Posts Tagged ‘Comiskey Park’

Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes To Greenville And Stays

April 12th, 2013

Joesph Jefferson Wofford “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was born in 1887 in Pickens County, South Carolina, just west of Greenville. He began his professional baseball career in 1908, playing first for the Greensville Spinners and then for the Philadelphia Athletics later that season.

Detail of Shoeless Joe Jackson Statute by South Carolina Sculptor Doug Young

In addition to the Athletics, Shoeless Joe also played for the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox.  After being banned from baseball in 1921, Jackson and his family moved to Savannah in 1922 where he started a valet service. Jackson left Savannah, returning to Greenville in 1929 to take care of his mother.

Former Location of Shoeless Joe Jackson's Home - 119 E. Wilburn Avenue

Jackson lived in several residences in Greenville until his death in 1951. His last residence was in a brick home located at 119 E. Wilburn Avenue in Greenville.

The neighborhood in which he lived remains very much unchanged, except for the fact that his house is now gone and the land is for sale (Keller Williams Realty – if you’re looking to build your “field of dreams” home).

Neighboring Houses On E. Wilburn Avenue, Former Neighborhood of Shoeless Joe Jackson

In 2006, Jackson’s home on E. Wilburn was relocated to 356 Field Street in Greenville and opened as a museum in 2008.

Former Home of Shoeless Joe Jackson

The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library is open 10-2 on Saturdays, or by appointment (call: 862 235 6280 or email: info@shoelessjoejackson.org).

Historic Marker Noting Last Home of Shoeless Joe Jackson

Reverse of Historic Marker Noting Last Home of Shoeless Joe Jackson

The home is located across the street from Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive.

Shoeless Joe Jackson's Home With Fluor Field, Home of the Greenville Drive, in the Background

The Greenville Drive’s stadium includes a tribute Shoeless Joe in its Heritage Plaza.

Fluor Stadium's Tribute to Shoeless Joe Jackson in Heritage Plaza

Part of the tribute recounts the story of how Jackson earned his nickname:

The “shoeless” Joe nickname is credited to Scoop Latimer, a writer for the Greenville News. According to the story, Jackson was breaking in a new pair of cleats in a textile baseball game. When his feet became blistered, Jackson asked to be taken out of the game. His coach refused, so Jackson pulled off his shoes. Later in the game, when he hit a home run, a fan for the other team shouted, “Oh, you shoeless son of a gun.”

In 2002, the town of Greenville placed a statute of Jackson in a plaza at the intersection of S. Main Street and Augusta Street. Created by South Carolina Sculptor Doug Young, the statute is quite impressive, with a wonderful likeness of Shoeless Joe just completing his swing.

Statute of Shoeless Joe Jackson in Greenville, South Carolina

A plaque commemorating the plaza notes that the base of the statute is made from bricks from Comiskey Park, removed during its demolition in 1990.

Greenville Plaque Commemorating Shoeless Joe Jackson and Comiskey Park

A plaque at the base of the statute recounts Jackson’s playing career and his ties to Greenville.

Shoeless Joe Jackson Plaque at Base of Statue in Greenville, South Carolina

Jackson and his wife are interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Greenville, approximately 4 1/2 miles northeast of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum.  Much of downtown Greenville and the surrounding neighborhoods remain as they did when Jackson was alive. Brandon Mills, where Jackson once worked and played baseball for the local mill team remains well, as does the neighboring ball field where Jackson played (now named Shoeless Joe Jackson Memorial Park at 406 West Avenue). If you want to get a feel for the man many say was one of the best pure hitter in baseball, Greenville offers a living history of Shoeless Joe. The best place to start is his former house turned museum, which is literally just a short fly ball away from Fluor Field, home of the Greenville’s minor league team. Just make sure you are there on a Saturday.

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Chicago’s South Side Park And The Neighborhood Of Lost Ballparks

March 21st, 2013

South Side Park, located at the intersection of W Pershing Road and S Princeton Street in Chicago, Illinois, was the home of the Chicago White Sox from their inception in the American League in 1901 until mid way through the 1910 season.

Cubs vs. White Sox, City Championship series, Chicago, Oct. 9, '09, South Side Park (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Starting in 1911, the ballpark was home to Rube Foster’s Chicago American Giants. The Giants started as an independent Negro League team and later played in the Negro National League and the Negro Southern League. The ballpark was renamed Schorling’s Park after Foster’s business partner, John C. Schorling, who leased the grounds and was a son-in-law of White Sox owner Charles Comiskey.

South Side Park 1907 (Wikimedia Commons)

South Side Park was located only four blocks south of the White Sox’s current home, U.S. Cellular Field and the Former Site of old Comiskey Park. Parking Lot L, which is just southwest of U.S. Cellular Field on S Princeton Avenue is directly across the street from the former site of South Side Park. Two other ballparks in Chicago known as South Side Park were once nearby. From 1891-1893, the Chicago Cubs played at a ballpark known as South Side Park located at the southeast corner of W 35th Street and S Wentworth Avenue. That site is now consumed mostly by Interstate 94 just to the east of U.S. Cellular Field. In 1884 a Chicago franchise of the Union Association played at a ballpark known as South Side Park located five blocks to the east at the intersection of W Pershing and S Wabash Avenue. All told, there were five major league ballparks (with one still standing) within a one mile radius.

View of U.S. Cellular Field Just Four Blocks North of South Side Park's Former Site

South Side Park’s home plate was located near the northeast corner of S Princeton Avenue and W Pershing Road (formerly W 39 Street).

Former Site of South Side Park at Intersection of S Princeton and W Pershing

The third base side of South Side Park ran along S Princeton. The first base side of South Side Park ran along W Pershing.

Former Site of South Side Park's Third Base Side on the Right, With Cellular One Field's Parking Lot L on the Left.

The former site of South Side Park is now entirely consumed by Wentworth Gardens.

Entrance Off W Pershing Road to Wentworth Gardens Looking North Toward Approximate Location of South Side Park''s Home Plate

Wentworth Gardens was constructed in 1945 and originally was built to house workers during World War II. The apartments currently are owned and operated as subsidized housing by the City of Chicago.

Wentworth Gardens - Former Site of South Side Park

South Side Park’s former right field corner was located near the northwest corner of W Pershing Road and S Wentworth Avenue. Interstate 94 sits just to the east of S. Wentworth Avenue.

Express Food and Liquor Mart At Intersection of W Pershing Road and S Wentworth Across Street From South Side Park's Former Right Field Corner

In the former location of center field, just off Wentworth Avenue, is a small baseball field next to a large, brick smoke stack. Although the infield faces in the opposite direction of the way South Side Park’s infield faced, it is still possible to play baseball at South Side Park.

Entrance to Wentworth Housing Project from Wentworth Avenue with Youth Ballfield in Background

As it is with many lost ballparks, nothing of South Side Park remains on site, although baseball still can be played on a portion of the former site. No plaque commemorates ballpark, even though it is only a long fly ball from the White Sox’s current home. It seems a fair guess that the vast majority of White Sox fans who deposit their vehicles in U.S. Cellular Field’s Parking Lot L have no idea they are parked just across the street from the former site of their team’s first home ballpark, as well as the former home of the Chicago American Giants.

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Chicago’s West Side Grounds – Where The Cubs Last Won the World Series

March 20th, 2013

West Side Grounds (also called West Side Park) at the intersection of S Wolcott Avenue and W Polk Street was the home of the Chicago Cubs from 1893 until 1915. It was the second ballpark in Chicago known by that name, the first being located a mile to the northeast at the intersection of South Loomis and West Harrison Streets, which was home to the Cubs from 1885 until 1891. From  1891-1893, the Cubs played at South Side Park II, which was located at the southeast corner of W 35th Street and S Wentworth Avenue and is now consumed by Interstate 94 just to the east of Cellular One Field.

West Side Grounds Postcard (Facing Toward Polk Street and Old Cook County Hospital Behind Grandstand)

While resident at the second West Side Park, the Cubs won four National League pennants from 1906 to 1910 and two World Series championships in 1907 and 1908. The 1906 World Series, which the Cubs lost to the cross-town Chicago White Sox, was the only match up in series history between those two clubs. In the time since the Cubs abandoned West Side Grounds for the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, the team has never won a world series.

West Side Grounds (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) Facing Toward Taylor Street

The former site of West Side Grounds is now the University of Illinois Medical Center.

Former Site of West Side Grounds - Looking Toward Southeast Corner of Wolcott Avenue and Polk

The grandstand from home plate to left field ran parallel to S Polk Street, although it did not abut the road. Rather, it was set back from S Polk Street behind row houses that lined the street.

Former Site of West Side Grounds at Wolcott Avenue - Former Location of First Base Grandstand

The first base grandstand ran parallel to  W Wolcott Street. At the time of West Side Ground, Wolcott street was known as Lincoln Street. It was renamed in 1939 in honor of Dr. Alexander Wolcott, Jr., who was the first physician in Chicago.

Former Site of West Side Grounds - Now Occupied By the University of Illinois Medical Center

Although nothing of West Side Grounds remains on site, much of the outfield area remains a park in the middle of the University’s medical complex.

Former Site of West Side Grounds - Standing In Former Location of Center Field Looking Toward Home Plate

The park can be accessed from an entrance near the corner of W Taylor Street and S Wood Street behind the University’s Biologic Resources Laboratory.

Former Site of West Side Grounds Standing in Former Location of Left Field Looking Toward Second Base

The infield and much of the grandstand area are now consumed by the Illinois College of Medicine.

Former Site of West Side Grounds - Standing In Former Location of Second Base Looking Toward Right Field

Second base was once located in the northwest corner of the medical center park on what is now a concrete patio.

Former Site of West Side Grounds - Standing in Approximate Location of Second Base Looking Toward Home Plate Somewhere Through That Door

Center field was once located in the southeast corner of the medical center park. The building housing the Medical Center Administration (the old Nurses’ Home) resides in what was once deep center field.

Former Site of West Side Grounds - Standing In Approximate Location of Second Base Lookiing Out Toward Center Field

The right field corner was once located behind the building at 835 South Wolcott, which houses the university health services and other departments.

Former Site of West Side Grounds - Standing in Right/Center Field Looking Toward Former Location of Right Field Pavilion

A plaque commemorating the West End Grounds was placed in front of the  University of Illinois Chicago Neuro Psychiatric Institute at 912 S Wood St.

West Side Grounds Plaque (Illinois State Historical Society - www.historyillinois.org)

The plaque dedication in 2009 was attended by none other than Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks.

Former Site of West Side Grounds Looking South Down Wood Street Toward Location of Historical Plaque

West Side Grounds is one of the original lost ballparks, having been home to the Cubs almost 100 years ago. It’s location is less than file miles northwest of U.S. Cellular Field (old Comiskey Park), home of the Chicago White Sox and is certainly worth a visit, especially for Cubs fans wondering where it was that their team last won the World Series.

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Comiskey Park The First

June 28th, 2010

Comiskey Park, located on Chicago’s South Side, was home to the Chicago White Sox for 80 years from 1910 to 1990.

White Sox Park, Chicago, Illinois (publisher unknown)

The White Sox’s ballpark predated famed Wrigley Field (Weeghman Field) by  four years.  The Cubs did not begin play at Wrigley until 1916.

Chicago's Famed South and North Side Ballparks (Joboul Aero Distributing/Colourpicture Publishers)

The picture below shows the single-deck seating along first base.  An upper deck was added to this area in the late 1920s.

Comiskey Park Circa 1910-1925 (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

South Side Park, home to the American League White Sox from 1901 until mid-season 1910, was located just four blocks south of Comiskey Field.

Cubs vs. White Sox, City Championship series, Chicago, Oct. 9, '09, South Side Park (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Demolition of Comiskey Park took place during the 1991 inaugural season of new Comiskey Park.  As is true with many former ballparks, the former site of old Comiskey Park serves as parking for the new ballpark.  In the photograph below, taken in 2003, the parking lot in the foreground is the former site of Comiskey Park.  The parking garage attached to the right of the stadium sits in the footprint of old Comiskey Park’s first base grandstand.

Old Comiskey Park Site Turned Parking Lot Adjacent To New Comiskey Park (circa 2000)

Another view of the former site of old Comiskey Park looking west, taken from Interstate 94 in 2001.  Notice the new stadium’s large upperdeck.  A significant portion of that upperdeck, including the upper 10 rows of seating, were removed during renovation of the ballpark in the mid-2000s.

New Comiskey Park and Old Comiskey Park Site to the Right as Seen From Interstate (circa 2003)

The front entrance of the new ballpark (for team officials and employees) sits just a short fly ball from the site of old Comiskey Park.

Entrance to Now U.S. Cellular Field (circa 2003)

The following shot of the employee entrance to the the new ballpark was taken from the roof of the parking garage that sits in the footprint of old Comiskey Park.

View of Entrance To New Ballpark Taken From Parking Garage That Sits In Footprint of Old Comiskey Park (2003)

When it opened in 1991, the new ballpark also was named Comiskey Park, honoring the memory of the old ballpark.  That changed in 2003 when the White Sox sold naming rights to the stadium to U.S. Cellular Field.

Retro Scoreboard at New Comiskey Park (circa 2000) Before Name Change

U.S. Cellular Field has undergone extensive renovation in its 20 years as a ballpark, including changes made to the stadium that sit in the footprint of old Comiskey Park.

Part of the Extensive Renovation of U.S. Cellular Field Was in the Area that Once Sat in the Footprint of Old Comiskey Park Including Addition of the Chicago Sports Pavilion

In the parking lot just north of U.S. Cellular Field is a granite marker noting the former location of Comiskey Park’s home plate.

Old Comiskey Park Home Plate Marker

The main building of the Illinois Institute of Technology, visible beyond center field (to the right of the tall building)  in the postcard below is also visible in the above picture of home plate.  The red brick building was constructed in 1891 and sits across I-90 from the old Comiskey ballpark site.

1950's Postcard of Comiskey Park (Plastichrome Postcard, published by Cameo Greeting Card Co., Chicago)

The home plate marker is located next to U.S. Cellular Field Gate 5 in Parking Lot B.

Home Plate Marker Next to Gate 5

The parking lot includes a recreated batters box and markings of the left and right field foul lines.

Third Base Foul Line of Old Comiskey Park

Straight away center field faces Toward Interstate 94.

Young Fans Block My View of Re-created Old Comiskey Batters Box

Although no part of old Comiskey Park remains on site, one curious artifact does remain in its original spot.

Chicago Sports Depot Sits Located At Former Entrance to Comiskey Park

Nailed to a tree next to the Chicago Sports Depot, near what was once the entrance to old Comiskey Park, is a sign that warns: “Resale Of Tickets At Any Price Is Prohibited.” Presumably the policy against ticket resales remains in place as well.

Ticket Resale Warning Sign From Old Comiskey Park Still On Site at U.S. Cellular Field

A tribute to Comiskey Park resides 700 miles southeast of the old Comiskey site in Greenville, South Carolina, former home of White Sox great Shoeless Joe Jackson. In the center of town is a plaza erected in tribute of Jackson, which includes a statute of the famous player.

Greenville, SC, Statute of Shoeless Joe Jackson With Bricks from old Comiskey Park

A plaque commemorating the plaza notes that the base of the statute is made from bricks taken from Comiskey Field after its demolition in 1990.

Greenville Plaque Commemorating Shoeless Joe Jackson and Comiskey Park

The White Sox’s decision to demarcate the former site of home plate allows fans of the game to visualize a small portion of the lost ballpark. Luckily for fans, the White Sox were careful to construct the lot so that parking is not allowed atop the former home plate.  The same is not true for the rest of the field and Season Ticket holders with access to Lot B, who get to the game early, can park their car on former infield, atop the pitchers mound, in the outfield, or maybe even where Shoeless Joe Jackson once roamed right field.

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