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.
In an earlier post about League Park I reported about what remained at the site as of 2009.
In August 2014, the City of Cleveland completed a renovation process, several years in the making.
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.
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.
The interior of the former ticket booth and administrative offices also has been renovated.
Inside the ballpark site is a plaza along the first base side of League Park that helps celebrate the history of the site.
On the wall where once sat the first base grandstand, the City has placed pictures of notable ballplayers who once played at League Park.
The plaza also includes a sidewalk with notable dates in the history of League Park.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A metal railing now outlines the location of the clubhouse tunnel inside the building constructed on top of the first base grand stand.
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.
The original infield, which by 2009 had been removed and replaced with just grass, is back in the form of turf.
Home plate sits in the same location as it once sat during the time of League Park.
Metal bleachers surround the infield backstop.
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.
The City of Cleveland has done a wonderful job restoring the first base grandstand outer wall as well.
The brickwork of League Park’s outer wall is quite exquisite and was worth saving even apart from the historic nature of League Park.
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.
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 . . .