Abe Stark (September 28, 1894 ��� July 2, 1972) was an American businessman and politician. Born on the Lower East Side in New York City, he became a tailor and owned a clothing store at 1514 Pitkin Avenue in the East New York section of Brooklyn.
Stark's name first became familiar because of the advertising gimmick for his clothing store, a sign placed directly under the Ebbets Field scoreboard in right-center field in 1931, and seen by millions in movie newsreels and then on television. It announced, "Hit Sign, Win Suit. Abe Stark. 1514 Pitkin Ave. Brooklyn's Leading Clothier." Any player who hit the sign on the fly would get a free suit from his store.
Due to the excellent fielding of Brooklyn Dodgers right fielders Dixie Walker and Carl Furillo, Stark awarded very few suits. It has been said that, as long as the sign was up, the only opposing player to hit it on a fly was Mel Ott of the arch-rival New York Giants, who did it twice. It has also been said that, upon the suggestion of a customer who pointed out how many free suits Furillo saved Stark from having to give away, Stark gave Furillo a free suit. However, according to teammate Duke Snider, Furillo received only a pair of slacks.
The stories about how few players won free suits are probably more legend than truth. Prior to the famous sign, which measured about 3 feet by 30 feet, there was an even larger one that was hit by batted balls much more frequently. Overton Tremper, a reserve outfielder for the Dodgers, recalled that it covered the right field wall from top to bottom and from the foul line to about 150 to right center field, and Murray Rubin, whose father worked in Stark's store for 40 years, said, "Many balls hit the original Stark sign. My father told me that on some evenings, he altered more suits for players than for paying customers."
Stark became so well known as a result of his sign that he rose through New York City politics and was elected twice as president of the New York City Council, serving in that office from 1954 to 1961, and three times as borough president of Brooklyn, holding that office from 1962 to 1970.
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- "City Vote 2,205,262 – Riegelman Runs Second, Stark Tops Ticket in New Dealers' Triumph" (PDF). New York Times. November 4, 1953. p. 1. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Egan, Leo (November 6, 1957). "City Slate Wins, Mayor Carries Ticket – Mrs. Simon Tops Christenberry Vote". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Kihss, Peter (November 8, 1961). "City Vote Heavy – Lefkowitz Takes 34% of Total, Screvane and Beame Elected". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Kihss, Peter (November 3, 1965). "Maniscalco Loses on S.I., Badillo Leading in Bronx". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Ronan, Thomas P. (November 5, 1969). "Incumbent Borough Presidents Win; Abrams Bronx Victor". New York Times. p. 34. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- City of New York Parks & Recreation Abe Stark Rink
| President of the New York City Council
1954 – 1961
Paul R. Screvane
John F. Hayes
| Borough President of Brooklyn
1962 – 1970
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