Posts Tagged ‘Candlestick Park’

The Polo Grounds, Coogan’s Bluff, and the Brush Memorial Stairway

January 9th, 2013

The Polo Grounds was located in Harlem, New York, at 157th Street and 8th Avenue. Various incarnations of ballparks at that location were home to three different major league teams: the National League New York Giants from 1891 to 1957, the New York Yankees from 1913 to 1922, and the New York Mets in 1962 and 1963, as well as a team from the Players’ League in 1890 also known as the Giants) .   Prior to 1890, a sports venue known as the Polo Grounds was located in Manhattan near Central Park, and a second venue, also known as the Polo Grounds, was located at 155th Street and 8th Avenue on a plot adjacent to the Polo Grounds at 157th Street.

Postcard of the Polo Grounds Postcard Showing Newly Rebuilt Ballpark After Fire Destroyed the Original Ballpark (Success Postal Card Co., photo New York Times)

The original wooden ballpark at 157th Street was destroyed by fire in 1911 and a new concrete and steel ballpark was constructed on the site.

Postcard of the Polo Grounds (H. Pinkelstein & Sons, American Art Publishing)

The new Polo Grounds were the third concrete and steel ballpark in the country.

Polo Ground’s Concrete and Steel Construction (Library of Congress  Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Coogan’s Bluff  (not to be confused with the movie of the same name starring Clint Eastwood) was located northwest of the Polo Grounds just beyond home plate at 155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue. The playing field of the Polo Grounds sat in Coogan’s Hollow

New York City Park Sign Advertising Coogan’s Bluff

Rock outcroppings just northwest of the ballpark at Harlem River Driveway (which dissects Coogan’s Bluff) provided an excellent vantage point for free viewing of at least portions of the ball field.

View of Polo Grounds From Coogan’s Bluff at Harlem River Driveway (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Those rock outcroppings remain to this day along Harlem River Driveway, providing an excellent view now of Polo Grounds Towers.

Looking Southeast Toward Polo Grounds Tower No. 4 from Coogan’s Bluff and Harlem River Driveway

In 1913 a stairway at 157th Street and Edgecomb Avenue in Harlem was constructed to allow subway riders who departed the 155th Street station more direct access to the ballpark at Harlem River Driveway. That stairway remains, a lasting baseball relic of the Polo Grounds at its former site.

Stairway at 157th Street and Edgecomb Avenue.

The stairs, whose inscription states  “The John T. Brush Stairway Presented by the New York Giants,” was dedicated in 1913 to the former Giants’ owner.

“The John T. Brush Stairway Presented by the New York Giants”

The Brush Memorial Stairway emptied onto the sidewalk at Harlem River Driveway, allowing fans direct access into the Polo Grounds from Harlem River Driveway.

Polo Grounds and the Harlem River Driveway (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

A second stairway that would have taken fans north of the ballpark at ground level still exists alongside Harlem River Driveway.

Looking Northeast Down Harlem River Driveway and Stairway to Former Site of Polo Grounds

Old Yankee Stadium was located southeast of the Polo Grounds, just across the Harlem River.

Aerial View of Yankee Stadium and Polo Grounds (photo from

Aerial View of Old Yankee Stadium and the Polo Ground Towers

Aerial View of Old Yankee Stadium and the Polo Ground Towers

In 1923, Yankee Stadium was visible from inside the Polo Grounds, across the Harlem River.

Polo Grounds, Opening Day 1923, with Yankee Stadium Visible Beyond Center Field (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Prior to its demise in 2009, Old Yankee Stadium was still visible from Coogan’s Bluff at Harlem River Driveway looking southeast past the Polo Grounds Towers.

View of Old Yankee Stadium Looking Beyond Former Site of Polo Grounds, Circa 2001

The Polo Grounds Towers, which were built on the ballpark’s former site and completed in 1968, consist of four high rise apartments with a total of over 1600 units.

Entrance to Polo Grounds Towers on 8th Avenue

A plaque marking the approximate location of home plate is located on a column of Tower No. 4.

Plaque Honoring Polo Grounds and Former Location of Home Plate

The apartment building located at 155 Edgecombe Avenue is visible from the former location of home plate looking back toward Coogan’s Bluff.

Plaque Marking Location of Home Pate, with Apartment Building at 555 Edgecombe Avenue in Background

A sliver of that same apartment building is visible in top right corner of the postcard below.

Postcard of the Polo Grounds Showing Buildings Lining Edgecombe Avenue on Coogan’s Bluff (Alfred Mainzer, NY, NY, Curteich-Chicago)

The New York Giants abandoned the Polo Grounds in 1957, moving to San Francisco and Seal Stadium in 1958 and then Candlestick Park in 1960. Subsequent to the Mets move to Shea Stadium in 1964, the Polo Grounds was demolished.

Polo Grounds During the 1912 World Series (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Although nothing remains at the actual ballpark site, the Brush Memorial Stairway does provide a link to the past. The stairway has sat in obscurity and disrepair for years, however an effort is now underway to restore the stairway and, with it, a piece of New York’s baseball past and baseball glory. See article about restoration of John T. Brush Stairway [Editor’s Note: The Brush Memorial Stairway has been restored and is open for use. Woods surrounding the stairway have been turned into a small park with lighting, making the stairway quite accessible. A sign has been placed on Edgecombe Avenue at the entrance to the stairway.]

Polo Grounds During the 1913 World Series (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)


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Candlestick Park (Be Sure to Bring a Sweater)

January 1st, 2013

When the New York Giants left the Polo Grounds and moved to San Francisco for the 1958 season, they played their first two season on the West Coast in Seal Stadium. In 1960, they moved to brand new Candlestick Park, where they would play their home games for the next 40 seasons before moving into AT&T Park in 2000.

Candlestick Park Postcard (E.F. Clements, San Francisco, photo by Aero Portraits, Color by Mike Roberts)

Because of its location south of downtown San Francisco on Candlestick Point (hence the name), the ballpark was notorious for damp, chilly weather coming off the San Francisco Bay, even during the height of the summer baseball season.

San Francisco Giants Pre-game Warmups Circa 1998

When the corporate naming boom swept through baseball ballparks in the 1990s, San Francisco renamed the ballpark 3Com Park (3Com Corporation was a digital electronics manufacturer) – a low point in the naming of baseball ballparks.

3Com Park at Candlestick Point Circa 1998

San Francisco outdid itself several years later when the city sold the naming rights to Monster Cable (a electronics cable manufacturer) and the ballpark was renamed Monster Park. Thankfully for baseball, the Giants already had moved to their new home, thus spearing baseball fans the indignity of buying tickets to a venue more aptly named for truck shows and demolition derbies.

Monster Park Circa 2007

“The Stick,” as it is affectionately known, was converted into a multi-use facility in 1971 to house the National Football League San Francisco 49ers.

Home of the San Francisco 49ers

Candlestick Park was home to the 1961 and 1984 All Star Games. The ballpark also hosted the 1962 and 1989 World Series.

Giant's Slugger Barry Bonds at the Plate Circa 1998

A night game at the Stick almost certainly brought out the outerwear.

A Cool Night in San Francisco Circa 1998

It looks as if 2013 will be the last season in which Candlestick Park hosts professional sporting events.

Monster Park Circa 2007

A new home for the San Francisco 49ers is under construction in Santa Clara, California.

Candlestick Park's Gate A - How About Trying To Save These Structures from the Wrecking Ball?

Current plans are to demolish Candlestick Park in 2014. While there has been talk of the Giants playing one last baseball game at Candlestick Park, it will have to happen in the coming 2013 season.

San Francisco 49ers Welome Sign

Candlestick Park soon will be a lost ballpark, joining Seal Stadium as another vanished baseball memory. Fans of the Giants and the 49ers should begin now to find something, anything of Candlestick that developers might allow to remain on the site once the ballpark is gone. Perhaps the Gate A sign or the ticket booths behind the gate can be saved.

Soon to be a Memory- Candlestick Park

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San Francisco’s Seals Stadium and the Double Play Bar

December 31st, 2012

Seals Stadium was home to the major league San Francisco Giants for two years from 1958 to 1959. From 1931 until 1957 it was the home of the Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals and from 1931 until 1938 it was the home of the Pacific Coast League San Francisco Missions (who moved to Los Angeles and became the Hollywood Starts in 1939).

Seals Stadium (Courtesy of Flickr Photo Share – Photoscream)

The entrance to Seals Stadium (as well as the right field corner) was located at 16th and Byrant Streets in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Former Site of Entrance to Seals Stadium at the Corner of 16th and Byrant Streets

A plaque commemorating Seal Stadium is located at the corner of 16th and Bryant Streets.

Plaque Commemorating Seals Stadium Located at 16th and Byrant Streets, San Francisco CA (photo courtesy of Terrell Baldwin)

The site is now Potrero Shopping Center, named after Potrero Avenue which runs parallel to what was once left field. Potrero is Spanish for pasture, something the shopping center is not.

Potrero Center, Former Site of Seals Stadium

The shopping center’s parking garage sits in the former location of right and center field.

Former site of Seals Stadium Center Field Looking Toward the Infield

Across 16th Street from the shopping center is Franklin Soccer Field, which remains from the time of Seals Stadium.

Former Location of Center Field Wall Looking East Down 16th Street

The location of home plate is somewhere within the shopping center, perhaps in the Office Depot or the adjoining Safeway.

Former Site of Seal Stadium Left Field Looking Toward Right Field/First Base Line

Although Seals Stadium is now a long lost ballpark, thankfully a taste of baseball and the stadium remains at the site. Across the street from the former ballpark at the corner of 16th and Bryant is the Double Play Bar (the building can be seen in the  top right corner of the vintage photograph of Seal Stadium above).

Double Play Bar Located Across the Street from Former Site of Seals Stadium

The bar pays homage to the memory of Seals Stadium with displays of original signage from the stadium, as well as vintage baseball equipment.

Front Bar at the Double Play Bar

Many of the front bar walls are adorned with pictures of the ballpark, giving visitors the sensation of having just come from a game at Seals Stadium.

Sampling of the Decorations that Line the Walls of the Double Play Bar

Even the bar menu pays homage to old Seals Stadium.

Double Play Bar Menu

The back portion of the Double Play Bar includes a restaurant seating area with a mural depicting the old stadium grandstand, field, and outfield walls.

Double Play Bar’s Recreated Seals Stadium

The signage on the wall replicates Seals Stadium’s outfield wall.

Double Play Bar Outfield Wall Mural

A game between the Seals and the Oakland Oaks is captured on the mural’s recreation of Seals Stadium’s old scoreboard.

Double Play Bar Mural Depicting Seal Stadium Scoreboard

Seals Stadium was demolished in 1959, soon after the San Francisco Giants moved into their new home at Candlestick Park. Although the stadium is now just another lost ballpark, Double Play Bar remains in its spot across the street from the ballpark’s former site. The bar is well worth a stop should you find yourself in San Francisco in search of some baseball history. And, if you happen to find the former site of home plate (inside the Office Depot?) please drop me a line and let me know. A picture also would be great.

For more information about the Double Play bar, please see A San Francisco Deadball Moment.

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