn Dodgers fan Frank Germano who objected to some of his calls.  (Photo by Hank Olen/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

For anybody who believes that over the years we have become a more crass, less refined and an increasingly boorish group of fans who attend MLB games at baseball parks, think again. A 1940 report from Life Magazine documents the pummeling of umpire George Magerkurth by Brooklyn Dodgers fan Frank Gernano following a game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 16, 1940 at legendary Ebbets Field.

Gernano, 21, apparently was very upset with Magerkurth over a botched call where the umpire overruled one of his fellow umpires on a play at first base during extra innings, a call that effectively eliminated the Dodgers from the pennant race after the Reds won the game.

So after yelling “Burglar! Burglar!” at the ump, Gerano took the field and began to rain “hard stinging blows” upon Magerkurth. Reasonable response, right? After all, it did eliminate the Dodgers from the pennant race.

An image of the pummeling, via Eye on Baseball:

Dodgers vs Reds at Ebbets Field Umpire George Magerkurth tak

Wow. One question: Any chance this guy is a descendent of Gerano?

The report from Life Magazine:


It’s good to know that, after the men standing idly by in the photo watching the ump get savagely beaten, some of Magerkurth fellow umpires came to his aid.

Gerano was arraigned on charges and four fellow Dodgers fans hired a lawyer to defend him. Here’s what he wore to court:


Looking spiffy, Mr. Gerano. And yep, he was 21 years old at the time. Looks more like 40 if you ask me.

(all images courtesy of Life Magazine)