Yankees – Dodgers Rivalry Leaves NYPD Detective Dead


Dispute over World Series leads to shooting

Baseball was in its heyday in 1950’s New York.  The Yankees, Giants, or Dodgers won 9 out of the 10 World Series in that decade.  Of course, the 50’s ended in sorrow when the Giants and Dodgers crushed their fans by moving to California in 1958.  But for years the rivalry between the three teams was intense. 

It was this atmosphere that led to tragedy on October 8, 1956.  The Dodgers were meeting the Yankees again in the World Series.  The perennial underdog Dodgers had managed to take the title in 1955, and they had a good chance in 1956 as well.  The Series was tied 2-2 as the Yankees had come from behind to tie the series at Yankee Stadium on October 7th

NYPD Detective 2nd Grade William Christman had finished his tour in the Nine-Two Squad (current 94th Pct).  He was a Giants fan but was rooting for the Yankees against the hated Dodgers.  He stopped at Carmichael’s Bar on Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park for a beer before heading to his home around the corner.

He was discussing the series with the bartender when an unemployed 25-year-old man named Robert Thomson joined the debate.   As the three men discussed the World Series, debate turned to argument, which turned into a scuffle.  Detective Christman and Mr. Thomson had to be separated after Thomson punched the off-duty Detective in the face.

Thompson staggered out of the bar, but still raged over the fight.  He went to his apartment across the street from Carmichael’s and retrieved his .30 caliber deer rifle.  Then, he waited in his doorway for Christman to leave the bar. 

When Christman left the bar in the early morning hours of October 8th, 1956, he found Robert Thomson waiting for him with his Winchester rifle.  Thomson fired one round into the Detective’s chest, killing him instantly.  Thomson promptly stumbled home and went to bed.  That is where cops arrested him shortly after the cold-blooded killing. 

As October 8th, 1956, came to a close, a decorated New York City Detective was in the morgue, a hotheaded drunk was in jail for murder, and Don Larsen was celebrating his perfect game that put the Yankees ahead 3 games to 2.  The Yankees went on to reclaim the title, but few know of this tragic incident that marred the Series. 

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