Dodgers Aficionado, Museum Curator Publishes New Works

Dodgers Aficionado, Museum
Curator Publishes New Works

LOS ANGELES – It’s hard to imagine growing up closer to the game of baseball than Allen Schery, author of the recently published historical treatise “The Boys of Spring,” which details the history of the Dodgers franchise. According to Schery, his bedroom sat 200 feet from Ebbets Field, the “soul” of Flatbush, Brooklyn.

“I was practically living where the parking lot would be, if they had one. The noises from the games, the cheers and Vin Scully’s announcing were filtering into my crib before I could say ‘goo-goo,’” Schery quipped about his early childhood.

Starting at age 5, Schery began collecting Dodgers memorabilia and artifacts, and has since “never stopped.” He collected player pins, adorning all sides of his favorite sweatshirt which he would then wear to the stadium.

“After the games, my Uncle Paul used to take my brother and me to the exit where the players would come out. I knew Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Don Newcombe and Jackie Robinson personally,” Schery recalled.

One day, Schery said, Jackie Robinson commented to Uncle Paul, “Look at that kid, he’s a walking museum! He’s got the whole team on his shirt!” Robinson’s words gave Schery the idea to pursue just that—opening museums—later in life.

Schery’s first museum venture in the early 1990s combined his passion for vintage Corvettes and interest in culture, a project he described as “putting his guts out there for all to see.”

“I’m trained as an anthropologist and archaeologist, and I came up with a unique idea for a museum using an anthropological approach… I theorized that as each car was bought new, and the owner put the keys in the car and started it, they had a culture that they lived in that is now gone,” said Schery.

He added music, television clips, news and other elements of pop culture specific to the year of each of his 35 Corvettes so that “each exhibit became a time capsule for that year [the year of the Corvette model’s release].” Schery also built the 30,000-square-foot Corvette Americana Museum himself, in a former greystone building on State Route 28 just south of the Village of Cooperstown now occupied by Bassett Healthcare Network.

In 1994, Schery was given an award by former First Lady of New York Libby Pataki for having created one of the 10 best museums in New York State, alongside the Met, Corning and Guggenheim museums. Unfortunately, the baseball strike of 1994-95—and the fallout it had on the sport’s popularity—caused a rapid decline in visitation, forcing Schery to close the museum.

Recently, Schery has been working on creating a Dodgers team experience museum in Los Angeles, offering a new chance to display his deep reverence for curation and design. The museum will feature more than 250,000 Dodger artifacts from his personal collection, one of the largest, if not the largest, in the world. He plans to make it just as immersive as his endeavor in Cooperstown.

“Using pictures I’ve collected my whole life, I’m going to create each park [throughout Dodgers history] in the museum, using the pictures as wallpaper, shaping the room in the manner the park was shaped,” he said.

Schery has researched the Dodgers for his whole life, even becoming a member of the Society of American Baseball Research, and his interest eventually led him to write a history. “The Boys of Spring,” a Ron Gabriel Award finalist for research in 2022, drew from consultations with acclaimed baseball historians Roger Kahn, from whom the namesake derives, and Mark Langill, current Dodgers team historian.

“Nobody really looked into anything beyond Ebbets Field from 1913 when it was opened, so I went back to when they started, and it took me several years of research, reading old newspapers, digging up facts. Once I had the date that started the organization, March 4, 1883, I knew they were a corporation, so I went to Court Street in Brooklyn and found the original papers that started the Dodgers,” said Schery.

Schery’s quest to contextualize the past yielded many revelations, stories like that of one team founder, Ferdinand “Gus” Abell. One of New York City’s wealthiest gamblers in the late 1800s, he operated a casino on Broadway not too far from Tammany Hall, which was frequented by figures like Boss Tweed.

“All the money that started the Dodgers was from gambling, and they hid it,” said Schery on his findings.

The original founders were capitalizing on an opportunity. Baseball saw a resurgence in Brooklyn in the 1880s, following a decade of corruption and declining attendance in organized leagues, and the Brooklyn Bridge was set to open two months after the team was founded, assuring the growth of Flatbush.

Hot on the heels of “The Boys of Spring,” Schery will also publish “The Dragon’s Breath: The Human Experience” this month, a work of anthropology based on his experiences working in the field and living with various indigenous groups, among them the Dogon people of western Africa and the Tepehuán of Jalisco, Mexico. Schery also worked to excavate Chichen Itza in the Yucatán peninsula. “The Dragon’s Breath,” he explained, took him more than 50 years to fully research and develop.

“Passion rules. If you’ve got a passion for something, you do it better than anyone. You do it out of love and what other people think is work, you think is fun,” said Schery.

“The Boys of Spring” and “The Dragon’s Breath: The Human Experience,” are available on Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Dodgers Aficionado, Museum Curator Publishes New Works

  1. Sonia deFrances

    I live in ONEONTA NY and read about you and your Brooklyn Dodger memories. I have similar memories,having been born in Brooklyn and attending the same school(Froebel Academy) and same class as Peter O Mally. My late husband grew up in Flatbush and told of attending games at Ebbetts Field and meeting those same players mentioned in the article. Jackie Robinson gave a presentation in Dick’s school PS 193.
    My family moved upstate when I was 7 so I had no more connection with Brooklyn . So here’s a bit of trivia to add to your collection.

  2. Allen Schery

    Sonia I forwarded your email to Peter O’Malley who is a friend who also reviewed my book Allen Schery

  3. james j lowell

    Hey, Al!
    Just came upon this and am looking forward to your book. Both of them. And I haven’t forgotten that you never returned Roger Kahn’s book when I lent it to you all those years ago!
    Best of luck on these new ventures and continued success!

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