Baltimore’s First American League Park – Original Home of the Future New York Yankees

Baltimore’s First American League Park – Original Home of the Future New York Yankees

The southwest corner of East 29th Street and Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, is the site of two former major league baseball fields.

The intersection of Green mount Avenue and East 29th Street
Intersection of Greenmount Avenue and East 29th Street, Baltimore, Maryland

From 1890-1891, the site held Oriole Park (II) (the second Oriole Park according to Phillip Lowry and his excellent book Green Cathedrals) and was home to the American Association Baltimore Orioles.

The southwest corner of East 29th Street and Barclay Street in Baltimore
Southwest Corner of East 29th Street and Barclay Street in Baltimore, Former Site of Two Former Major League Ballparks

A second ballpark – American League Park – was constructed on that site (also known as Oriole Park IV) (the fourth, according to Mr. Lowry) and was home to the American League Baltimore Orioles for the 1901 and 1902 seasons.

The American League Park entrance
American League Park (Photo – Babe Ruth Museum) Entrance on Greenmount Avenue (Near 29th Street)

American League Park should not be confused with Terrapin Park, which was located across 29th Street from American League Park at the northwest corner of East 29th Street and Greenmount. Terrapin Park was home to the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins in 1914 and 1915, the International League Orioles from 1916 to 1944, and the Negro American League Baltimore Elite Giants from 1938 to 1944 (see Terrapin Park/Oriole Park). The 1914 map below (with thanks to Bernard McKenna) shows the locations of both parks.

The Maryland Topographical Survey Commission from 1914
Atlas of the City of Baltimore, Maryland Topographical Survey Commission 1914 (

In 1902, the American League took control/ownership of Baltimore’s American League franchise and it subsequently was sold to New York interests and became the New York Highlanders, and later the New York Yankees. Some argue that this means the current New York Yankees were never formerly the “original” American League Baltimore Orioles. This distinction became important to the New York club (and some fans) as the Yankees were approaching 10,000 franchise wins (which they achieved in 2015). The Yankees had no interest in including Baltimore’s 1901 and 1902 season wins (or losses) as part of their illustrious record. However, there is no doubt that the New York Yankees franchise had its origin in Baltimore, even with the intervening ownership of the franchise by the American League.

The Eastern League Baltimore Orioles (the league was renamed the International League in 1911) took over American League Park for the 1903 season.

The opening day from April 26, 1909
Opening Day April 26, 1909, at Oriole Park (Library of Congress Division of Prints and Photographs, Washington, D.C.)

The ballpark was also where Babe Ruth, playing for the International League Orioles in 1914, played for Baltimore during his one year of professional minor league baseball.

A Sanborn Insurance Map shows the location of much of the ballpark in 1901.

The1901 Sanborn Insurance Map showing the American League Park
1901 Sanborn Insurance Map of Baltimore Showing Location of American League Park

A McDonald’s now stands at the site, its restaurant and drive through covering the left field corner and the parking lot behind it covering much of the infield.

The former site of American League Park
Former Site of American League Park, Baltimore – Note the building on the corner is the same building in the above vintage picture of American League Park

Home plate was once located in the southeast corner of East 29th Street and Barclay. No, that is not a young Babe Ruth standing in the approximate location of home plate, it is actually SABR Bob Davids Chapter President Bruce Brown.

The former site of American League Park's home plate
Former Site of American League Park’s Home Plate

The first-base line ran parallel to Barclay.

American League Park's first base line ran parallel to Barclay Street
American League Park’s First Base Line Ran Parallel to Barclay Street (Seen Here Looking South)

The third-base line ran parallel to East 29th Street.

The former left field toward home plate of the American League Park
Former Site of American League Park Baltimore, Looking Across Left Field Toward Home Plate/First Base

Two-story row houses fronting both sides of Llchester Road, constructed after the demise of American League Park, cover the remaining portion of the ballpark site.

Houses facing Llchester Road located in the former center field
Back Side Of Houses Facing Llchester Road Located In Former Center Field

The perimeter of the park ran from East 29th Street to the north, to Greenmount Avenue to the east, to East 28th Street to the South and to Barclay Street to the west.

People passing by Greenmount Avenue
Greenmount Avenue Looking South From Former Left Field Corner Toward Center Field

Six blocks south of the former ballpark site is St. Ann’s Catholic Church (at the corner of Greenmount Avenue and East 22nd Street) which is where former Orioles John McGraw married his second wife, the former Blanche Sindall. The church’s Gothic spiral is visible down Greenmount.

The steeple of St. Ann's Church visible down Greenmount Avenue
The Steeple Of St. Ann’s Church Visible Down Greenmount Avenue (just beyond red traffic light)

The areas surrounding the Harwood section of Baltimore includes several former ballpark sites. To the northwest is the former site of Memorial Stadium, home of the American League Baltimore Orioles from 1954 to 1991. It is located less than a mile from old American League Park – four blocks north on Greenmount and five blocks east on 33rd Street. Four blocks to the south is the former site of Union Park (East 25th and Barclay), home of the National League Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s (see Union Park). If you consider yourself a true fan of Baltimore baseball, be sure to make the effort and visit these former sites. You can even stop for a hamburger and fries and consume them while siting in a booth located in American League Park’s former left field.

Byron Bennett