Baltimore’s Other Major League Ballfield – Terrapin Park/Oriole Park

December 6th, 2012
by Byron Bennett

Terrapin Park (later known as Oriole Park (V)) 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.

Terrapin Park - Later Known As Oriole Park (V)

Terrapin Park was located at the northwest corner of East 29th Street and Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore.

Atlas of the City of Baltimore, Maryland Topographical Survey Commission 1914 (mdhistory.net)

Terrapin Park was located directly across East 29th Street from American League Park, the former home of the 1901-02 American League Orioles and the 1903-1914 International League Orioles, shown in the map above (see Baltimore’s First American League Park). Likewise, Union Park, the former home of the 1890s National League Baltimore Orioles sat just four blocks south of Terrapin Park (see Baltimore’s Union Park).

Maryland Port Administration Aerial View of Oriole Park Circa 1937 (Thanks to Bernard McKenna) (Map Located at jscholarship.library.jhu.edu)

First base ran parallel to East 29th Street.

E.I. Dupont Finishes Division Building, East 29th Street, Baltimore

A building that once housed the “E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. Inc. Finishes Division” sits in place of the first base side grandstand.

Terrapin Park (Later Oriole Park) Third Base Grandstand in Baltimore (Photo Courtesy of Maryland Historical Society)

The Barclay School, constructed in 1958, sits in the former location of the third base side grandstand.

The Barclay School, Currently an Elementary and Middle School

The current section of Barclay Street between East 29th Street and East 30th Street did not exist at the time of Terrapin Park. Instead, Vineyard Lane ran along the third base side of the grandstand at an angle from the left field corner to mid block west of  Barclay.

Vineyard Lane Looking North Today Ends at the Corner of Barclay and 30th Street. It Once Ran An Additional Block South To 29th Street

The photograph below shows the location of both former ballpark sites, Terrapin Field on the left and American League Park on the right.

The McDonald's On the South Side of 29th Street Marks the Location of Old American League Park

Left Field ran parallel to Greenmount Avenue.

Terrapin Park Opening Day 1914 (Photo Courtesy of Maryland Historical Society) with St. John's Episcopal Church Visibile Beyond Left Field Fence

St. John’s Episcopal Church, which remains at the site today, sat just past left center field. It can be seen in the photograph of Terrapin Park taken on opening day 1914.

St. John's Episcopal Church located at the corner of East 30th Street and Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore

Several row houses that sat on the west side of Greenmount Avenue just beyond the left field fence still remain at the site today.

View of St. John's Episcopal Church and the Corner Row House, Both of Which Once Sat Beyond Left Field at Terrapin Park

The back yard of the row houses at Terrapin Park faced left field.

Row Houses That Once Sat Just Beyond Terrapin Park's Left Field Fence.

The front of those row houses face Greenmount Avenue.

Front View of Row Houses That Sat Beyond Left Field Fence of Terrapin Park

Additional row houses were located at the corner of East 29th Street and Greenmount and were visible beyond the first base side Grandstand.

Terrapin Park (Photo Courtesy of Maryland Historical Society), Third Base Grandstand (reversed image - thanks Ken)

The row houses remain on the site today at the corner of East 29th and Greenmount.

Row House at Corner of East 29th And Greenmount, Remaining From the Time Of Terrapin Park

Left/Center Field ran parallel to East 30th street.

East 30th Street ran parallel to Terrapin Park's Former Center Field

The building located at 401 E. 30th Street, which was once the Beverage Capital Corporation, a bottling plant, is now Peabody Heights Brewery. The entrance to the brewery sits in the area that was once left/center field.

Beverage Capital Corporation Located in What Was Once Terrapin Park's Center Field

A brick wall located in brewery’s parking lot is believed to be from the time of Terrapin Park. We currently are investigating whether the brick wall was part of the ballpark or built after the demolition of Terrapin Park/Oriole Park.

Brick Wall Marking Former Spot of Terrapin Park's Right/Center Field

If you ask old time Baltimore baseball fans about Oriole Park, their memories jump not to the current Camden Yards, or even old Memorial Stadium, but to Oriole Park on East 29th and Greenmount. Once known as Terrapin Park for the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins, the ballpark later became known as Oriole Park and was home to one of the greatest minor league teams in baseball history. A fire destroyed Oriole Park in 1944, a significant event in Baltimore baseball history in that it required the International League Orioles to move to Municipal Stadium up on 33rd Street. That move, and the resulting increase in fans attending those games, helped convince Major League Baseball that Baltimore should again be crowned a major league city. Ten years later, the “new” American League Orioles arrived in 1954, playing their games in Memorial Stadium (a reconstructed Municipal Stadium). Although Terrapin Park/Oriole Park is now just another lost ballpark site, it is worth a trip for any true Baltimore baseball fan. And while you are there, be sure to visit the many other former major league ballpark sites, all of which sit within less than a mile of each other.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Maryland ballparks, Terrapin Park/Oriole Park V | Comments (20)

  • Avatar RUKen says:

    The photo labeled “Terrapin Park (Photo Courtesy of Maryland Historical Society), First Base Grandstand” is almost certainly a picture of the third base grandstand. Otherwise, we must infer that the baserunner was caught in a rundown between home and first, and chose to return home. Many of the photos on the website of the Maryland Historical Society are reversed–the Terrapin logo appears on the right breast of the uniform shirt in the reversed photos, when it should always be on the left breast. In the photo above, the catcher is apparently the Terrapin and the baserunner has a plain uniform, so no logo is evident.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Ken

    Good catch. I just assumed it was the first base grandstand and did not focus on the action taking place on the field. Now, looking at the foul territory shown in the picture, I must say it does look more in line with the third base side (which had considerably less foul territory than the first base side). Having been born 16 years after the stadium burned down, I can’t say I ever actually saw the place, so I appreciate whatever help I can get. It takes a village, right? Thanks much.

  • Avatar joe s. says:

    i have recently become interested in terrapin park and your website was a great discovery. thank you for your time and detail.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Joe

    Thanks for the post. You may want to check out the following site as well, just a suggestion: http://www.davidbstinsonauthor.com/2012/12/06/touring-the-lost-ballparks-of-baltimore/

    Lots of great baseball history in Baltimore.

  • […] Baltimore’s Other Major League Ballfield – Terrapin Park/Oriole Park […]

  • Avatar Don Hoover says:

    I believe that Babe Ruth signed his first Major League contract for $ 600.00 for the Baltimore Orioles. Did he also play at Terrapin Park/Oriole Park ? I heard that he may have, could you verify this for me ?

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    I have not heard that Babe Ruth played at Terrapin Park. During Ruth’s first year in professional ball – 1914 – the question would be whether the Federal League (major league) Baltimore Terrapins ever played the International League (minor league) Orioles in some type of exhibition game. Since the ballpark where Ruth played was just across the street from Terrapin Park, I guess that is a possibility,although the Terrapins playing just across the street from the Orioles was a major reason the Orioles folded during the 1914 season. Jack Dunn (the Orioles’ owner) sold Ruth to the Boston Red Sox who, after a few games, sent him to play for the Providence Greys (also of the International League) for the rest of the season. In 1915 Ruth was a full time Red Sox, so presumably he would not have had an opportunity to play at Terrapin Park, unless it was some type of exhibition game. So the question is whether Ruth played any exhibition games there. Ruth certainly barnstormed across the country and could very well have played a barnstorming game at Terrapin Park/Oriole Park.

  • Avatar Don Hoover says:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, as always I appreciate the articles being a fan not only of modern day baseball, but past history as well. Your insights have helped to renew my passion for the great american pastime.

  • […] we walked across East 29th Street to the former site of Terrapin Park/old Oriole Park, where we confirmed that the 16 original row houses that sat behind what was once right-center […]

  • Avatar Ben says:

    I visited these sites today based only on information from the wikipedia. It’s sort of weird to me that there’s no signage or markers for the former ballparks. Do you know if anyone has ever tried to place markers around the area?

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Ben

    You raise a good point. It has been a goal of mine to get historic markers placed at several of the lost ballparks. The Maryland Historical Trust in cooperation with the State Highway Administration is in charge of approving such things. If you’re interested in getting involved with this, please let me know. It is a shame that these places are not marked.

    BTW – next time you are heading south on Russell Street, after you pass the two stadiums and before I-95 is a Holiday Inn Express (1701 Russell Street). It is the former site of Westport Park where the Negro League Baltimore Black Sox played from 1916-1920. Across the street was Maryland Baseball Park where they played from 1921-1934. Another spot deserving of a marker. DBS

  • Avatar Ben says:

    Sure, keep me posted, I’d love to help out. I would think the Sports Legends museum could make a tour out of visiting some of the old sites.

  • […] Terrapin Park (later known as Oriole Park), located at the northwest corner of 29th Street and Greenmount Avenue, was home to the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins in 1914 and 1915, the International League Orioles from 1916 to 1944, and the Baltimore Elite Giants from 1938 to 1944. The Barclay School and the former E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. Inc. Finishes Division, sit in the former location of the ballpark’s grandstand. Maryland Port Administration Aerial View of Oriole Park Circa 1937 (Map Located at jscholarship.library.jhu.edu) […]

  • […] Park V, also known as Terrapin Park, was the home of the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins from 1914 to 1915, and the International […]

  • Avatar Djanicki says:

    I think I have a picture of Babe Ruth with a Baltimore oriole player standing near first base at the terrapin park , does anybody know of any other pictures out there I can’t find any

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Djanicki:

    I am not familiar with that photo. I’m assuming that Ruth is wearing a uniform – can you tell what team he is with? Also, can you describe the uniform of the Baltimore player?

    DBS

  • Avatar Dave Howell says:

    In response to the question about Babe Ruth playing at Terrapin Park, the answer is YES, but by then it was ORIOLE PARK. He played several exhibition games there against the I L Orioles while with the Yankees and, maybe, with the Red Sox. I have pictures of him talking with Buzz Arlett, Oriole slugger at the time. The Terrapins never played the Orioles in an exhibition game in 1914. Remember, the Federal League was an OUTLAW league, not in Organized Baseball.

  • […] at East 30th and Barclay in Baltimore around 2:15 PM. Just entering Peabody Heights Brewery, the site of hallowed baseball ground, made the major delay all worthwhile. Of course, the “Old Oriole Park” lager draft […]

  • Leave a Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.