War Memorial Stadium was a multi-use sports facility located at 285 Dodge Street in Buffalo, New York. The name of the venue changed over time, from Roesch Memorial Stadium (named after former Buffalo Mayor Charles Roesch) in 1937, to Grover Cleveland Stadium (in honor of former President, Chief Justice, and Buffalo Mayor) from 1937-38, to Civic Stadium from 1938 to 1960, and finally to War Memorial Stadium from 1960 to 1987. Although it was a stadium of many names, Buffalo residents often referred to the ballpark as “The Old Rockpile.”
Buffalo Civic Stadium (Photocrome postcard, Metrocraft, Everett MA)
The derivation of the nickname Rockpile is not readily ascertained (believe me, I looked), but perhaps it is a reference either to the condition of the stadium in its later years or the impressive wall constructed of large stones that once surrounded portions of the stadium as well as Masten Park (located directly west of the stadium). The stone wall was once part of the boundary for Prospect Reservoir. The stadium was built on top of the former reservoir site.
Stone Wall along Masten Avenue, western boundary of Masten Park, Buffalo, New York. A Similar Wall Once Surrounded Portions of War Memorial Stadium
Although the stadium was completed as a Works Project Administration initiative in 1937, it did not have a professional sports tenant until 1940 with the arrival of the American Football League Indians, who played at Civic Stadium through the 1941 season. Football returned to the stadium in 1946 with the arrival of the Buffalo Bills of the All-American Football Conference, who played at Civic Stadium through the 1949 season. The Bills returned to War Memorial Stadium in 1960 as an American Football League franchise, after the stadium underwent a major renovation. In 1970 the Bills switched to the National Football League and played through the 1972 season at War Memorial.
Civic Stadium, Buffalo, New York (Linen Postcard, Photo by Fitzgerald)
Professional baseball arrived at War Memorial Stadium about the same time professional football returned to venue at the beginning of the 1960s. With the closing and demolition of Offermann Stadium after the in 1960 season, the International League Buffalo Bisons moved to War Memorial Stadium the following year. The Bisons departed War Memorial during the 1970 season when the franchise was transferred to Winnipeg. The Bisons returned to War Memorial in 1979 as an AA Eastern League franchise. In 1985, the Bisons returned to AAA status as an American Association franchise, playing three full seasons at War Memorial Stadium before departing for a new ballpark, Pilot Field, after the end of the 1987 season.
Aerial View, War Memorial Stadium, Buffalo, New York
In 1983 baseball Hollywood style arrived at War Memorial Stadium. The ballpark used as a primary location for filming of the movie The Natural.
Movie Lobby Card Depicting Robert Redford at War Memorial Stadium (photo copyright Tri-Star Pictures)
War Memorial Stadium’s distinctive vintage features provided an almost eerie back drop for the movie.
War Memorial Stadium (photo courtesy of Buffalo Baseball Museum)
For additional information about the filming of The Natural at War Memorial Stadium, and at other locations in and around Buffalo, New York, see forgottenbuffalo.com.
Robert Redford at War Memorial Stadium (photographer unknown)
War Memorial was demolished in 1988 and the City of Buffalo constructed in its place a youth sports complex. In 1997 the site was renamed the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion in honor of a former Buffalo resident.
Football Scoreboard at Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, Buffalo, New York
Although the stadium structure is long gone, fortunately for fans of the game, the City of Buffalo preserved two of the distinctive entrance gates, both located on the eastern side of the former ballpark site.
Former Entrance to War Memorial Stadium at the Intersection of Best Street and Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, New York
The entrance at the northwest corner of Best Street and Jefferson Avenue was considered War Memorial Stadium’s main gate. During the years that the stadium was configured for baseball, the Best and Jefferson entrance was located just beyond center field.
Steel Gates at the Former Entrance to War Memorial Stadium, Intersection of Best Street and Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, New York
A similar entrance at the southwest corner of Dodge Street and Jefferson Avenue also remains at the site. The gate was located behind what was once the left field corner. The left field grandstand was located just to the right of the entrance.
Former Entrance to War Memorial Stadium at the Intersection of Dodge Street and Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, New York
An entrance gate (now demolished) behind the right field corner of War Memorial Memorial was located near the intersection of Best Street and Peach Street.
War Memorial Stadium Exterior, Best Street Near Peach Street (photo courtesy of Buffalo Baseball Museum)
The City of Buffalo constructed on Best Street a new gated entrance with ticket windows near the location of the original gate.
Entrance to Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion at Best Street Near Peach Street
A new gated entrance on Dodge Street sits behind what would have been War Memorial’s home plate.
Entrance to Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion (looking Toward Dodge Street).
Home plate itself was located in what is now the turf football field, at approximately the 15 yard line on the field’s north end. It is unfortunate that the city did not place a marker where home plate once sat, or where the original goal post once sat, for that matter.
War Memorial Stadium Former Infield, Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion, Looking Toward Left Field
Much of the former infield is now part of the running track that surrounds the northeast end of the turf football field.
War Memorial Stadium Former Infield, Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion, Looking Toward Home Plate
Metal bleachers place along side the football field sit near what was once the western most portion of the stadium structure.
Bleachers, Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, Former Site of First Base Grand Stand
Concession stands and storage facilities sit in the approximate location of a facilities building that sat just to the west of War Memorial.
Concession Stands and Storage Areas, Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, Buffalo, New York
The right field foul line ran parallel to what is now the running track.
War Memorial Stadium Former Right Field Foul Line Corner, Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion, Looking Toward Right Field Corner (New York’ State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Armory in Background).
The youth baseball infield at the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion sits in what was once War Memorial Stadium’s right field.
Baseball Field, Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion, Former War Memorial Stadium Outfield
The current left field of the youth baseball diamond was once War Memorial Stadium’s left field.
War Memorial Stadium Former Left/Center Field, Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion, Looking Toward Home Plate
the two preserved entrances to War Memorial Stadium loom large over the current youth baseball outfield.
Backside of Former Entrance to War Memorial Stadium at the Intersection of Best Street and Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, New York
Backside of Former Entrance to War Memorial Stadium at the Intersection of Dodge Street and Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, New York
Directly to the west of the former site of War Memorial Stadium is Masten Park. The park, like the stadium site, was built on top of Prospect Reservoir.
Masten Park, Buffalo, New York
A swimming pool dating to the time of War Memorial Stadium sits just beyond the eastern boundary of Masten Park.
Masten Park Swimming Pool, Buffalo, New York
The stone wall that once surrounded Prospect Reservoir terminates just prior to the Dodge Street entrance near to the turf football field.
Entrance to Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion From Dodge Street
In addition to the stone wall, Masten park boasts several distinctive concrete stairways into the park which date back to the time of War Memorial Stadium.
Masten Park, Steps to Dodge Street, Buffalo, New York
In 1988, the Buffalo Bisons moved to a new downtown ballpark on Washington Street, built just two miles southwest of War Memorial Stadium.
Coca-Cola Field, Buffalo, New York, Home of the Buffalo Bisons
Coca-Cola Field (originally known as Pilot Field) includes a wonderful museum with many displays dedicated to the history of War Memorial Stadium.
War Memorial Stadium Display at the Buffalo Baseball Museum, Coca-Cola Field
The museum’s curator, John Boutet, has spent the last 25 plus years acquiring mementos and pieces of War Memorial Stadium, as well as Offermann Stadium, to help educate fans about Buffalo’s rich baseball history.
Buffalo Baseball Historian John Boutet With War Memorial Stadium Sign at Buffalo Baseball Museum
The museum includes a wooden stadium chair from War Memorial Stadium, painted grey, which greatly resembles the seats once used at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.
War Memorial Stadium Seat on Display at Buffalo Baseball Museum
An authentic War Memorial Stadium Turnstile sits at the entrance to the museum.
War Memorial Stadium Turnstile on display at Buffalo Baseball Museum
The museum includes memorabilia of famous Buffalo Bisons, including the uniform once worn by Hall of Famer Johnny Bench.
Johnny Bench’s Buffalo Bisons Locker at Buffalo Baseball Museum
The City of Buffalo has done an admirable job paying homage to memory of historic War Memorial Stadium. A visit to the former site is worth the trip if only to stand in front and take a picture of the once-grand War Memorial Stadium entrances preserved by the city. For an excellent site devoted to the memory of War Memorial Stadium, with many vintage photographs of the ballpark, visit Rockpile Buffalo. And if you haven’t already, be sure to visit the Buffalo Baseball Museum on the concourse at Coca-Cola Field.
Tags: All-American Football Conference, American Association, American Football League, Baseball, Buffalo, Buffalo Baseball Museum, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Bisons, Buffalo Indians, Buffalo New York, Charles Roesch, Civic Stadium, Coca-Cola Field, Eastern League, Grover Cleveland Stadium, International League, John Boutet, Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, Johnny bench, Masten Park, National Football League, Offermann Stadium, Pilot Field, Prospect Reservoir, Robert Redford, Roesch Memorial Stadium, The Natural, the Old Rockpile, the Rockpile, War Memorial Stadium, Works Project Administration
Posted in New York ballparks, War Memorial Stadium | Comments (3)
Professional baseball was played at the corner of East Ferry and Michigan Avenue in Buffalo, New York, for 72 years beginning in 1889, through the end of the 1960 season.
Postcard, Buffalo Base Ball Park, Buffalo, New York (David Ellis Publisher)
Originally known as new Olympic Park (old Olympic Park housed Buffalo baseball teams from 1884 to 1888 at the intersection of Richmond Avenue and Summer Street), in 1907 the ballpark was renamed Buffalo Base Ball Park. The original wooden ballpark structure was raised in 1924 and replaced with a concrete and steel structure, and renamed Bison Stadium. In 1935 the ballpark was renamed Offermann Stadium, in honor of Frank J. Offermann, the recently-deceased former owner of the Buffalo Bison.
Entrance to Offermann Stadium (photo courtesy of the Buffalo Sports Museum)
The site’s primary tenant was the International League Buffalo Bison, who played there from 1889 to 1960. According to Philip Lowry’s Green Cathedrals, Major league baseball also was played at this site for one year in 1890 when the Buffalo Bison of the Players League played their home games at new Olympic Park. The Negro National League New York Black Yankees played games at Offermann Park as a neutral site in the 1940s. The Negro American League Indianapolis Clowns played some games at Offermann (neutral site) from 1951 to 1955. Professional football also was played at the site, including National Football League Buffalo franchises (the All-Americans from 1920 to 1923, the Buffalo Bisons from 1924 to 1925, and 1927 to 1929, and the Buffalo Rangers in 1926).
Bethel AME Church, intersection of East Ferry Street and Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, New York
The ballpark was located directly behind what is now the Bethel AME Church (formerly Covenant Presbyterian Church), with home plate near the back of the church at the intersection of East Ferry Street and Michigan Avenue.
Intersection of Masten Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue, Buffalo, New York
The ballpark faced Southeast towards the intersection of Masten Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue. Center field was located on the northwest corner of that intersection. After the ballpark was demolished in 1962, Woodlawn Junior High School was constructed on the site. To see an aerial photograph of Offermann Stadium from 1956 click here (fixbuffalo.blogspot.com).
Corner Stone for Woodlawn Jr. High, Buffalo, New York
The Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts now occupies the site.
The Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, Located on the Former Site of Offermann Stadium.
In 2012, John Boutet of the Buffalo Sports Museum spearheaded a drive to place a historical plaque at the site. The plaque notes that Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Hank Aaron all played baseball at Offermann Stadium.
Historical Plaque at the Former Site of Offermann Stadium
The former site of right field was located at the northeast corner of Woodlawn Avenue and Michigan Avenue.
Intersection of Woodlawn Avenue and Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, New York, Former Site of Offermann Stadium’s Right Field
The former site of left field was located at the southwest corner of Masten Avenue and Ferry Street.
Intersection of Masten Avenue and Ferry Street, Buffalo, New York, Former Site of Offermann Stadium’s Left Field
The area behind what was once the ballpark’s home plate is now a parking lot for the school.
Former Site of Offermann Stadium Infield
In addition to Bethel AME Church, many other structures surrounding the ballpark date to the time of Buffalo Base Ball Park and Offermann Stadium. The houses in the photograph below sat just beyond the ballpark’s center field fence.
Houses at the Intersection of Woodlawn Avenue and Masten Avenue, Buffalo, New York
Houses at the intersection Masten Avenue and Ferry Street sat beyond the ballpark’s left field corner.
Houses at the Intersection of Masten Avenue and Ferry Street
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Building at 78 East Ferry Street ran parallel to third base.
NFTA Metro Building Located on Ferry Street, Sat Parallel to Former Site of Third Base Line
In 1961, the Buffalo Bison moved ten blocks south from Offermann Stadium to Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium.
Aerial View, War Memorial Stadium, Buffalo, New York
In 1988, the Bison (American Association) moved two miles southwest to Pilot Stadium, later renamed Coca-Cola Field
Coca-Cola Field, Buffalo, New York, Home of the Buffalo Bison
Coca-Cola Field includes a wonderful museum – The Buffalo Sports Museum – featuring memorabilia from and information about Offermann Stadium, as well as Buffalo’s other ballparks. It certainly is worth a visit if you haven’t been there already.
Buffalo Sports Museum Display Featuring Offermann Stadium, as well as Former Buffalo Bison Luke Easter
The City of Buffalo boasts a rich baseball history, much of it taking place years ago at the intersection of East Ferry and Michigan Avenue. Although the ballpark is long gone, enough of the neighborhood that existed at the time of Buffalo Base Ball Park and Offermann Stadium remains to give anyone with an interest in the National Pastime with a sense of where the ballpark once stood. The former ballpark site is located just three miles north of Coca-Cola Field and for fans of the game it certainly is worth the trip.
Tags: American Association, Babe Ruth, Baseball, Bethel AME Church, Bison Stadium, Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, Buffalo All-Americans, Buffalo Base Ball Park, Buffalo New York, Buffalo Rangers, Buffalo Sports Museum, Coca-Cola Field, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Frank J. Offermann, Hank Aaron, Indianapolis Clowns, International League, Jackie Robinson, John Boutet, Luke Easter, National Football League, Negro American League, Negro National League, new Olympic Park, New York Black Yankees, NFTA Metro, Offermann Stadium, Players League, War Memorial Stadium, Woodlawn Jr. High
Posted in New York ballparks, Offermann Stadium | Comments (0)
Al Lopez Field was located at the intersection of North Himes Avenue and West Woodlawn Avenue in Tampa, Florida. From 1955 to 1959 it was the Spring Training home of the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox relocated to Payne Park in Sarasota, Florida, in 1960.
Al Lopez Field, Tampa FL Postcard (Curtechcolor Art Creation, Hillsboro News Co.)
From 1960 until 1987 Al Lopez Field was the Spring Training home of the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds relocated their spring training home to Plant City, Florida, in 1988. The minor league Tampa Tarpons of the Florida State League called Al Lopez Field home from 1957 to 1988. In 1966, the City of Tampa constructed Tampa Stadium just north of Al Lopez Field on West Ohio Avenue. Tampa Stadium was primarily a soccer and football venue, with notable tenants including the North American Soccer League Tampa Bay Rowdies and the National Football League Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Stadium hosted Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984 (Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9), and Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991 (New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19).
Tampa Stadium and Al Lopez Field Postcard (T-10-C Ward Beckett & Co., Clearwater FL)
Al Lopez Field was demolished in 1989. In 1996 the City of Tampa began construction of Raymond James Stadium on the former site of Al Lopez Field. Al Lopez Field was located in what is now the Northeast quadrant Raymond James Stadium.
Raymond James Stadium, Former Site of Al Lopez FIeld, Tampa, Florida
In the aerial photograph of Raymond James Stadium below (facing West), the site of Al Lopez Field is located in the bottom right quadrant of the stadium. The former site of Tampa Stadium, which was demolished in 1999, appears in the photograph below as the open grass field just to the right of Raymond James Stadium.
Aerial View of Raymond James Stadium, Former Site of Al Lopez Field, Tampa, Florida (photo is facing West)
The right field corner of Al Lopez Field was located near the intersection of North Himes Avenue and West Woodlawn Avenue. Raymond James Stadium East Gate now marks the spot.
Al Lopez Field, Former Right Field Corner at W Woodlawn Avenue and N Himes Avenue
The former site of right field is now a parking area that parallels North Himes Avenue and Raymond James Stadium.
Raymond James Stadium, Former Site of Al Lopez Stadium Center Field Looking Toward Right Field
Center field was located near the intersection of North Himes Avenue and West Ohio Avenue.
Intersection of Himes Avenue and Ohio Avenue, Former Entrance to Al Lopez Field (Near Center Field)
A significant portion of the former site of center field is now an asphalt parking area just north of Raymond James Stadium.
Raymond James Stadium, Former Site of Al Lopez Stadium Center Field
A patch of grass that sits in the shadow of the Raymond James Stadium sign at the northern end of the stadium marks the former site of left field.
Raymond James Stadium, Former Site of Al Lopez Stadium Left Field Corner
The former site of Al Lopez Field’s home plate sits in the north east corner of Raymond James Stadiums’ northern most end zone (the end zone near the pirate ship replica). Two Superbowls have been played at the former site of Al Lopez Field, Super Bowl XXXV on January 28, 2001 (Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7), and Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 (Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23).
Former Site of Al Lopez Field Home Plate – Northern End Zone of Raymond James Stadium (Looking South)
Spring Training baseball, as well as minor league baseball, is still played just a long fly ball from the former site of Al Lopez Field. George Steinbrenner Field, Spring Training Home of the New York Yankees, is located just one block to the northwest of the former ballpark site.
George Steinbrenner Field, Spring Training Home of the N.Y. Yankees, Located One Block Northwest of Site of Al Lopez Field
The Florida State League Tampa Yankees play their home games at Steinbrenner Field.
View of Raymond James Stadium from Steinbrenner Field, Home of the Tampa Yankees
In 1992, the City of Tampa honored Tampa resident Al Lopez with a statute located at the intersection of North Himes Avenue and West Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, just a very long fly ball from the former site of Al Lopez Field.
Al Lopez Statue, Al Lopez Park
A plaque at the base of the statue notes that Al Lopez was born in nearby Ybor City on August 20, 1908, and provides an overview of his accomplishments in baseball: “Distinguished himself as a professional baseball player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves, and Pittsburgh Pirates as a catcher, setting the original all-time record for most games caught in the Major Leagues. He further distinguished himself in Major League history as manager of the pennant-wining Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. For his admirable accomplishments in the Major Leagues as a player and Manager, he was Tampa’s first inductee into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1977.”
Plaque Honoring Former Tampa Resident Al Lopez
The statute of Al Lopez is appropriately positioned, with the long-time catcher facing toward the former site of the ballpark named in his honor.
Al Lopez Statue Looking South Toward Raymond James Stadium and Former Site of Al Lopez Field
The statute is located in the southwest corner of Al Lopez Park, also dedicated to the memory of the Tampa native.
Entrance to Al Lopez Park, Tampa, Florida
The sign at the park entrance (4810 North Himes Avenue) recognizes Al Lopez as “one of Tampa’s favorite sons.”
Detail of Al Lopez Park Sign
Al Lopez Park includes a lake, picnic areas, walking trails, and a certified 5K running course.
East Gate, Raymond James Stadium at Woodlawn Avenue and Himes Avenue looking toward Former Right Field Corner of Al Lopez Field
Al Lopez lived much of his life in Tampa and nearby Ybor City. His former house in Ybor City was moved in 2013 from its original location at 1210 E 12th Avenue to 2003 N. 19th Street in Ybor City.
Al Lopez House, Ybor City, Florida
Located across the street from the Ybor City State Museum, Al Lopez’s former home now houses the Tampa Baseball Museum.
Al Lopez House, Ybor City, Florida
Tampa, Florida boast a rich baseball history. Should you find yourself in Tampa during Spring Training, be sure to take a moment to visit Al Lopez Park, with its statutory tribute to Al Lopez, as well as the Tampa Baseball Museum. And should you happen to find yourself attending a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game or a baseball game at nearby Steinbrenner Field, take a moment to appreciate the baseball history that once took place in the northern most end zone of Raymond James Stadium.
Tags: Al Lopez Field, Al Lopez house, Al Lopez Park, Al Lopez Statute, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Florida State League, George Steinbrenner Field, Major League Baseball, National Football League, New York Yankees, North American Soccer League, North Himes Avenue, Payne Park, Raymond James Stadium, spring training, Superbowl XLIII, Superbowl XVIII, Superbowl XXV, Superbowl XXXV, Tampa, Tampa Baseball Museum, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Tampa Florida, Tampa Tarpons, Tampa Yankees, Ybor City
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Five years ago the last vestiges of Tiger Stadium met the wrecking ball. The decade-long march toward that moment, beginning with the final game on September 27, 1999, culminated with the demolition and removal of the last standing section of the stadium on September 21, 2009.
Tiger Stadium, Saturday August 28, 1999
The following video was taken in December 2002, over three years after the American League Tigers abandoned the stadium, but several years before Detroit city officials began their assault on the historic structure. The four minute video is a drive around Tiger Stadium, starting east on Michigan Avenue and turning left on Cochrane Street, right on Fisher Drive, right on Trumbull Avenue, and right again on Michigan.
In the five years since the stadium’s demolition, the Navins Field Grounds Crew has kept alive the actual field and, in the process, perhaps helped fend off attempts to pave paradise.
Tiger Stadium, December 2002
It is hoped that the efforts of the NFGC will help convince city officials that the playing field (and the center field flag pole) is worth preserving for future generations of baseball fans who travel to the Corner of Michigan and Trumbull.
Tags: Briggs Stadium, Cochrane Street, Deadball, Detroit, Fisher Drive, lost ballparks, Michigan and Trumbull, Michigan Avenue, Navin Field, Navin Field Grounds Crew, Tiger Stadium, Tiger Stadium Drive Around, Trumbull Avenue
Posted in Michigan ballparks, TIger Stadium | Comments (0)
Knowing that the Chicago Cubs are embarking on a $575 million renovation of historic Wrigley Field, I visited the ballpark on September 19, 2014, for a day game against the Dodgers. My purpose was to photograph and video Wrigley Field as it exists prior to its renovation.
Wrigley Field Left and Center Field September 19, 2014
Although perhaps not quite as drastic as the Yankees 1970s renovation of their former ballpark, the Cubs plans for Wrigley Field certainly will alter forever the appearance of the ballpark, both inside and out. In the years to come, fans very well may preface discussion about their visits to that ballpark in terms of old Wrigley and new Wrigley, just as fans used to talk about old Yankee Stadium - pre 1970s renovation – and new Yankee Stadium – post 1970s renovation (not to be confused with the team’s new, current Yankee Stadium).
Wrigley Field From Left Field Grandstand September 19, 2014
Say what you will about the Cub’s decision to renovate the ballpark, at least they are keeping the ballpark where it is, with the same field and historic facade. It has been my opinion that the Yankees should have taken the same approach rather than demolish their historic ballpark and build a new one across the street.
Panoramic Photo Wrigley Field September 19, 2014
Wrigley Field’s renovation will take several years, conducted mostly during the off season. Work already has begun on the bleachers to the left and right of the historic scoreboard. Those bleachers will be demolished and the seating capacity extended out over Waveland Avenue and Sheffield Avenue. Other planned renovation includes demolition and replacement of the wood roof that covers the grandstand from the left field corner around to the right field corner, demolition and replacement of the lower seating bowl, including the dugouts, demolition and expansion of the concourse behind the lower seating bowl, additional concessions for the upper deck, an upper deck patio above Seminary Avenue, and the construction of shops, a parking garage, and a hotel at Waveland Avenue, Seminary Avenue, and Clark Street.
For posterity, I have shared here six videos of how those areas looked (as well as the rest of the stadium) before the renovation.
The tour starts with a ride north on the “L” red line, stopping at Addison Street.
This next video is a walk around the outside of Wrigley Field, starting at the intersection of Addison Street and Clark Street, and continuing to Waveland Avenue, Sheffield Avenue, and back to Addison Street. The Cubs renovation plans include construction of an office building, hotel, and plaza which will straddle both sides Clark Street along the left field foul line, and expanded bleacher seating that will overhang Waveland Avenue and Sheffield Avenue. With these renovations, the cityscape of the area surrounding Wrigley Field will be forever altered.
The next video is a walk through of the concourse area behind the lower seating bowl. The Cubs plan to bring this area into the 21st century by expanding the concourse area and revamping the concessions options and restroom areas. As it currently exists, this walk through the concourse is a charming, yet cramped experience. Most patrons who frequent the ballpark undoubtedly will appreciate the upgrades. Some will miss the charm, but few will miss the cramped quarters.
The next video is a walk around the lower seating bowl. With changes to the signage along the outfield walls, the addition of a new scoreboard, and replacement of the lower bowl seats and concrete risers, this view of Wrigley Field also will be forever altered.
The next video (which clocks in at about 20 minutes) is a walk along the ramps, walkways, and concourse areas of the upper deck, starting at the up ramp near the Waveland Avenue entrance and continuing up through the backside of the ballpark to the upper levels. How much of this view changes depends on structural work planned for replacing the wooden roof and the addition and expansion of concession areas on the upper concourse.
The final video is a view of Wrigley Field from the current roof top deck. Renovation of Wrigley Field includes an expansion of this area and the addition of other roof top concessions and eating areas.
Although with its renovation Wrigley Field is will lose some of its century-old charm, hopefully the renovation of Wrigley Field will help insure the ballpark’s existence for at least another 100 years. Fans in Boston and Chicago are fortunate that their ballparks remain a baseball destination where the game is still played. Most Yankee fans I have talked to since the demolition of their historic ballpark in 2010 wish the same could be said for Yankee Stadium. It is better that Wrigley Field be a renovated ballpark, as opposed to just another lost ballpark.
And for the record, the Dodgers defeated the Cubs 14-5, with Clayton Kershaw getting the win and the Dodgers clinching a 2014 playoff spot.
Tags: Addison and Clark, Addison Station, Addison Street, Chicago, Chicago Illinois, Clark Street, CTA, L Train, lost ballpark, lost ballparks, Sheffield Avenue, Waveland Avenue, Wrigley Field, Wrigley Field Bleachers, Wrigley Field Concourse, Wrigley Field Lower Bowl, Wrigley Field Renovation, Wrigley Field Renovations, Wrigley Field Rooftop, Wrigley Field Upper Deck
Posted in Illinois Ballparks, Wrigley Field | Comments (0)
Silver Stadium was located at 500 Norton Street in Rochester, New York. The ballpark opened in 1929 as Red Wing Stadium, and was home to the International League Rochester Red Wings. The Red Wings were then an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, who also constructed and owned the ballpark.
Red Wing Stadium, Rochester NY (Postcard by Rochester News Co., Curteich Chicago C.T. Art Colortone)
The ballpark is notable also as the home field for the Negro National League New York Black Yankees in 1948, and the American Football League Rochester Braves in 1936, and the American League Rochester Tigers in 1936 and 1937.
The main entrance to the stadium was through a gate behind the first base grand stand. Next to that gate was a two story house that served as both a ticket booth and administrative offices for the team. The two-story building is somewhat reminiscent of similar buildings at League Park in Cleveland and Braves Field in Boston.
Entrance to Silver Stadium, Rochester NY (George Tinker Postcard), at 500 Norton Street
The house at 500 Norton Street remains at the site today and now is occupied by one of the city’s four Neighborhood Service Centers.
500 Norton Street, Former Ticket and Administrative Offices, Silver Stadium, Rochester NY
Behind the building at 500 Norton Street is a one story structure that was added to the site after the ballpark’s demolition.
Back Side of 500 Norton Street, Former Ticket And Administrative Offices for Silver Stadium
On the eastern side of the building at 500 Norton Street are three plaques honoring the history of the ballpark.
Historical Plaques Located at Site of Silver Stadium’s Former Ticket And Administrative Offices
The first plaque details what the land there was used for prior to construction of the ballpark, as well as significant milestones in the ballpark’s history.
Plaque Honoring History of the Site That Was Once Silver Stadium
In 1956, local Rochester businessman Morrie Silver helped purchase the team and it’s stadium from the St. Louis Cardinals, thus ensuring that the Red Wings would remain in Rochester should the Cardinals decide to relocate to another town. It is for this reason that Mr. Silver is credited with saving professional baseball for the City of Rochester.
Plaque Honoring Morrie Silver at Former Site of Silver Stadium, Rochester NY
In 1960 the St. Louis Cardinals departed Rochester and the Baltimore Orioles became affiliated with the International League Red Wings. In 1968 Red Wing Stadium was renamed Silver Stadium in honor of the team’s owner. After Mr. Silver’s death in 1974, his widow Anna Silver remained with the team as a Member of the Board of Directors from 1975 to 1990, and as Chairperson of Board from 1981-1990. The Silver’s daughter Naomi Silver currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Red Wings.
Silver Stadium Historic Plaque, Rochester NY
Silver Stadium’s home plate was located directly north of the two story house that served as the ballpark’s main entrance.
Aerial View of Red Wing Stadium, Rochester NY (Albert R. Stone Negative Collection, Rochester Museum & Science Center)
What appears to be the outline of Silver Stadium’s first and third base foul lines still can be seen in the Google Maps Satellite View of the former Silver Stadium Site (you will need to zoom in on the site).
A chunk of Silver Stadium Nestled in the Grass Near the Former Location of Home Plate Grand Stand
The ballpark faced east, with the first base foul line running diagonally toward Norton Street.
Looking Toward Former Location of First Base From Home Plate, Silver Stadium
Silver Stadium was a single-deck ballpark with a roof covering the grandstand from first base around to third base. Uncovered bleachers extended along the foul lines toward right field with a smaller uncovered section near left field.
Silver Stadium, Rochester NY (Chrome Postcard)
The third base foul line ran diagonally toward Bastion Street.
Looking Toward Former Location of Third Base From Home Plate, Silver Stadium
Silver Stadium closed after the 1996 season and the following year the ballpark was demolished. In its place the city constructed 14621 Industrial Park (the reference to 14621 is the area’s zip code).
Entrance at Intersection of Excel Drive and Norton Street to 14621 Industrial Park
Center field was located due east of home plate. Two single story warehouse buildings now sit just beyond what used to be the center field fence. The entire area that once encompassed center field remains an open field.
Looking Toward Former Location of Center Field From Home Plate, Silver Stadium
After the ballpark’s demolition, the city added a new street, Excel Drive, which runs north and south through the center of the former ballpark site.
Excel Drive, Rochester NY, Intersecting Silver Stadium Infield
Where once sat the third base grandstand is now a one-story industrial building at 85 Excel Drive, currently housing SPEX Precision Machine Technologies.
85 Excel Drive, SPEX Precision Machine Technologies
In what was once the right field corner and the right field bleachers sits a large warehouse at 10 Excel Drive. Just beyond the warehouse, across Norton Street, is Our Lady of Perpetual Help, whose steeple was readily visible beyond the right field bleachers back during the time of Silver Stadium.
Looking Toward Former Location of Right Field From Home Plate, Silver Stadium, with Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s Steeple Still Visible
The building at 10 Excel Drive currently houses Premier Sign Systems. Its parking lot sits atop the right field corner.
10 Excel Drive, Rochester NY, Premier Sign Systems
In what was once left field also sits a large one-story industrial building and parking lot.
Looking Toward Former Location of Left Field From Home Plate, Silver Stadium
That building, located at 80 Excel Drive, currently houses Macauto USA Corp.
80 Excel Drive, Rochester NY, Macauto USA Corp.
Second base and beginning of the outfield is marked by Excel Drive.
Former Location of Second Base Looking Toward Home Plate, Silver Stadium
Many of the houses that sat along the perimeter of Silver Stadium remain to this day.
Houses Fronting Norton Street Located Beyond Former Site of Silver Stadium Right Field
In addition, several of the industrial buildings that sat beyond the home plate grandstand remain at the site.
Looking Toward Former Location of Home Plate Grand Stand (From Home Plate), Silver Stadium
The former school building at 1550 N Clinton Street, which sat behind the first base grandstand, remains as well, and now houses a ministry.
1550 N Clinton Avenue, Rochester NY, New Born Fellowship Ministries
In 1997, the Red Wings moved three miles south of Silver Stadium to a new state-of-the-art minor league facility located at 333 N. Plymouth Avenue.
Exterior of Frontier Field, Rochester NY
Frontier Field remains one of the finest ballparks in minor league baseball. When comparing Silver Stadium to Frontier Field it is easy to appreciate the team’s decision to construct a new ballpark in the heart of downtown Rochester.
Frontier Field, Home of the Rochester Red Wings
Frontier Field pays homage to Morrie Silver with a statue outside the ballpark’s front gates.
Statue of Morrie Silver, Frontier Field, Rochester NY
The plaque at Mr. Silver’s feet states, in part: “The man who saved baseball for Rochester in 1957. Spearheading a stock drive, he and 8,221 others bought shares in the team in order to purchase the franchise and the stadium from the St. Louis Cardinals.”
Plaque Honoring Morrie Silver at Frontier Field
Although Silver Stadium is now a lost ballpark, much of the outfield and many of the buildings surrounding the stadium site remain as they were were back when baseball was played at 500 Norton Avenue.
Frontier Field, Home of the Rochester Red Wings
If you live in Rochester and attend Red Wing games, a pilgrimage just three miles south of Frontier Field to the former site of Silver Stadium is a must. The City of Rochester should place a marker indicating where home plate once sat. Given the information above, it should not be difficult to locate the exact spot.
Many great ballplayers and managers made the ballpark their home, including Rochester Hall of Famers and Baseball Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr., Red Schoendienst, Earl Weaver, and Johnny Mize. Who knows? Given how much of the field remains unencumbered, a baseball game very well could break out on that field at any time, helping to bring back to that area a game that was played there for over 60 years.
Tags: 14621 Industrial Park, 500 Norton Street, American Football League, Anna Silver, Baltimore Orioles, Cal Ripken, Earl Weaver, Frontier Field, International League, Johnny Mize, Jr., lost ballpark, minor league baseball, Morrie Silver, Naomi Silver, Negro National League, New York Black Yankees, Our Lady of Perpetual Hope, Red Schoendienst, Red Wings, Rochester Braves, Rochester New York, Rochester Red Wings, Rochester Tigers, SPEX Precision Machine Technologies, St. Louis Cardinals
Posted in New York ballparks, Silver Stadium/Red Wing Stadium | Comments (12)
Morgan M. Bulkeley Stadium was located on the southeast corner of Hanmer Street and George Street in Hartford, Connecticut.
Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)
The ballpark originated in 1921 as Clarkin Field, named in honor of its builder, Jim Clarkin, the owner of the Eastern League Hartford Senators. After a fire in 1927, the ballpark was rebuilt. Clarkin sold the team the following year and the ballpark was renamed Bulkeley Stadium in honor of Baseball Hall of Famer Morgan G. Bulkeley, the first president of the National League as well as a former president of Aetna Insurance Company, and a former politician (Connecticut Governor, U.S. Senator, and Hartford Mayor). Bulkeley had lived in Hartford and died in 1922.
Bulkeley Stadium Historical Marker at Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
The site today is occupied primarily by Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Hartford native Norm Hausmann spearheaded a drive to get a historic marker placed at the former site of Bulkeley Stadium. The marker sits at the entrance to Ellis Manor on George Street in what was once left field.
Ellis Manor Marker Honoring Bulkeley Stadium
Clarkin Field/Bulkeley Stadium was home to the Eastern League Hartford Senators from 1921 to 1932 (in 1934 the Senators returned for one season to Bulkeley Stadium as part of the Northeastern League). Bulkeley Stadium also was home to the Eastern League Hartford Bees from 1939 to 1945 (also known as the Laurels), and the Eastern League Hartford Chiefs from 1946 to 1952. The Bees, Laurels, and Chiefs all were affiliated with the National League Boston Braves. The integrated semi-pro Savitt Gems (named after long time Hartford jeweler Bill Savitt) also played at Bulkeley Stadium. One of the stars of Savitt Gems was Johnny “Schoolboy” Taylor, a high school phenomenon who pitched for Bulkeley High School and later for the Negro National League Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Negro National League New York Cubans. In 1949, Taylor pitched for the Hartford Chiefs at Bulkeley Stadium.
Bulkeley Stadium Home Plate Marker
Clarkin Field also was home to the Hartford Blues football team in 1925 (the following season the Blues played their one professional season in the National Football League).
Bulkeley Stadium Home Plate Marker, Looking Toward Pitcher’s Mound
The location of home plate is marked with a granite plaque near the northeast corner of Ellis Manor, to the left of the front entrance. To better appreciate the former site of Bulkeley Stadium, click here: Courant.com for a vintage aerial photo of Bulkeley Stadium.
Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)
The grandstand directly behind home plate was located where Hanmer Street terminates just northeast of Ellis Manor.
Hanmer Street Terminating at Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Home Plate Grandstand
Although the ballpark was demolished in 1960, a chain link fence that ran alongside the third base grandstand dating back to Bulkeley Stadium remains on the site. The fence is clearly visible in the vintage photograph of Bulkeley Stadium that appears at the beginning of this blog. Although not quite as historically significant as the John T. Brush Memorial Stairway located near the former site of the Polo Grounds, the fence certainly is worth noting given its connection to Bulkeley Stadium.
Chain Link Fence Remaining from Bulkeley Stadium Behind Former Location of Third Base Grandstand
The third base grandstand paralleled a driveway that now runs north and south along the eastern side of the Ellis Manor.
Ellis Manor Driveway Running Parallel to Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Third Base Grandstand
Bulkeley Stadium was a basic, no frills ballpark. A single deck, covered grandstand ran from third base to the left field corner. Uncovered wood bleachers continued from third base to the right field corner.
Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)
First base was located in front of what is now a covered driveway near the front door entrance to Ellis Manor.
Former Location of First Base at Bulkeley Stadium Looking Toward Home Plate
The driveway from George Street into Ellis Manor was once left field.
Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Left Field Looking Toward Home Plate
Some residences that ring the parameter of the ballpark site date to the time of Bulkeley Stadium. A few “new” houses actually sit on the former stadium site. One such house, at 204 George Street, sits in what was once the left field grandstand.
House at 204 George Street Which Sits in Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Left Field Grandstand
The open side yard at 204 George Street was once the left field corner.
Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Left Field Corner
Right Field to Center field ran north to south along George Street.
Looking South Down George Street Which Ran Parallel to Bulkeley Stadium’s Right Field (Toward Center Field)
The center field was located across from the intersection of George Street and Goodrich Street where a grove of trees now sits.
Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Center Field Corner at Intersection of Goodrich Street and George Street
Inside the front entrance to Ellis Manor, across from the reception desk, is a wall of fame honoring the memory of Bulkeley Stadium. Many future Baseball Hall of Famers played for Hartford at Bulkeley Stadium, including Lou Gehrig, Leo Durocher, Hank Greenberg, Johnny Sain, and Warren Spahn. The wonderful staff at the nursing home and rehabilitation center are proud of their facility’s connection to professional baseball and are very helpful answering questions about the ballpark.
Bulkeley Stadium Wall of Fame Display at Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Hartford City officials currently are working to bring professional baseball back to Hartford. The city hopes to move the Eastern League Rock Cats from their current home in New Britain Stadium, which is located just 13 miles southwest of Hartford.
New Britain Stadium, Home of the Eastern League Rock Cats
The City recently secured property in downtown Hartford at the intersection of Main Street and Trumbell Street, approximately three miles north of Bulkeley Stadium. Although professional baseball will never return to the site of Bulkeley Stadium, it is still possible to play catch in the left field corner of the old ballpark site – that is, as long as the folks who own the side yard at 204 George Street don’t mind you doing so.
Tags: 204 George Street, Bill Clarkin, Bill Savitt, Boston Braves, Bulkeley Stadium, Clarkin Field, Connecticut Ballparks, Deadball, Eastern League, Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Hank Greenberg, Hartford, Hartford Bees, Hartford Chiefs, Hartford Laurels, Johnny "Schoolboy"Taylor, Johnny Sain, Leo Durocher, lost ballpark, lost ballparks, Lou Gehrig, Morgan M. Bulkeley, Negro National League, New Britain Rock Cats, New Britain Stadium, New York Cubans, Norm Hausmann, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Savitt Gems, Warren Spahn
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Hinchliffe Stadium is located at the intersection of Liberty Street and Maple Street in Paterson, New Jersey.
Entrance to Hinchliffe Stadium at Intersection of Liberty and Maple Street
The ballpark is set directly behind Paterson Public School No. 5, located at 430 Totowa Avenue, just three blocks northeast of the entrance on Maple Street to Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park.
Side View of Paterson Public School No. 5, Paterson, NJ
Hinchliffe Stadium is named after Paterson’s former Mayor John V. Hinchliffe (although the mayor himself once claimed that the stadium was named after his Uncle John, also once the mayor of Paterson).
Exterior of Hinchliffe Stadium Looking Northwest Along Maple Street
Constructed in 1931 and 1932, the ballpark was financed by the City of Paterson at a cost of approximately $250,000.
Panoramic Photo of Exterior of Hinchliffe Stadium Facing Maple Street
The ballpark was designed by Fanning & Shaw, a local architectural firm, in the Art Deco style.
Exterior of Hinchliffe Stadium Near Corner of Liberty and Jasper Streets
The stadium’s exterior walls are constructed of poured concrete.
Exterior of Hinchliffe Stadium Fronting Liberty Street
The exterior walls include many architectural flourishes such as clay tile roofing and plaster inlay plaques created by Paterson native Gaetano Federici.
Detail of Hinchliffe Stadium Exterior Fronting Liberty Street
Ownership of the ballpark was transferred from the city to the Paterson School District in 1963. In 1997 the school district closed Hinchliffe Stadium, unable to pay for its continued upkeep.
Entrance Gates to Hinchliffe Stadium Near Corner of Liberty and Jasper Streets
In the last 20 years, the stadium’s structure has continued to deteriorate from neglect. Were this just another aging high school athletic stadium, Hinchliffe might already have been lost to time.
Hinchliffe Stadium Ticket Windows Facing Jasper Street
However, Hinchliffe’s rich history is what may just save it from demolition and ultimately what might ensure its restoration for future generations to appreciate.
Detail of Ticket Window Facing Jasper Street, Hinchliffe Stadium
Most notably, Hinchliffe is recognized as one of the last surviving ballparks where a significant number of Negro League games were played.
Inside Ticket Booth, Hinchliffe Stadium
Starting in 1933, the Negro National League New York Black Yankees called Hinchliffe their home, continuing for 12 seasons until they departed at the end of 1945 (the Black Yankees played their home games at Triborough Stadium in 1937). Many Negro League greats played at Hinchliffe, including one 1934 contest between the Black Yankees and the Pittsburgh Crawfords featuring future Hall of Famers James “Cool Papa” Bell, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, and Judy Johnson. Other Hall of Famers who played at Hinchliffe Stadium include Martín Dihigo, Monte Irwin, Buck Leonard, and Satchel Paige (note: it is unclear whether Paige actually played in a game at Hinchliffe). Hinchliffe also was home to the Negro National League New York Cubans in the mid 1930s.
Detail of Hinchliffe Stadium Ticket Booth
Future Hall of Famer and Paterson native Larry Doby grew up playing at Hinchliffe Stadium, first as a star at Eastside High School playing both football and baseball, and later as a member of the Negro National League Newark Eagles, beginning in 1942.
Entrance of Hinchliffe Stadium (Interior) Near Corner of Liberty and Jasper Streets
In addition to Negro League baseball, Hinchliffe stadium hosted professional soccer (the New Jersey Stallions and New Jersey Eagles) and football (Paterson Giants, the Silk City Bears, the Paterson Panthers and the Paterson Nighthawks), as well as boxing and auto racing. Notable athletes who played at Hinchliffe include future football Hall of Famers Vince Lombardi playing for the Brooklyn Eagles in a game against the Panthers, Earl Clark playing for the Portsmouth Spartans in a game against the Giants, and Bill Dudley playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game against the Panthers. For more information about Hinchliffe’s rich history, see Hinchliffe’s Stadium’s application filed with National Trust For Historic Preservation Application which provided much of the history outlined above and Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium.
Hinchliffe Stadium Grandstand With Paterson Public School No. 5 in Background
Thankfully, many historians and fans of the game have stepped in to help protect Hinchliffe including Brian LoPinto, founder of Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium.
Hinchliffe Stadium, View of First Base Grandstand From Home Plate Grandstand
In 2004, Hinchliffe Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.
Scoreboard, Hinchliffe Stadium
In 2013 it was designated a National Historic Landmark. On July 22, 2014, the Hinchliffe Stadium Heritage Act sponsored by Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr., passed the U.S. House of Representatives. That bill would expand Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park – which sits just south of the ballpark – to include Hinchliffe Stadium.
Hinchliffe Stadium Looking Toward Former Center Field With Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park in Background
Even with all that has been done to help ensure Hinchliffe Stadium’s future, the current condition of the ballpark, and the passage of time, continue to work against it.
Third Base Grandstand, Hinchliffe Stadium
The poured concrete structure that helped sustain the ballpark since it’s construction in the early 1930′s is crumbling, which will require extensive repair or replacement of the actual concrete.
Hinchliffe Stadium Grandstand Staircase
An assessment of the stadium conducted by the City of Paterson concluded that although much of the concrete is salvageable, the cost of restoration and modernization could be as high as $44 million. The City of Greensboro, North Carolina, is facing a similar challenge as it grapples with how best to restore historic War Memorial Stadium which, like Hinchliffe, is constructed mainly of poured concrete.
Hinchliffe Stadium Bathroom
Although the continued existence of Hinchliffe Stadium is not yet a certainty, the good news on many fronts suggests that the ballpark might just stand the test of time.
Houses Fronting Totowa Avenue Near Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, NJ
Restoration of the ballpark would be good news not only for the citizens of Paterson, New Jersey, but for baseball fans and historians far and wide. However, to paraphrase Nelson Wilbury, “it’s gonna take a whole lot of spending money to do it right.” If you are interested in helping preserve Hinchliffe Stadium, contact Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium. And while you are at it, be sure to thank them as well.
Tags: Art Deco, Bill Dudley, Bill Pascrell Jr., Brian LoPinto, Buck Leonard, Deadball, Earl Clark, Fanning & Shaw, Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium, Gaetano Federici, Hinchliffe Stadium, Hinchliffe Stadium Heritage Act, James "Cool Papa" Bell, John v. Hinchliffe, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Larry Doby, Liberty Street, lost ballpark, lost ballparks, Maple Street, Martín Dihigo, Monte Irwin, National Historic Landmark, National Register of Historic Places, Negro Leagues, Negro National League, New Jersey Eagles, New Jersey Stallions, New York Black Yankees, New York Cubans, Newark Eagles, Oscar Charleston, Paterson Giants, Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, Paterson New Jersey, Paterson Nighthawks, Paterson Panthers, Paterson Public School No. 5, Pittsburgh Crawfords, PIttsburgh Steelers, Satchel Paige, Silk City Bears, Totowa Avenue, Vince Lombardi
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Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium is located at 3125 Leeman Ferry Road in Huntsville, Alabama.
- Joe W. Davis Stadium Marquee at Memorial Parkway and Don Mincher Drive
The ballpark is named after a former Mayor of Huntsville who spearheaded the effort to bring professional baseball to Huntsville.
- Entrance to Joe W. Davis Stadium, Huntsville, Alabama
Constructed in 1985, it has been the home of the Southern League Huntsville Stars for the team’s entire existence.
- Entrance to Joe W. Davis Stadium Circa 2003
The team’s name and logo is a nod to the city’s connection to space exploration. Both NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command at the Redstone Arsenal are located in the Huntsville area.
- View of Joe W. Davis Stadium From Behind Outfield Wall
The ballpark was designed and built prior to the rebirth movement that swept professional baseball parks with the introduction of Camden Yards in 1992.
- View of Joe W. Davis Field From Behind Outfield Wall Circa 2003
Thus, both the exterior and interior of Joe Davis Stadium are plain and functional, with little in the way of architectural flourishes.
- Turnstiles at Front Entrance to Joe W. Davis
Because the ballpark lacks any real je ne sais quoi, it truly harkens back to an earlier era when only the game on the field mattered.
- Beer Stand and Beer Man, Joe W. Davis Stadium
The stadium’s dated structure also helps explain why the Stars wanted to relocate to a new facility.
- Joe W. Davis Stadium Concourse Behind Third Base
Given the ballpark’s location in Rocket City, there certainly was ample inspiration for a space-themed baseball ballpark. Unfortunately, other than the Stars logo and Jet’s Pizza, there is very little in the way of space-themed concourse or ballpark offerings.
- Jet’s Pizza – Gotta Love the Pun
When the stadium opened in 1985, the Stars were an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.
- Day’s Lineup Posted on Stadium Concourse
In 1999, their affiliation switched to the Milwaukee Brewers, who have remained with the Stars ever since.
- Entrance to First Base Seating Bowl, Joe W. Davis Stadium
The ballpark faces northeast, providing an inspiring view of Monte Sano State Park.
- The View Behind Home Plate, Joe W. Davis Stadium, Huntsville, Alabama
- Joe W. Davis Stadium with Monte Sano State Park Visible Beyond Outfield
Although intended primarily for baseball, the City of Huntsville designed Joe Davis stadium as a multi-purpose venue.
- Joe W. Davis Left Field Seating Bowl
This accounts for the exceptionally long grandstand that runs along the third base foul line and wraps around to left field, while the first base grandstand stops opposite first base.
- View of Joe W. Davis from Behind Outfield Fence
The ballpark can hold over 10,000 spectators, a size much larger than necessary for those who come to watch the Stars come out.
- Entrance to Section 201 Joe W. Davis Stadium
Built to include 15 sky suites long before such luxury boxes were the norm for minor league baseball, even that portion of the structure looks very much outdated.
- Who On Earth Designed this Entrance to the Joe W. Davis Luxury Boxes?
The majority of the seats are uncovered, with shade provided only for those sitting in the grandstand running along first base.
- Huntsville Stars Warm Up Pregame
Perhaps it is Joe Davis Stadium’s dated feel that makes me lament the departure of the Stars.
- Wahoos Manager Delino DeShields and Stars Manager Carlos Subero Exchange Lineup Cards
It remains a good place to watch baseball, with plenty of room to spread out.
- Huntsville Stars take on the Pensacola Blue Wahoos
For several years now the Stars have been looking for another venue in which to shine.
- Scoreboard, Joe W. Davis Stadium, Huntsville
Perhaps knowing that the end was near, the City did not invest much in the stadium in the way of extras. Even the stadium scoreboard is perfunctory at best.
- Joe W. Davis Entrance to Team Store
In January 2014, the Stars announced they were moving to a brand new ballpark being constructed in Biloxi, Mississippi.
- Slim Pickings in the Huntsville Team Store’s Final Season
Alas, 2014 was to be the last season of the Stars in Huntsville. However, construction shortfalls at the Biloxi site have delayed the team’s move to that ballpark for the start of the 2015 season.
- Huntsville’s Parting Banner, Joe W. Davis Stadium
It is unclear where the team will play to start the season, but apparently it will not be in Huntsville.
- Huntsville Stars Logo
There are no current plans to demolish Joe Davis Stadium. Presumably the City could still use the facility for high school football games and the occasional monster truck rally. There is also talk of perhaps a new Southern League franchise locating to Huntsville in the next few years, should the city agree to construct a new, downtown ballpark. What does seem certain, however, is that come September 1, 2014, the days of professional baseball at Joe Davis Stadium will come to an end. And after that, it will be just a matter of time before the stadium becomes yet another lost ballpark.
Tags: 3125 Leeman Ferry Road, Alabama, Biloxi Mississippi, Huntsville, Huntsville Stars, Huntsville Stars leaving, Joe Davis Stadium, Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium, Joe W. Davis Stadium, lost ballpark, lost ballparks, Marshall Space Flight Center, Milwaukee Brewers, minor league baseball, Monte Sano State Park, multipurpose stadium, NASA, new ballpark Biloxi, Oakland Athletics, Redstone Arsenal, Rocket City, Southern League, United States Army Aviation and Missile Command
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There is good news in Cleveland. The former site of League Park – once home to the National League Cleveland Spiders, the American League Indians, the National Football League Cleveland Rams, and the Negro American League Cleveland Buckeyes – has been preserved and the historical portions of the ballpark that remain have been restored or renovated.
League Park Renovation of Main Ticket Booth 2014
In an earlier post about League Park I reported about what remained at the site as of 2009.
League Park Center Circa 2009
In August 2014, the City of Cleveland completed a renovation process, several years in the making.
Panoramic View of League Park Along Lexington Avenue
The former ticket booth and team administrative offices located at the corner of 66th and Lexington has been restored to its turn of the century beauty.
Detail of Second Floor Window and Brick Work Renovation, League Park, Cleveland
In addition, along Lexington Avenue, the city has installed a forty foot high fence similar to the one that once stood along the back of right field at the time Shoeless Joe Jackson played for the Indians.
Recreated Right Field Fence League Park Center, From Days When Joeless Joe Jackson Played Right Field
The interior of the former ticket booth and administrative offices also has been renovated.
First Floor Renovation of League Park Main Ticket Booth and Offices
Inside the ballpark site is a plaza along the first base side of League Park that helps celebrate the history of the site.
Panoramic Shot of First Base Side Plaza
On the wall where once sat the first base grandstand, the City has placed pictures of notable ballplayers who once played at League Park.
League Park First Base Grand Stand With Pictures of Notable Ballplayers
The plaza also includes a sidewalk with notable dates in the history of League Park.
League Park First Base Plaza Includes Notable Years in Ballpark’s History
The Ohio Historical Marker that since 1979 sat along Lexington Avenue next to the former ticket booth and administrative offices has been renovated and relocated near the right field corner.
Renovated League Park Historical Marker
Located in place of the first base grandstands (a portion of which actually remained at the site until about 2002) is a new one story building.
New Building on Site of League Park’s Former First Base Grandstand, Indian’s Club House, and Dugout
The building, and plaza in front of it, mark the site of Cleveland’s dugout and a tunnel that once provided player access to the club house.
Circa 2003 Photo of League Park First Base Grand Stand and Tunnel From Dugout to Club House
The above photo from 2003 shows the location of the dugout steps and clubhouse tunnel. The photograph below shows the clubhouse tunnel as it existed in 2009.
League Park Tunnel from Home Team Dugout to Club House
A metal railing now outlines the location of the clubhouse tunnel inside the building constructed on top of the first base grand stand.
Inside View of Building Constructed Atop Dugout and Club House Tunnel
The window at the center of the building, just to the left of the infield backstop in the picture below, marks the location of the clubhouse tunnel.
Former Location of First Base Grandstand as Seen From Infield
The original infield, which by 2009 had been removed and replaced with just grass, is back in the form of turf.
League Park Infield Circa 2003
Home plate sits in the same location as it once sat during the time of League Park.
Panoramic of League Park Turf Field
Metal bleachers surround the infield backstop.
Bleachers and Backstop, League Park Field
The entrance to League Park along 66th Street includes an iron gate placed in the same spot where countless fans once entered the ballpark during its heyday.
Entrance to League Park on 66th Street
The City of Cleveland has done a wonderful job restoring the first base grandstand outer wall as well.
Renovated Wall Along First Base Side of League Park on 66th Street
The brickwork of League Park’s outer wall is quite exquisite and was worth saving even apart from the historic nature of League Park.
Detail of League Park Brick Work, First Base Grandstand Outer Wall, 66th Street
Baseball once again will be played at the corner of Lexington and 66th. The City of Cleveland and the many baseball enthusiasts who helped encouraged League Park’s renovation have done a wonderful service not only for Cleveland fans, but also for fans of the game around the country. I always have felt that League Park was a historic site that any baseball fan traveling to Cleveland should see. Hopefully now with the park’s renovation, fans from around the country will stop by the corner of Lexington and 66th to see the wonderful gem that is League Park. With apologies to W.P. Kinsella, “if you renovate it, they will come.”
And speaking of Shoeless Joe Jackson, on your visit to League Park, be sure to make a stop at the vacant lot just two blocks East of League Park at 7209 Lexington Avenue.
Vacant Lot at 7209 Lexington Avenue, Site of Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Cleveland Home
On that spot once sat the home of Mr. Jackson, the place where he lived during his time with the Cleveland Indians. If only he had never left Cleveland . . .
Tags: 66th and Lexington, City of Cleveland, Cleveland, Cleveland Buckeyes, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Rams, Cleveland Spiders, Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come, If you renovate it they will come, League Park, League Park Renovation, League Park restoration, Negro American League, shoeless Joe Jackson, Shoeless Joe Jackson House, turf field, W.P. Kinsella
Posted in League Park, Ohio ballparks | Comments (1)
Hershel Greer Stadium, home of the Nashville Sounds, currently is located at 534 Chestnut Street, in Nashville, Tennessee, just two miles south of downtown Nashville.
Hershel Greer Stadium, Home of the Nashville Sounds
Greer Stadium was constructed by the City of Nashville in 1978 on land that was once part of Fort Negley, a Civil War fortification once occupied by Union Troops. Fort Negley holds the distinction of being largest civil war fortification created during the war, but not built near water.
View of Hershel Greer Stadium From Left Field Parking Lot
The area around Greer Stadium and Fort Negley, located just southeast of the intersection of I-40 and I-65, is largely industrial. The result being that neighborhood does not offer baseball fans much to do before or after games other than come and go.
Access to Greer Stadium from Chestnut Street Bridge Over Railroad Tracks
Stone columns at the entrance to right field are designed to mimic the stone fence surrounding what is left of Fort Negley.
Greer Stadium Entrance Gate Near Right Field
The ballpark’s overall design is markedly old-school, somewhat reminiscent of Milwaukee’s County Stadium.
Fan Relations, Exterior of Greer Stadium
Much of the ballpark exterior is painted Army grey, perhaps also a nod to the site’s former use as a Fort.
Entrance to Right Field, Greer Stadium
Greer Stadium’s covered concourse runs behind behind a portion of the first and third base stands.
Greer Stadium Concourse
The extended concourses behind the bleachers located along the first and third base foul lines near left field and right field are uncovered.
Greer Stadium Standings Scoreboard
The view from home plate looking out toward center field faces southeast. Although the area is largely industrial, the view is almost pastoral, as all that is visible is a line of trees.
Greer Stadium, View Behind Home Plate
The view looking toward right field is downright bucolic, with the hills of Radnor Lake south of Nashville visible in the distance.
Greer Stadium Looking South Towards Hills of Nearby Radnor Lake
Without question, the most distinctive and recognizable part of Greer stadium is the guitar-shaped scoreboard that sits out beyond the left field fence.
Greer Stadium's Iconic Guitar-Shaped Scoreboard, Nashville, Tennessee
The ballpark’s seating bowl is composed mainly of plastic blue seats that ring the playing field down the first and third base fould lines.
VIew of Greer Stadium Grandstand From Right Field Line
The visiting team dugout is located along first base.
Visitors Dugout, Greer Stadium, Nashville
The Nashville Sounds have been the primary tenant of Greer Stadium throughout its existence. From 1978 through 1984 the Sounds were members of the Double A Southern League. Beginning in 1985, they began play in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. In 1993 and 1994 Greer Stadium also served as the home field for the Nashville Express of the Double-A Southern League and a Minnesota Twins affiliate.
St. Louis Cardinals Prospect Oscar Traveras, Pre-Game Warmups, Greer Stadium
When Greer Stadium opened in 1978, the Sounds were an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. In 1980, the Sounds became an affiliate of the New York Yankees, through the 1984 season.
Greer Stadium Visiting Team Bullpen
The Sounds affiliation with MLB continued to change over the years. The Detroit Tigers (1985-1986), the Cincinnati Reds a second time (1987 – 1992), the Chicago White Sox (1993-1997), and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1998-2004) were all at one time affiliated with the Sounds.
Full Moon Rises Over Sounds Bullpen at Greer Stadium
Since 2005, the Sounds have been an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Slugger's Sports Bar and Grill, Greer Stadium
Above the press box, atop Greer Stadium, is the Slugger’s Sports Bar and Grill, which provides a fine view of the field and a place to come in from the cold when the game time temperatures dips into the 30′s in mid April.
View of the Field from Greer Stadium from Slugger's Sports Bar and Grill
Greer Stadium is nothing if not quirky and, unfortunately, a dying breed in the annals of minor league ballparks.
A Zig-Zag of Seats Behind Home Plate, Greer Stadium
The seating seems to have been designed and accounted for only after the dimensions of the stadium structure were put into place.
Section QQ, Greer Stadium
Additions to the ballpark over the years only added to Greer’s stadium’s funky layout.
No View Right Field Concession Stand, Greer Stadium
But the quirks of Greer Stadium are part of what makes it still a charming place to watch baseball.
The Right Field Family Leisure Party Deck, Greer Stadium
For the past several seasons, the Sounds have been lobbying for a new ballpark.
A View of the Seats, Greer Stadium, Nashville
As the debate over if, where, and when to build a new ballpark continued, the condition of Greer Stadium suffered, with little interest from the city in spending money on significant upkeep or improvements.
Sun-Bleached and Weathered Bleachers at Greer Stadium
Greer Stadium’s days are now numbered. A new home for the Nashville Sounds is being built three miles north of Greer Stadium, less than a mile north of downtown Nashville.
Signs Advertising New Nashville Sounds Ballpark
Alas, 2014 will be the last season as First Tennessee Park is scheduled on Jackson Street, between Fourth and Fifth avenues, is scheduled to open time for the 2015 season.
Location of Future Nashville Sounds Ballpark on Jackson Street between 4th and 5th Streets
Home Plate will sit just South of Jackson Street, with the ballpark facing towards downtown Nashville.
Sign Showing Design of New Nashville Sounds Ballpark
A portion of the land where the new ballpark is under construction was once the former site of Sulphur Dell, where baseball was played in Nashville from 1870 until 1963. From 1901 to 1963, Sulphur Dell was the home of the Nashville Vols and famous Vols players such as the eccentric Boots Poffenberger.
Sign Advertising New Nashville Ballpark At Sulphur Dell
Although the city of Nashville is still considering its options for repurposing the land upon which Greer Stadium sits, one thing does seem certain – that the ballpark itself will not remain and in the near future will become just another lost ballpark. When the 2014 season ends, baseball will have been played at Greer Stadium a total of 37 years, one year less than the number seasons that the American League Baltimore Orioles called Memorial Stadium home. Hopefully the City of Nashville will find some way to commemorate the former ballpark site. Perhaps the city should leave intact the guitar-shaped scoreboard since it seems there is little interest in moving the iconic structure to First Tennessee Park. The scoreboard is a part of Nashville history and would provide an excellent marker and reminder for where professional baseball was once played in the city.
Tags: Boots Poffenberger, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Civil War, Detroit Tigers, First Tennessee Park, Fort Negley, Greer Stadium, Greer Stadium closing, Greer Stadium final season, Greer Stadium final year, guitar shaped scoreboard, Hershel Greer Stadium, Jackson Street, Milwaukee Brewers, Nashville Express, Nashville Sounds, Nashville Vols, new Nashville ballpark, New York Yankees, Oscar Traveras, Pacific Coast League, Pittsburgh Pirates, Radnor Lake, Save the Nashville Sounds Guitar Scoreboard, Slugger's Sports Bar and Grill, Southern League, Sulphur Dell
Posted in Hershel Greer Stadium, Tennessee ballparks | Comments (2)
Cooper Stadium (“the Coop”) was a minor league baseball ballpark located at 1155 West Mound Street, in Columbus, Ohio.
Night View, Red Bird Stadium, Columbus, Ohio, Postcard C.T.Art Colortone, Curt Teeich & Co, W.E. Ayres, Columbus, Ohio
Christened Red Bird Stadium when it was opened on June 3, 1932, the ballpark originally was home to the American Association Columbus Red Birds. The Red Birds were the top minor league affiliate of Branch Rickey’s St. Louis Cardinals.
Red Bird Stadium, Columbus, Ohio, Home of Columbus Base Ball Team, Postcard C.T.Art Colortone, Curt Teeich & Co, W.E. Ayres, Columbus, Ohio
Notable St. Louis Cardinal farm hands who played at Red Bird Stadium include Paul “Daffy” Dean, Joe Garagiola, Harvey Haddix, Max Lanier, Enos Slaughter, Harry Walker, and Sammy Baugh (Football Hall of Fame quarterback for the Washington Redskins).
Exterior, Cooper Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
When the Red Birds departed Columbus after the 1954 season, local businessman and former Red Bird clubhouse boy Harold Cooper brought an International League franchise to Columbus in 1955.
Ticket Windows, Cooper Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
The new team was named the Columbus Jets and the ballpark was renamed Jets Stadium in honor of its new tenant. For the first two seasons, the Jets were an affiliate of the Kansas City Athletics. From 1957 to 1970 they were an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cooper Stadium Dedication Plaques
The name “Jets” was a nod to the city’s notable connections with aviation history, including the Wright Brothers and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Stadium Break Between First Base Grandstand and Souvenir Shop, Cooper Stadium
Professional baseball was not played in Columbus from 1971 to 1976. In 1977, Mr. Cooper, then a Franklin County Commissioner, brought baseball back to Columbus and a newly-renovated Franklin County Stadium, which opened as the home of the Columbus Clippers.
1930s Era Concession Stand, Cooper Stadium
The Clippers were an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first two seasons at Franklin County Stadium and, from 1979 to 2006, were the AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees. In 2007 and 2008, the Clippers were an affiliate of the Washington Nationals.
Entrance From Concourse to Sections 107-109, Cooper Stadium
Renovations to the stadium included the addition of sky boxes and a new press box above the grandstand roof.
Mesh Screening Behind Home Plate, With View of Sky Boxes Above Grandstand Roof, Cooper Stadium
The 1930s metal bracing for original grandstand roof was left intact and incorporated into the renovations.
1930's Metal Roof Crossbars, Cooper Stadium
The concourse behind the first and third base sides remained largely in tact as well.
Concourse, Cooper Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
The original wooden grandstand seats were replace with yellow-painted steel and aluminum seats.
Seats Behind Home Plate, Cooper Stadium
In 1984, the ballpark was renamed Cooper Stadium, in honor of Mr. Cooper, who also served as President of the International League from 1978 to 1990.
View of Infield, Cooper Stadium, From Behind Home Plate
The dugouts at Cooper Stadium were true dugouts, placing the players on the dugout bench at eye level with the playing surface.
Cooper Stadiums Truly Dug Out Dugout
Fans sitting in the box seats along the first and third base sides of the stadium were likewise close to the action.
Columbus Clipper Frank Menechino in the On Deck Circle, Cooper Stadium
Cooper Stadium was located along I-70 and I-71, sandwiched between a residential neighborhood to the north, and Greenlawn Cemetery to the south.
Columbus Clipper Will Nieves Lights Up the Scoreboard at Cooper Stadium
Once inside the stadium, however, the view was almost bucolic, with trees surrounding the outfield fence
Columbus Clippers Take On The Louisville Bats at Cooper Stadium
The final game at Cooper Stadium was played on September 1, 2008.
Cooper Stadium Post Game
The Columbus Clippers moved to a new ballpark located three miles northeast, closer to downtown Columbus.
View of Columbus Skyline Beyond Left Field, Cooper Stadium
The new ballpark, Huntington Park, opened on April 18, 2009.
Banner At Cooper Stadium Advertising Huntington Park Ballpark Opening 2008
After the Clippers departed, Cooper Stadium sat vacant for several years while a local development company negotiated with the city of Columbus to purchase the ballpark site. Arshot Investment Corporation currently is in the process of converting the Cooper Stadium site into a multi-use Sports Pavilion and Automotive Research Complex (SPARC). In April 2014, demolition of Cooper Stadium began, with the removal of the first base grandstand.
First Base Grand Stand, Cooper Stadium, Now Demolished
However, the third base grandstand of Cooper Stadium is being preserved and incorporated into a portion of the paved half-mile race track. Thus, Cooper Stadium will follow in the footsteps of Westport Stadium in Baltimore, the former home of the Baltimore Elite Giants, which in the 1950s was converted into Baltimore’s first NASCAR-sanctioned racetrack.
Westport Stadium (Bob Williams photo from the Larry Jendras Jr. Collection)
SPARC will also include a technology center, lodging, conference and exhibition space, and restaurants.
Cooper Stadium at Night
Although Cooper Stadium is now a lost ballpark, like Braves Field in Boston a portion of it remains, repurposed, allowing future generations the opportunity to experience at least a portion of what made Cooper Stadium a great place to watch a ballgame. Thanks to Arshot for having the vision to keep a part of Cooper Stadium, and baseball history, alive in Columbus, Ohio.
Tags: American Association, Arshot Investment Corporation, Branch Rickey, Columbus Jets, Columbus Ohio, Columbus Red Birds, Cooper Stadium, Enos Slaughter, Frank Menechino, Harold Cooper, Harry Walker, Harvey Haddix, Huntington Park, International League, Jets Stadium, Joe Garagiola, lost ballparks, Max Lanier, minor league baseball, New York Yankees, Paul "Daffy" Dean, Pittsburgh Pirates, Red Bird Stadium, Sammy Baugh, SPARC, Sports Pavilion and Automotive Research Complex, St. Louis Cardinals, the Coop, Washington Nationals, Westport Stadium, Will Nieves
Posted in Cooper Stadium/Red Bird Stadium, Jets Stadium | Comments (0)
Dodgertown, located at 3901 26th Street in Vero Beach, Florida, was the spring training home of the Brooklyn Dodgers commencing in 1948 (the major league squad also trained in Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic in 1948).
Entrance to Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida, Circa 2004
Dodgertown was built on the site of the former United States Naval Air Station. During World War II, the Vero Beach Municipal Airport was chosen to be a Naval Air Station and the U.S. Government purchased approximately 1,500 acres of land adjacent to the airport. After the war, the Naval Air Station was closed and the property returned to the City of Vero Beach.
Entrance to Holman Stadium, Dodgertown, Circa 2004
Dodgertown was the result of a collaboration between Vero Beach resident and local business owner Bud Holman, and Dodgers President Branch Rickey.
Ornamental Iron Gate, Vero Beach Dodgers at Dodgertown
Dodgertown occupies a portion of the 1,500 acres purchased by the U.S. Government, including a section where the Navy had constructed barracks.
View of Playing Field, Holman Stadium, Vero Beach, Florida, Circa 2004
In 1952, Brooklyn Dodger President Walter O’Malley began construction of a 5,000 seat stadium on the site of Dodgertown. The stadium was completed in time for the 1953 spring season.
Third Base Seating, Holman Stadium, Circa 2007
The Dodgers named the stadium in honor of Bud L. Holman.
Holman Stadium Dedication Plaque Honoring Bud Holman, 1953
After the end of the 1957 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers took part in a good will tour of Japan at the invitation of Matsutaro Shoriki, known then as the “father of Japanese professional baseball.” During a game held in Hiroshima on November 1, 1956, the Dodgers dedicated a plaque “in memory of those baseball fans and others who died by atomic action on August 6, 1945. May their souls rest in peace and with God’s help and man’s resolution peace will prevail forever, amen.” The Dodgers dedicated a replica plaque installed at Holman Stadium the following spring.
Plaque Recognizing Brookly Dodgers Goodwill Trip to Japan in 1956
Holman Stadium’s design is unique in that it lacks any roof over the grandstand, with a resultant lack of shade for the fans attending games at the stadium.
First base side seating, Holman Stadium, Circa 2004
The actual stadium structure is relatively small, with press boxes located on two levels.
Press Box, Holman Stadium
With the Dodgers move west after the 1957, Holman Stadium became the spring training site of the Los Angeles Dodgers. From 1980 through 2006, the Vero Beach Dodgers of the Florida State League played their home games at Holman Stadium. In 2007 and 2008 the Vero Beach Devil Rays of the same league played at Holman Stadium.
Press Box, Holman Stadium, Circa 2004
The stadium dugouts, like the stadium grandstand, also lacked any covering, giving the appearance that the ballplayers were sitting in the first row of stands, with fans sitting just behind them.
Dodgers' Uncovered Dugout, Holman Stadium, Circa 2007
Over the years many Dodgers greats played baseball at Holman Stadium, including Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Duke Snider, Sandy Koufax, Don Sutton, Ricky Henderson, Hoyt Wilhelm, Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray, Juan Marichal, Greg Maddux, Gary Carter, and Jim Bunning.
View of the Field, Holman Stadium, Circa 2007
The outfield dimensions of Holman Stadium are more generous than those of Dodger Stadium.
View of Holman Stadium from Center Field, Circa 2007
Straight away center field at Holman Stadium sits at 400 feet from home plate, as compared to 395 feet at Dodger Stadium.
View of Holman Stadium from Left Field, Circa 2007
The left and right field corners of Holman Stadium are 340 feet from home plate, while those at Dodger Stadium are 330 feet.
Seating Along the First Base Foul Line, Holman Stadium, Circa 2007
The lack of covering over the grandstand leaves the plastic seats that ring the stadium not only hot during the day, but bleached from the sun. Thus, just as the uncovered wooden stands of the old ballparks were bleached by the sun, hence the name “bleachers,” the seats at Holman Stadium carry on that faded tradition.
Sun-Bleached Seating, Holman Stadium, Circa 2007
The home bullpen was located in foul territory down the left field line.
Hometeam Bullpen, Holman Stadium, Circa 2007
The visitor’s bullpen was located near the right field corner.
Visitor's Bulpen, Holman Stadium, Circa 2007
Dodgertown had it’s share of clever baseball signage, including “Bat Boy” and “Bat Girl” signs marking the entrance to restrooms located beyond right field.
Cleverly Marked Restrooms Entrance, Holman Stadium, Circa 2004
Holman Stadium’s concourse is quite small, offering only one concession stand inside the actual structure.
Holman Stadium Concourse behind Lower Level Press Box
When the Dodgers occupied Holman Stadium, trailers offering concessions and souvenirs lined the area beyond the left field line.
Concessions Trailer, Dodgertown, Circa 2007
The scoreboard at Holman Stadium, like the rest of the ballpark, is decidedly low tech, not that that is a bad thing.
Scoreboard, Holman Stadium, Circa 2007
Once the Dodgers departed after the 2008 spring season, Vero Beach entered into an agreement with Minor League Baseball to operate the facility as an umpire school and baseball tournament destination. The Dodgers took with them, however, the name Dodgertown and the facility was renamed the “Vero Beach Sports Village.” That arrangement last only a few years and, with possibility of facility closing forever, former Dodger President Peter O’Malley and his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler, thankfully stepped in to help save the sports village from being shuttered. In 2013, with the agreement of the Dodgers and Major League Baseball, the facility was renamed “Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida.” The future of Historic Dodgertown looks bright, with the hope that the historic stadium and grounds now will be maintained for future generations to appreciate and utilize. For more information about Historic Dodgertown, including a detailed history of the former spring training site, visit historicdodgertown.com.
Tags: Baseball, bleachers, Branch Rickey, Brooklyn Dodgers, Bud Holman, Bud Holman Stadium, Ciudad Trujillo, Dodgertown, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton, Duke Snider, Eddie Murray, Florida State League, Frank Robinson, Gary Carter, Greg Maddux, Historic Dodgertown, Hoyt Wilhelm, Jackie Robinson, Jim Bunning, Juan Marichal, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matsutaro Shoriki, Pee Wee Reese, Peter O'Malley, Ricky Henderson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, spring training, Terry O'Malley Seidler, United States Naval Air Station, Vero Beach, Vero Beach Devil Rays, Vero Beach Dodgers, Walter O'Malley
Posted in Florida ballparks, Holman Stadium | Comments (0)
Payne Park was located at the southeast corner of Adams Lane and South Washington Boulevard in Sarasota, Florida. The stadium was part of a 60 acre park named in honor of Calvin Payne, a Sarasota winter resident who donated the land to the city in 1923. From 1924 to 1988, the ballpark was the spring training home of four major league teams.
Payne Park, Sarasota, Florida (Sarasota County Government, scgov.net/History/Pages/PaynePark.aspx
John McGraw’s New York Giants were the first team to train at Payne Park. John Ringling (of Ringling Brothers Circus), who was a friend of McGraw’s and a Sarasota resident, convinced McGraw to bring his team to Florida.
Payne Park Postcard (M.E. Russell, Sarasota FL, Photo by Burnell. Cureich-Chicago C.T. Art-Colortone
McGraw was so enamored with Sarasota that he invested in local real estate with the hopes of constructing a housing development known as Pennant Park on Sarasota Bay. When the Florida real estate bubble burst in 1927, McGraw left Sarasota and the following season his Giants trained in Augusta, Georgia.
Sarasota's "Payne Park" Home of the Chicago White Sox (West Coast Card Distributors, Sarasota FL, Mirror-Chrome Card, H.S. Crocker, Inc.)
From 1929 to 1932, the American Association Indianapolis Indians held spring training at Payne Park. In 1933 the Boston Red Sox moved their spring training operations from Savannah, Georgia, to Sarasota. The Red Sox trained at Payne Park for the next 25 years, until 1958, with the exception of the war years, 1943 to 1945.
Aerial View of Payne Park Circa 1960s (Photo Courtesy of Payne Park Tennis Center)
Once the Red Sox departed, the Los Angeles Dodgers played a few spring training games at Payne Park during the 1959 season, although they also continued to train at their facility in Vero Beach. The Chicago White Sox arrived at Payne Park in 1960, training there until 1988. In 1979, Tony LaRussa began his first of eight seasons training at Payne Park as manager of the Chicago White Sox. LaRussa eventually would win 2,728 games as manager, third on the all time list and just behind fellow former Payne Park resident John McGraw (2,763).
Payne Park, Sarasota County, Florida
Sarasota constructed a new ballpark two miles northeast of Payne Park to replace what was considered, after 65 season, to be an antiquated facility. Ed Smith Stadium, located at 2700 12th Street, opened in 1989 as the new spring training home for the White Sox, where they trained until 1997. Both the Cincinnati Reds (1998-2009) and the Baltimore Orioles (1991) trained there as well.
Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, Florida, Pre-Renovation (Circa 2004)
After the Reds departed Sarasota in 2009, the Orioles returned, moving into a completely refurbished ballpark in 2010.
Ed Smith Stadium, Spring Training Home of the Baltimore Orioles, Post-Renovation 2013
Payne Park was demolished in 1990. Sarasota constructed a tennis center on a portion of the former ballpark site.
Payne Park Tennis Center, Located on Former Site of Payne Park
Although the ballpark itself is gone, the player’s clubhouse, located at the intersection of Adams Lane and South Washington Boulevard, was preserved and is used today as offices and a clubhouse for the tennis center.
City of Sarasota Employee Health Center Located in a Portion of the Former Payne Park Clubhouse
In 2011, the City of Sarasota Employee Health Center was opened in a section of the building.
Payne Park Tennis Center Offices and Clubhouse
The tennis center includes a memorial wall inside the clubhouse that tells the history of the site.
Interior of Payne Park Tennis Center
Included in the display are pictures of the ballpark and the players who called it their home.
Payne Park Tennis Center Wall of Fame Honoring Former Ball Field
Also included is a blueprint for the redevelopment of Payne Park, which shows the former location of the ballpark, and the tennis center that replaced it.
Blue Prints for Construction of Payne Park Tennis Center
The former Sarasota Terrace Inn, seen to the left in the postcard below, once dominated the Sarasota skyline surrounding the ballpark .
"Baseball Spring Training Boston Red Sox in Action, Sarasota, Fla." (Postcard M.E. Russell, Sarasota FL, Photo by Burnell. Cureich-Chicago C.T. Art-Colortone
Built in 1925 by John Ringling, the landmark, along with the old Sarasota County Courthouse tower (both seen in the postcard above), once dominated the skyline.
The former Sarasota Terrace Inn
The hotel was purchased in 1962 by Arthur Allyn, Jr., co-owner of the Chicago White Sox, to house the team during spring training.
The former Sarasota Terrace Inn, Now a County Administrative Building
The former hotel (seen behind the larger office building to the right in the picture below) is useful in determining where the ballpark once sat.
Former Site of Payne Park, Approximate Location of Third Base Foul Territory, With former Terrace Park Hotel in Background
In 1972, Sarasota County purchased the building. It currently is used as a Sarasota County administration building.
Plaque Commemorating the Sarasota Terrace Hotel (Now the Sarasota County Administration Center)
Payne Park’s former infield, and a portion of the outfield, is covered by 12 regulation-size tennis courts (there are four rows of three courts each).
Former Site of Payne Park, Looking Toward Approximate Location of Home Plate
The former site of home plate is located in what is now the second row of tennis courts closer to Adams Lane.
Former Site of Payne Park, Infield between First and Second Base
The former outfield is encircled by two roads that date back to the time of Payne Park.
Parking Lot Adjacent to Payne Parkway that was Once On-site Parking for Payne Park
The first is Payne Parkway, which straddles the right field corner.
Payne Parkway, Looking South, From Right Field Corner
The second is Laurel Street, which intersects Payne Parkway and runs behind what was once center field, terminating at the former left field corner.
Termination of Laurel Street at Payne Park's Former Left Field Corner
A grass field occupies what was once the deepest part of center field.
Payne Park - Former Site of Center Field
Just to the east of Payne Park was once a mobile home park which opened in the 1920s.
"General View of Sarasota Trailer Park Alongside Baseball Park, Sarasota, Florida" (Marion Post Wolcott, Library of Congress Division of Prints and Photographs, Washington, D.C.)
Although the trailer park is now gone, one vestige remains – the Payne Park Auditorium, formerly known as the Sarasota Mobile Home Park Auditorium. Constructed in 1962, it is located just beyond what was once center field at 2062 Laurel Street. The auditorium was built as a meeting place for mobile home park residents.
Payne Park Mobile Park and Auditorium
At the intersection of Adams Lane and East Avenue is a historic maker for Payne Park.
Sarasota County Historical Commission Plaque Honoring Payne Park
Behind the historical marker is a small outline of a ball field set in pavers.
Baseball Diamond at Payne Park
The sign is located in what was once a parking lot behind third base. Although Payne Park is long gone, it is still possible to play ball where some of baseball’s greatest stars once trained. You just need racket, not a bat and glove, in order to play.
Tags: American Association, Arthur Allyn Jr., Baltimore Orioles, baseball history, Boston Red Sox, Calvin Payne, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, City of Sarasota Employee Health Center, Deadball, Ed Smith Stadium, Indianapolis Indians, John McGraw, John Ringling, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Giants, Payne Park, Payne Park Tennis Center, Pennant Park, Sarasota, Sarasota Mobile Home Park Auditorium, Sarasota Terrace Inn, spring training, Tony LaRussa
Posted in Florida ballparks, Payne Park | Comments (0)
Professional baseball first came to St. Petersburg, Florida, as early as 1908 when the then- independent St. Paul Saints played an exhibition game against the National League Cincinnati Reds. In 1914, businessman and future mayor Al Lang convinced the St. Louis Browns to come to St. Petersburg and train at Sunshine Park – also known as Coffee Pot Park because of its location near Coffee Pot Bayou in St. Petersburg. The Browns stayed in St. Petersburg only one season. From 1915 through 1918, the Philadelphia Phillies trained at Coffee Pot Park.
Postcard of Waterfront Park, St., Petersburg,Florida (Pub. By Gulf Coast Card Co., St. Petersburg, FL, C.T. Art Colortone, Curt Teich, Chicago IL
In 1922, a new ballpark opened along the shoreline of Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg on a patch of land that was part of the city’s mile-long Waterfront Park. The ball field, also known as Waterfront Park, was located at the intersection of 1st Avenue S.E. and First Street S.E. It was the spring training grounds of the Boston Braves beginning in 1922.
Postcard of Waterfront Park, St. Petersburg, Florida (Pub. By Hartman Card Co, Pinella FL)
In 1925, the New York Yankees began training in St. Petersburg at nearby Crescent Lake Park, while playing some of their games at Waterfront Park. The Braves departed St. Petersburg after the 1937 season and the St. Louis Cardinals moved to Waterfront Park in 1938, sharing the facility with the Yankees for Spring Training games.
Al Lang Field Postcard, St. Petersburg, Florida (Pub. By Sun News Co. St. Petersburg FL, Cureich-Chicago C.T. Art-Colortone)
In 1947, Waterfront Park was demolished and replaced by Al Lang Field, named in honor of the man who helped establish St. Petersburg as a spring training mecca. Al Lang Field was constructed on land one block south of the northern most point of Waterfront Park.
Entrance to Al Lang Field (Detail of Postcard Pub. By Sun News Co., St. Petersburg FL, Curteich Chicago, C.T. Art Colortone)
Thus, the grandstand at Al Lang Field was built on top of Waterfront Park’s former infield.
Al Lang Field Postcard (Pub. By Sun News Co., St. Petersburg FL, Curteich Chicago, C.T. Art Colortone)
The exact location of Waterfront Park in relation to Al Lang Field is evident by comparing the two ballparks as they appear below in the two aerial postcards of Waterfront Park and Al Lang Field.
Aerial Postcard of Waterfront Park, St. Petersburg, Florida circa 1932 (Pub. By Hartman Card Co., Tampa, FL)
Al Lang Field:
Aerial Postcard of Al Lang Field (Pub. By Hartman Litho Sales, Largo FL, Photo by St. Petersburg News Service)
As can be seen from the above two postcards and the postcard below, a parking lot for Al Lang Field was constructed where Waterfront Park’s grandstand once stood. In the city block just north of the parking lot is Pioneer Park, which honors St. Petersburg’s earliest settlers.
Al Lang Field Postcard (Pub. By Sun News Co. St. Petersburg FL, Cureich-Chicago C.T. Art-Colortone)
In 1977, Al Lang Field was demolished and replaced by Al Lang Stadium, a concrete structure with little of the charm offered baseball fans at Al Lang Field and Waterfront Park.
View of Progress Energy Park Taken from Former Site of Waterfront Park Third Base Grandstand
In 1998, the naming rights to Al Lang Stadium were sold and the stadium was renamed Florida Power Park. It later was renamed Progress Energy Park in 2003. The stadium complex currently is known as Al Lang Field at Progress Energy Park.
Plaque Honoring Former St. Petersburg Mayor Al Lang
The Yankees departed Al Lang Field for Fort Lauderdale after the 1960 Spring Training season and the Cardinals departed for Palm Beach after the 1997 season.
Dedication Plaque Al Lang Stadium, 1977
Other professional teams that once called the ballpark home were the New York Giants (1951), the New York Mets (1962-1987), and the Baltimore Orioles (1991-1995).
Ramp to Concourse from Gate 2, Progress Energy Park
In 1998, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays took over the ballpark.
Tampa Bay Rays Souvenir Stand, Progress Energy Park
The Devil Rays, a 1998 MLB expansion team, played their regular season games at the Tropicana Dome, located less than two miles west of Progress Energy Park.
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Although the concrete structure of the stadium itself leaves much to be desired, the setting at Progress Energy Park was one of the most beautiful of all spring training venues, current or former.
Progress Energy Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
The view of the playing field, with Tampa Bay as a back drop,wais breathtaking.
Al Lang Field at Progress Energy Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
Beginning in 2005, the Tampa Bay Rays began a campaign to build a new major league ballpark on the site of Progress Energy Field. However, those plans met public opposition and quietly were withdrawn in 2009.
Artist Rendering of Proposed Ballpark on the Grounds of Progress Energy Field, to Replace Tropicana Field
The Rays trained at Progress Energy Park through the 2008 season.
Al Lang Field at Progress Energy Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
In 2009 the Rays moved to a new ballpark in Port Charlotte, Florida, 80 miles south.
Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, Florida
Charlotte Sports Park previously had been the home Spring Training home for the Texas Rangers. The park was renovated prior to the Rays arrival in 2009.
Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon and Coaches at Progress Energy Park in 2008
The facade of Progress Energy Park includes a series of plaques which in 1998 had been part of the “Jim Healey and Jack Lake Baseball Boulevard.” The 85 brass home plate plaques that made up the Baseball Boulevard told the story of Major League baseball St. Petersburg.
Facade of Progress Energy Park Circa 2012
One of the plaques honors the opening of Waterfront Park in 1922. However, the plaque states, incorrectly, that Waterfront Park was located on land that later became Bayfront Center, an indoor sports arena built in 1965 and demolished in 2004. The former site of Bayfront Center is now the Salvador Dali Museum, which is located south of Progress Energy Field on Bay Shore Drive.
Plaque at Progress Energy Park Honoring Waterfront Park
Progress Energy Park is still used to today, mainly for minor league soccer and music concerts. Although St. Petersburg residents appear to favor keeping the site a public park, it seems only a matter of time before the stadium itself is demolished. Hopefully, the historic field will be maintained, for it represents over 90 years of baseball spring training history.
Tags: Al Lang, Al Lang Field, Al Lang Stadium, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, Boston Braves, Charlotte Sports Park, Coffee Pot Bayou, Coffee Pot Park, Crescent Lake Park, Florida Power Park, Jim Healey and Jack Lake Baseball Boulevard, Joe Maddon, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Progress Energy Park, spring training, St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Petersburg, Sunshine Park, Tampa Bay Rays, Waterfront Park
Posted in Florida ballparks, Waterfront Park/Al Lang Field/Progress Energy Park | Comments (0)
Crecent Lake Park is located at 1320 5th Street N in St. Petersburg, Florida. In the southern most part of the park, tucked away in a residential neighborhood, is an important and relatively unspoiled historical baseball site.
Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
Beginning in 1925, the ball field at Crescent Lake Park was the spring training home of the American League New York Yankees.
Postcard Crescent Lake Field, St. Petersburg, Florida (Curteich-Chicago, published by Sun News Co., St. Petersburg
The park is dominated by a large, crescent-shaped lake (hence the name) located in the center of the park.
The Lake at Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
The former training grounds appear much as they did when the Yankees made the field their spring training home.
"Babe Ruth, King of Swat, at St. Petersburg, Florida" Stereo Card, Published by Keystone View Company, Meadville PA (Library of Congress Division of Prints and Photographs, Washington, D.C.)
Such greats as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and the rest of the 1927 World Champion Yankees played on this unassuming ball field.
Baseball Practice Field at Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
The Yankees trained at Crescent Lake Park until 1942. In 1943, when World War II restricted travel for things such as spring training, the Yankees stayed closer to home, training in Atlantic City and Asbury Park, New Jersey. The Yankees returned to Crescent Lake Park in 1946.
Baseball Backstop, Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
In 1947, the Yankees moved their spring training home games less than two miles south to Al Lang Field, now known as Progress Energy Park, although they continued to hold practice sessions at Crescent Lake Park. Beginning in 1947, the Yankees shared Al Lang Field with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Progress Energy Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
The Yankees continued to use Crescent Lake Park as a spring practice field until 1961, with the exception of 1950 when they trained in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1962 the Yankees departed St. Petersburg and the west coast of Florida for a new stadium built for them on the east coast in Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale Stadium, Former Spring Training Home of the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles
In 1962 the New York Mets took over the spring training at Crescent Lake Park. The Mets trained there through the 1987 season and played their home games at Al Lang Field (renamed Al Lang Stadium in 1977). From 1992 to 1995, the Baltimore Orioles trained at Crescent Lake Park, with their home games being played at Al Lang Stadium.
Practice Field, Crescent Lake Park Baseball Complex, St. Petersburg, Florida
In 1931, Crescent Lake Park was renamed Miller Huggins Field, after the manager of the Yankees who had died in 1929. In 1962, Casey Stengel returned to Crescent Lake as Manager of the New York Mets and, in 1963, the facility was renamed Huggins-Stengel Field. Today it is known as Huggins-Stengel Baseball Complex.
Huggins-Stengel Baseball Complex Sign, St. Petersburg, Florida
The grandstand at Huggins-Stengel Field was never particularly large, holding only a few thousand fans. Today, seating at the stadium consists only of a few rows of metal bleachers.
Bleachers at Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
A water tower that dominates the skyline at the southern end of the park remains from the time when the field was used for major league spring training.
Water Tower at Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
Several other structures dating back to the Yankees’ days at Crescent Lake remain as well.
Practice Field with Original Club House in Backgrouind, Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
Most notably, one of the original clubhouses remains. Inside the building is one wooden locker purportedly dating back to the time when the Yankees trained there.
Club House, Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
Outside the former club house (Building #4) are two plaques commemorating Miller Huggins and Casey Stengel.
Plaques Honoring Miller Huggins and Casey Stengel, St. Petersburg, Florida
The plaque honoring Miller J. Huggins states: “As a memorial and tribute to an outstanding sportsman and splendid character, who as Manager of the New York Yankees and resident of this city contributed to its fame and the betterment of baseball, the citizens of St. Petersburg dedicate this ground, which forever shall be known as Miller Huggins Field.”
Plaque Honoring Miller Huggins at Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
The plaque honoring Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel states: “One of baseball’s most popular and widely known figures who as Manager of the New York Yankees won ten American League Pennants in 12 years helping to make the Sunshine City the spring training capital of the world and who now has returned as Manager of the New York Mets this plaque is gratefully and affectionately dedicated.”
Plaque Honoring Casey Stengel at Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
The original flag pole remain as well.
Flag Pole at Crescent Lake Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
The neighborhood surrounding the park appears much the way it did when the Yankees and Mets practiced at the facility.
Houses Located on 5th Street, Across from Crescent Lake Park's Baseball Complex
On the facade of Progress Energy Park in downtown St. Petersburg are a series of plaques, some of which mention the history of Crescent Lake Park and Huggins-Stengel Field. Previously, those plaques had been part of the “Jim Healey and Jack Lake Baseball Boulevard,” which included 85 brass home plate plaques that told the story of Major League baseball St. Petersburg. The Boulevard plaques originally were located from First Street S in front of Al Lang Stadium to Central Avenue south along the sidewalk, to 13th Street west, stopping at Tropicana Field.
Progress Energy Park, With Historic Plaques Lining the Facade, St. Petersburg, Florida
One of the plaques commemorates the Yankees’s first year at Crescent Lake Park.
Progress Energy Field Plaque Honoring 1925 Arrival of the Yankees in St. Petersburg, Florida
Another plaque commemorates the renaming of Crescent Lake Park Miller Huggins Field in 1931.
Plaque at Progress Energy Field Honoring Former Yankees Manager Miller Huggins
A similar plaque honors the return of Casey Stengel to Crescent Lake in 1962 as manager of the New York Mets.
Progress Energy Stadium Plaque Honoring Former New York Yankee and Mets Manger Casey Stengel
Another plaque commemorates the renaming of the practice field Huggins-Stengel Field in 1963.
Progress Energy Stadium Plaque Commemorating Renaming of Huggins-Stengel Field
Huggins-Stengel Baseball Complex is used today by high school and college teams for both practice and games. The City of St. Petersburg recognizes the historical significance of the park and seems intent on maintaining it as a baseball facility. This is good news for fans of the game who want to appreciate first hand the national pastime’s rich history.
Tags: Al Lang Field, Babe Ruth, Baltimore Orioles, Casey Stengel, Crescent Lake Park, Fort Lauderdale Stadium, Huggins-Stengel Baseball Complex, Huggins-Stengel Field, Jim Healey and Jack Lake Baseball Boulevard, lost ballparks, Lou Gehrig, Miller Huggins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, New York Yankees Spring Training, Progress Energy Park Al Lang Stadium, spring training, St. Petersburg
Posted in Crescent Lake Park/Huggins-Stengel Field, Florida ballparks | Comments (3)
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is located at 3911 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles, California.
"Olympic Coliseum, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, California" (Postcard Western Publishing and Novelty Co.)
Erected as a memorial to World War I Veterans, the Coliseum opened in 1923, the same year as the original Yankee Stadium. The Coliseum hosted both the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.
Entrance to Los Angeles Coliseum from Exposition Park, Circa 2001
From 1958 until 1961, it was the home of the National League Los Angeles Dodgers.
Aerial view over Exposition Park, Coliseum, Sports Arena (USC Libraries' "Dick" Whittington Photography Collection, 1924-1987)
Primarily used as a football stadium, from 1951 to 1972, and 1979, the Coliseum hosted the NFL’s Pro Bowl. In 1967 it hosted the first Super Bowl, between the National Football League Green Bay Packers and the American Football League Kansas City Chiefs. The Coliseum also hosted the National Football League Los Angeles Rams from 1946 to 1979, the American Football League Los Angeles Chargers in 1960, and the National Football League Los Angeles Raiders from 1982 to 1994.
Los Angeles Coliseum Olympic Stadium (Postcard Tichnor Art Company)
Since 1923 it has been the home of the University of Southern California Trojans football team.
Gate 4 LA Coliseum, Near Parking Lot 4, Circa 2001
The Coliseum also is notable for hosting John F. Kennedy’s Acceptance Speech as part of the Democratic National Convention in 1960.
Gate 1 Entrance, Near South Hoover Street, LA Coliseum, Circa 2001
When the Dodgers moved from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, the Coliseum was meant to provide only a temporary home while the team constructed a new stadium.
1959 World Series Game 4 (By ievenlostmycat, San Diego CA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) via Wikimedia Commons)
Because the Coliseum was never meant for baseball, the dimensions of the field were quite skewed. The left field corner was a mere 251 feet from home plate and right field a mere 300 feet. A 40 foot screen was erected in left field in an attempt to combat the extremely friendly confines of the left field porch. Additional fencing was added in center field to cut back to 440 feet what would have been a 700 foot center field.
View of Seating Bowl From Entrance to LA Coliseum, Exposition Park, Circa 2001
The Coliseum hosted the Major League Baseball All Star Game in 1958 and the World Series in 1959. A plaque honoring the 1959 Fall Classic is posted at the main entrance to the Coliseum near Exposition Park. The Coliseum is the third oldest ballpark still standing. The other two are Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.
LA Coliseum Plaque Honoring 1959 World Series, Located At Entrance Near Exposition Park, Circa 2001
In 1962, the Dodgers moved seven miles northeast of the Coliseum to their new home in Chavez Ravine.
Entrance to Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Avenue, Los Angeles, California
In 2008, professional baseball returned to the Coliseum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers arrival in Los Angeles.
Exterior of LA Coliseum from South Hoover Street, Gate 4, Circa 2001
The Coliseum was reconfigured once again for baseball and an exhibition game between the Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox brought a record crowd of 115,300 fans to the ballpark.
Arched Entrance Way, LA Coliseum, From Exposition Park, Circa 2001
The Coliseum is one of only nine former major league baseball stadiums still in existence (Sun Life Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium, RFK Stadium, the Metrodome, Candlestick Park, Jarry Park (although converted to a tennis stadium), Olympic Stadium, and the the Astrodome are the remaining eight). With three of the those stadiums slated for demolition in 2014 (the Metrodome, Candlestick, and the Astrodome), the Coliseum will be one of only six.
Detail of Arched Entrance Way, LA Coliseum, From Exposition Park, Circa 2001
In September 2013, the City of Los Angeles agreed to a lease with USC granting the University control over the Coliseum for 98 years. USC has announced that it plans to renovate the historic structure.
Robert Graham's Life Sized Bronze Statues Installed Near Olympic Gateway in 1984
The University has hired the DLR Group of Omaha, Nebraska, to conduct a feasibility study for upgrades to and renovation of the 91 year old historic structure.
Ticket Booths, LA Coliseum, Gate 4, Circa 2001
With USC’s pledge to spend $100 million to renovate the stadium, the old ballpark’s future looks bright, for it appears the Coliseum is not in danger of becoming another lost ballpark.
Tags: 1932 Olympics, 1958 All Star Game, 1959 World Series, 1984 Olympics, Baseball, Brooklyn Dodgers, DLR Group, John F. Kennedy, LA Coliseum, LA Coliseum Renovation, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, lost ballparks, NFL Pro Bowl, Super Bowl I, Trojans, USC
Posted in California ballparks, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum | Comments (2)
Municipal Stadium was located at 1085 West Third Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Also known as Lakefront Stadium, the ballpark was situated on the banks Lake Erie just north of downtown.
Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (Postcard Curteichcolor, Distributed by Wilbur Evans)
Built in 1931 and designed by the same engineering firm (Osborn Engineering) that designed such ballparks as Fenway Park, Tiger Stadium, Forbes Field, and old Yankee Stadium, Municipal Stadium was the first publicly financed Major League ballpark in the country.
Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (Postcard Pub. by Ohio Natural Color Card Co., Plastichrome by Colourpicture Publishers, Inc.)
The stadium was known in Cleveland as the “Mistake by the Lake,” in part because of the uncertain weather patterns at the stadium caused by its proximity to Lake Erie.
Bird’s-Eye View of Cleveland Municipal Stadium and Downtown Cleveland (Photo by Butler Airphotos, Inc., Postard Distriubuted by George Klein News Co., Genuine Curteich-Chicago)
Although some believe that the name is a reference to Cleveland’s failed attempts to bring the 1932 Olympics to the City, in actuality the City of Los Angeles had been awarded those Olympics over a decade earlier.
Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (Postcard Curteichcolor, Distributed by George Klein News Co.)
Municipal Stadium was the first multipurpose, Major League stadium in the country. Beginning in July 1932, it was the home of the American League Cleveland Indians. Prior to that time, the Indians had called League Park their home. The Indians brought the World Series to Municipal Stadium in 1948 and 1954.
Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium , Huorticultural Gardens and Boat Docks (Postcard Tichnor Quality Views, Tichnor Bros., Braun Art Publishing)
By 1934, the Indians had begun the practice of playing weekday games at League Park and weekend and night games at Municipal Stadium (League Park had no lights). Playing in the smaller confines of League Park (located just four miles east of Municipal Stadium) made economic sense during the Great Depression, given the cost of opening and running Municipal Stadium versus the cost of holding games in the smaller venue. Several Cleveland professional football teams called Municipal Stadium home, including the American Football League and National Football league Cleveland Rams periodically from 1936 to 1945, and the All-American Football and National Football League Cleveland Browns from 1946 to 1995.
Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (Postcard Tichnor Quality Views, Tichnor Bros., Braun Art Publishing)
In 1993, the Indians played their final home game at Municipal Stadium, and the following season moved one mile south to their new home, Jacobs Field (named after the team’s owner). The new ballpark also was designed by Osborn Engineering. In 2009, the ballpark’s name was changed to Progressive Field.
Jacobs Field (Now Progressive Field), Home of the Cleveland Indians, Circa 2003
In 1996 the Cleveland Browns departed the city to become the Baltimore Ravens and demolition of the Mistake by the Lake commenced soon thereafter. In 1997, the city began construction of a new football stadium, also designed by Osborn Engineering.
Main Entrance to Cleveland Browns Stadium Circa 2003 – Facing Alfred Lerner Way
Cleveland Browns Stadium opened in 1999. It is constructed on the footprint of Municipal Stadium. The main entrance to the stadium facing, Alfred Lerner way, is the former location of Municipal Stadium’s first base grandstand.
Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (Postcard Pub. by Nelson Jones Co.)
Now known as FirstEnergy Stadium, the entrance along Erieside Avenue (facing northwest) is located near where Municipal Stadium’s left field once sat.
Entrance to FirstEnergy Field Near Former Location of Municipal Stadium’s Left Field
Municipal Stadium’s home plate was located on western most end of the football stadium near W. 3rd Street.
Browns Stadium Circa 2003 – West End, Former Location of Municipal Stadium’s Home Plate
Significant changes to the exterior and interior of the FirstEnergy Stadium were made in 2014.
Panoramic Photo of FirstEnergy Stadium West End
Municipal Stadium’s center field was located just beyond the eastern most entrance to FirstEnergy Stadium.
East Side Exterior of FirstEnergy Field
FirstEnergy Stadium, like Municipal Stadium, is surrounded on three sides by the Port of Cleveland.
Entrance to the Port of Cleveland Across from FirstEnergy Field
Two plaques located at the stadium’s main entrance on Alfred Lerner Way commemorate the new Brown’s Stadium (now known as FirstEnergy Stadium) and the politicians who helped make it possible.
Cleveland Browns Stadium Dedication Plaque, Located At Main Entrance on Alfred Lerner Way
Cleveland Browns Stadium – Plaque Honoring Opening Day August 21, 1999, Located At Main Entrance on Alfred Lerner Way
Although Municipal Stadium is now a lost ballpark, some solace can be taken from the fact that the field where the game once was played is still used for professional football. If anyone know of any plaques or displays at the stadium that commemorate Municipal Stadium or recognize the stadium’s former history, please let me know so I can add that information to this website.
Tags: 1932 Olympics, 1948 World Series, 1954 World Series, 1995 World Series, Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Rams, FirstEnergy Stadium, Jacobs Field, Lake Erie, Lakefront Stadium, League Park, lost ballparks, Mistake by the Lake, Municipal Stadium, Osborn Engineering, Port of Cleveland, Progressive Field
Posted in Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Ohio ballparks | Comments (4)
The ballpark currently known as Sun Life Stadium was home to the National League Florida Marlins (currently known as the Miami Marlins) from 1993 to 2011. It is located just north of Miami, Florida, at 2269 N.W. 199th Street, in the suburb of Miami Gardens.
Arial View of Pro Player Stadium (Sun Life) Configured for Baseball
Opened in 1987, and financed by former Miami Dolphins owner Joe Robbie, the ballpark is primarily a football stadium that was adapted for use by Major League Baseball.
Pro Player Stadium Circa 2002
In its 25 plus seasons in existence, the ballpark has undergone several name changes, from Joe Robbie Stadium, to Pro Player Park, to Pro Player Stadium, to Dolphins Stadium, to Dolphin Stadium, to Land Shark Stadium, to Sun Life Stadium.
Entrance to Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida
The Miami Dolphins have called the stadium home since 1987. Talks between team owners and city officials may lead to significant renovations of the stadium in the next few years, including the addition of a roof.
Pro Player Stadium at Night, Miami, Florida
The Florida Marlins began as an expansion team, playing their first season at what was then Joe Robbie Stadium in 1993. Within four years, in 1997, the team brought a World Series championship to Miami, and a second one in 2003. Thus, in the less than 20 years that the expansion Florida Marlins called Sun Life Stadium their home, the team won two more World Series at their home ballpark than the Chicago Cubs have won in their 100 seasons at Wrigley Field.
Exterior of Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
Sun Life Stadium is primarily a concrete structure, architecturally lacking a certain je ne sais quoi.
Pro Player Stadium Ticket Booth, Miami, Florida
However, inside the ballpark, the bright orange seats and expansive green field give the ballpark a somewhat festive look.
Sun Life Stadium, Former Home of Florida Marlins
Entrance to the seating bowl offers fans a vivid color display of aqua blue, leading to bright orange.
Entrance to Sections 101 and 156
Attendance at Marlins home games often was so abysmal that the team closed off to fans the upper deck seating.
Pro Player Stadium Circa 2002
Because the ballpark was adapted for baseball, the batters eye at Sun Life Stadium was made up of blue vinyl covering the seating directly behind dead-center field.
Center Field Batters Eye Miami Style - Blue Vinyl
One other quirk of staging baseball in a football arena was the lack of a center field scoreboard. Two main video scoreboards were placed at opposite ends of the stadium along the third base side and right field (the two end zones for football games).
Scoreboard, Sun Life Stadium
The rectangular configuration of the stadium did allow fans the opportunity to walk entirely around the field and take in the game from every vantage point, including center field.
View From Center Field Seats, Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida
The Dolphin’s orange seating throughout the stadium is adorned at the end of each row with the Dolphin’s logo.
Detail of Seats, Pro Player Stadium
The home team and away team bullpens were located out of play along the first base and third base foul lines.
Home Team Bullpen, Dontrelle Willis Warming Up
The souvenir store’s fish motif gave it the look of a seafood restaurant.
Seatrader Store, Florida Marlins
File under the moniker “truly out of place” – in no major league ballpark other than Miami, Florida, would you see cheerleaders.
Cheerleaders at a Baseball Game? And One Lucky Fish - Only in Miami
The team offices, located in the bowels of the ballpark included a Marlins Hall of Fame display and one really big taxidermy fish.
Marlins Hall of Fame
A Big Fish in the Marlins' Executive Offices
As a daily reminder that things could only get better, the administrative offices’ reception room included a clock counting down the number of days until the Marlins moved to a new, retractable-roof ballpark.
Stadium Countdown Clock - Marlins' Executive Office
The new ballpark, which opened in 2012 (and which I have yet to visit and photograph), is built on the site of the Orange Bowl, an 80,000 seat stadium that once was home to the National Football League Miami Dolphins, the Orange Bowl Classic, and the University of Miami Football Team.
Orange Bowl Postcard, Gulfstream Card Co, Miami, Florida
Sun Life Stadium is not a lost ballpark, and with plans to renovate the stadium apparently in the works, the good news is it appears the ballpark will be around for years to come. It currently is one of only seven former major league baseball stadiums still in existence (L.A. Coliseum, Qualcomm Stadium, RFK Stadium, Metrodome (slated for demolition), Candlestick Park (slated for demolition), Astrodome (slated for demolition). Before too long, it will be one of only four.
Tags: 1997 World Series, 2004 World Series, Dolphin Stadium, Dolphin's Stadium, Dontrelle Willis, Florida Marlins, Joe Robbie Stadium, Land Shark Stadium, Marlins Cheerleaders, Marlins Hall of Fame, Miami Dolphins, Miami Florida, Miami Marlins, Orange Bowl, Sun Life Stadium
Posted in Florida ballparks, Pro Player Stadium/Sun Life Stadium | Comments (1)
Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country. Now over 20 years old, it helped usher in the era of “retro ballparks” that swept both major league and minor league ballparks over the past two decades.
Oriole Park (VI) at Camden Yards, Home of the Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards is actually the sixth Baltimore baseball park known as Oriole Park. The first five were located about three miles north of Camden Yards in the Harwood and Abell neighborhoods of Baltimore (for a more detailed view, click on the map below). Here is a rundown of Oriole Park I through V.
Locations of Oriole Park I through V, In The Harwood and Abell Sections of Baltimore – Atlas of the City of Baltimore, Maryland Topographical Survey Commission 1914 (mdhistory.net)
The first Oriole Park was the home of the American Association Baltimore Orioles from 1883 to 1889. Also known as Huntington Avenue Grounds and American Association Park, it was located at the southeast corner of what is now East 25th Street and Barclay Street. First base paralleled Greenmount Avenue, right field paralleled East 25th Street, left field paralleled Barclay Street, and third base paralleled East 24th Street. An apartment building and row houses now mark the site.
Site of Oriole Park I, Left Field Corner, East 24th Street and Barclay Street, Baltimore
Oriole Park II was the home of the American Association Baltimore Orioles from 1890 to 1891, and was located at the southwest corner of what is now Greenmount Avenue and East 29th Street. First base paralleled Barclay Street, right field paralleled East 28th Street, left field paralleled Greenmount Avenue, and third base paralleled East 29th Street. A McDonald’s Restaurant and row houses now mark the site.
Southwest Corner of East 29th Street and Barclay Street in Baltimore, Former Site of Oriole Park II and IV
Oriole Park III, also known as Union Park and the Baltimore Baseball and Exhibition Grounds, was the home of the American Association Baltimore Orioles in 1891 and the National League Baltimore Orioles from 1892 to 1899. It was located at the southeast corner of what is now Guilford Avenue and East 25th Street. First base paralleled Guilford Avenue, right field paralleled East 24th Street, left field paralleled Barclay Street, and third base paralleled East 25th Street.
Union Park, Baltimore, Home of the National League Orioles, circa 1897 (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
The site is now occupied by row houses and a parking lot. The distinctive pitched-roof house just to the right of the third base grand stand remains at the site.
Back Side of 321 East 25th Street, Former Site of Union Park, Baltimore
Oriole Park IV, also known as American League Park, was the home of the American League Baltimore Orioles from 1901 to 1902, and the Eastern League and the International League Orioles from 1903 to 1915. It was located at the southwest corner of Greenmount Avenue and East 29th Street on the same site as Oriole Park II. The ballpark was the home field for Babe Ruth during his one season playing professional baseball in Baltimore for the Eastern League Orioles.
American League Park (Photo – Babe Ruth Museum)
A McDonald’s Restaurant and row houses now mark the site.
Former Site of American League Park, Baltimore
Oriole Park V, also known as Terrapin Park, was the home of the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins from 1914 to 1915, and the International League Orioles from 1916 to 1944. It was located at the northwest corner of what is now Greenmount Avenue and 29th Street, across the street from the site of Oriole Park II and IV. First base paralleled East 29th Street, right field paralleled Greenmount Avenue, left field paralleled East 30th Street, and third base paralleled Vineyard Lane.
Terrapin Park (Later Known As Oriole Park)
The site now is occupied by row houses, the Barclay Elementary School, and Peabody Heights Brewery.
Former E.I. Dupont Finishes Division Building, East 29th Street, Baltimore, Site of Oriole Park V
All five original Oriole Parks are located less than a mile west of the Baltimore Orioles previous home, Memorial Stadium, which was located at the northeast corner of East 33rd Street and Ellerslie Avenue.
Memorial Plaque of Memorial Stadium, Baltimore
Prior to the construction of Memorial stadium, it was the site of Municipal Stadium, which was constructed in 1922. The site is now occupied by a youth baseball field, a retirement village, and a YMCA.
Memorial Field at Former Site of Memorial Stadium
Baltimore has made it easy for baseball fans to visit these former sites by putting them so close together. The rest is up to you.
Tags: Abell, American Association, American League, American League Park, Babe Ruth, Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Terrapins, Eastern League, Federal League, Harwood, Huntington Avenue Grounds, International League, National League, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Oriole Park I, Oriole Park II, Oriole Park III, Oriole Park IV, Oriole Park V, Oriole Park VI, Terrapin Park, the Baltimore Baseball and Exhibition Grounds, Union Park
Posted in Maryland ballparks, Oriole Park | Comments (2)