A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 21, 2004
“Hit Sign, Win Suit” (Abe Stark’s Clothing Store)
A sign for Abe Stark's clothing store, placed directly under the Ebbets Field scoreboard in right-center field, told players "Hit Sign, Win Suit." Any player to hit the sign with a fly ball would get a free suit from Abe's store.

The Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field and Abe's store are all long gone now, but "Hit Sign, Win Suit" is still remembered as one of New York's greatest business promotions.

9 October 1959, New York Times, pg. 34:
He was talking with one foot on the rail in the center field grandstands staring out toward the rows of empty seats; to his right was the empty dugout, to his left the scoreboard and Abe Stark's sign: "Hit Sign, Win Suit."

4 July 1972, New York Times, pg. 20:
Abe Stark of Brooklyn, Who Led City Council, Dies
In 1914, when he was 21, Mr. Stark opened a men's furnishing store in partnership with two other young men. The next year he started his own establishment on Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn's Brownsville section. From that time he became one of that borough's better-known businessmen.

In the days when the Brooklyn Dodgers were at Ebbets Field, the name Abe Stark was constantly before the public. A sign at the concrete base of the right field scoreboard proclaimed that any batter who hit the sign on the fly would receive a free suit at Mr. Stark's Pitkin Avenue clothing store. "Hit Sign, Win Suit," the sign said.

One famous cartoon showed Mr. Stark, glove in hand, standing in front of the sign to cut down on free suits.

12 August 1985, New York Times, pg. C9:
Situated at the base of the scoreboard in right-center field, nearly 400 feet from home plate, the sign stood approximately 4 feet high and was 40 feet wide. It was established there in 1931, when Abe Stark, a dedicated Dodger fan, rented the space in order to advertise the clothing store his family owned from 1922-59 on Pitkin Avenue in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Stark, who became a politician and served as New York City Council president twice and Brooklyn Borough president three times, pledged that any player who hit his sign on the fly would receive a free suit from his store. Much to his chagrin, the first one to do it - and the second one as well - was Mel Ott of the rival New York Giants.

Posted by Barry Popik
Work/Businesses • (1) Comments • Tuesday, December 21, 2004 • Permalink

I believe Erv Palica also hit the Abe Stark sign in the late 40’s. He was such a poor hitter, the outfield played him quite shallow. One day he connected & hit a line dribe to Right center & it hit the sign on the fly. Don’t know if he ever received the suit. My recollection was that Connie Desmond was the radio announcer for the game. Can anyone confirm?

Posted by Ted  on  01/07  at  09:58 PM

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