Posts Tagged ‘Leo Durocher’

Eagle Stadium Still Soaring In Ozark, Alabama

March 2nd, 2019

Eagle Stadium is located at 698 Martin Street in Ozark, Alabama.

Eagle Stadium in Ozark, Alabama

The concrete and steel grandstand was constructed in 1946 and remains to this day an excellent example of ballparks from the post World War II era.

Grandstand, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

The sign posted at the front of Eagle Stadium boasts the history of the ballpark. Much of the history set forth in this blog is a restatement of information on that sign.

Sign Telling History of Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

Prior to construction of Eagle Stadium, the ballpark site was known as Marley Field, which dates back to 1933.

Grandstand, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama, as Seen From Right Field

In 1989, the ball field at Eagle Stadium was named in honor of B.F. Buddy Williams, a member of the Ozark City Council and Chairman of the Dade Alabama County Commission.

Dedication Plaque, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

A plaque inside the stadium honoring Buddy Williams states: “In recognition of his interest and support of the youth and adults in the recreation and athletic programs of this city. He was instrumental in the building of Eagle Stadium and bringing organized baseball to Ozark in 1946.”

Field Dedication Plaque, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

The site first hosted professional baseball in 1935, when the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals played a game at Marley Field against the Dixie Amateur League All-Stars. Cardinal players who appeared that day include Dizzy Dean, Daffy Dean, Leo Durocher, Pepper Martin, Joe Medwick, and manager Franke Frish.

Entrance To Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

Although pets, profanity, slurs, and artificial noise makers are not allowed in Eagle Stadium, based upon the size of the sign, apparently it is coolers that present the greatest concern at the ballpark and are most certainly not allowed in the stadium.

Grandstand Entrance, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

From 1936 to 1937, the Ozark Cardinals played at Marley Field as a member of the Class D Alabama-Florida League.

The Ozark Eagles played at Eagle Stadium beginning in 1946. The Eagles were members of the Class D Alabama-Florida League from 1946 to 1950. Beginning in 1951, the league was renamed the Alabama League because, well, there were no Florida teams in the league that year.

Interior of Grandstand, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

The Ozark Eagles played at Eagle Stadium through the 1952 season.

First Base Side Grandstand, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

The City of Ozark does an excellent job maintaining this historic ballpark, so much so that walking into the seating bowl is like walking back in time.

Press Box, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

Eagle Stadium includes large, covered dugouts on either side of home plate.

Third Base Dugout, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

The water tower just beyond center field gives the ballpark a bit of a “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” vibe.

Outfield, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

The ballpark is surrounded by a concrete block wall, much of which appears to dates back to the building of Eagle Stadium.

Exterior of Outfield Wall, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

A well-kept, vintage electronic scoreboard sits just beyond left field

Scoreboard, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

A concession stand is located along the left field foul line.

Concession Stand, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

In 1962, one final professional ball club called Eagle Stadium home when the Panama City Flyers, a Dodgers affiliate and member of the Class D Alabama-Florida League, played their home games at Eagle Stadium during the second half of the season. The team was renamed the Ozark Dodgers during their brief stay at Eagle Stadium. The league folded at the end of the 1962 season.

Light Stanchion, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

Eagle Stadium is home to the Carroll High School Eagles baseball team and the Ozark Eagles, an Alabama Dixie Pre-Majors team. The ballpark also sometime hosts the Alabama Community College Conference State Baseball Tournament.

Ozark Eagles Team Photo, Eagle Stadium, Ozark, Alabama

Although a bit off the beaten base path, Eagle Stadium is only an hour and a half drive southeast of Montgomery, Alabama, off Route 231, and a two hour and 15 minute drive northwest of Tallahassee Florida off I-10 and Route 231. Many thanks to the Ozark, Alabama city employees who graciously showed me around the ballpark the day I made my trip there. Their kindness was much appreciated.

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Hartford’s Bulkeley Stadium – Now A Nursing Home With A Home Plate

September 11th, 2014

Morgan M. Bulkeley Stadium was located on the southeast corner of Hanmer Street and George Street in Hartford, Connecticut.

Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)

Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)

The ballpark originated in 1921 as Clarkin Field, named in honor of its builder, Jim Clarkin, the owner of the Eastern League Hartford Senators. After a fire in 1927,  the ballpark was rebuilt. Clarkin sold the team the following year and the ballpark was renamed Bulkeley Stadium in honor of Baseball Hall of Famer Morgan G. Bulkeley, the first president of the National League as well as a former president of Aetna Insurance Company, and a former politician (Connecticut Governor, U.S. Senator, and Hartford Mayor). Bulkeley had lived in Hartford and died  in 1922.

Buckeley Stadium Historical Marker at Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Bulkeley Stadium Historical Marker at Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

The site today is occupied primarily by Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Hartford native Norm Hausmann spearheaded a drive to get a historic marker placed at the former site of Bulkeley Stadium. The marker sits at the entrance to Ellis Manor on George Street in what was once left field.

Ellis Manor Marker Honoring Buckeley Stadium

Ellis Manor Marker Honoring Bulkeley Stadium

Clarkin Field/Bulkeley Stadium was home to the Eastern League Hartford Senators from 1921 to 1932 (in 1934 the Senators returned for one season to Bulkeley Stadium as part of the Northeastern League). Bulkeley Stadium also was home to the Eastern League Hartford Bees from 1939 to 1945 (also known as the Laurels), and the Eastern League Hartford Chiefs from 1946 to 1952. The Bees, Laurels, and Chiefs all were affiliated with the National League Boston Braves. The integrated semi-pro Savitt Gems (named after long time Hartford jeweler Bill Savitt) also played at Bulkeley Stadium. One of the stars of Savitt Gems was Johnny “Schoolboy” Taylor, a high school phenomenon who pitched for Bulkeley High School and later for the Negro National League Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Negro National League New York Cubans. In 1949, Taylor pitched for the Hartford Chiefs at Bulkeley Stadium.

Buckeley Stadium Home Plate Marker

Bulkeley Stadium Home Plate Marker

Clarkin Field also was home to the Hartford Blues football team in 1925 (the following season the Blues played their one professional season in the National Football League).

Buckeley Stadium Home Plate Marker, Looking Toward Pitcher's Mound

Bulkeley Stadium Home Plate Marker, Looking Toward Pitcher’s Mound

The location of home plate is marked with a granite plaque near the northeast corner of Ellis Manor, to the left of the front entrance. To better appreciate the former site of Bulkeley Stadium, click here: Courant.com for a vintage aerial photo of Bulkeley Stadium.

Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)

Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)

The grandstand directly behind home plate was located where Hanmer Street terminates just northeast of Ellis Manor.

Hanmer Street Terminating at Former Location of Grandstand  Buckeley Stadium Behind Home Plate

Hanmer Street Terminating at Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Home Plate Grandstand

Although the ballpark was demolished in 1960, a chain link fence that ran alongside the third base grandstand dating back to Bulkeley Stadium remains on the site. The fence is clearly visible in the vintage photograph of Bulkeley Stadium that appears at the beginning of this blog. Although not quite as historically significant as the John T. Brush Memorial Stairway located near the former site of the Polo Grounds, the fence certainly is worth noting given its connection to Bulkeley Stadium.

Chain Link Fence Remaining from Buckeley Stadium Behind Former Location of Third Base Grandstand

Chain Link Fence Remaining from Bulkeley Stadium Behind Former Location of Third Base Grandstand

The third base grandstand paralleled a driveway that now runs north and south along the eastern side of the Ellis Manor.

Ellis Manor Driveway Running Parallel to Former Location of Third Base Grandstand

Ellis Manor Driveway Running Parallel to Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Third Base Grandstand

Bulkeley Stadium was a basic, no frills ballpark. A single deck, covered grandstand ran from third base to the left field corner. Uncovered wood bleachers continued from third base to the right field corner.

Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)

Bulkeley Stadium (photo courtesy of Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)

First base was located in front of what is now a covered driveway near the front door entrance to Ellis Manor.

Former Location of First Base at Buckeley Stadium Looking Toward Home Plate

Former Location of First Base at Bulkeley Stadium Looking Toward Home Plate

The driveway from George Street into Ellis Manor was once left field.

Former Location of Buckeley Stadium Left Field Looking Toward Home Plate

Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Left Field Looking Toward Home Plate

Some residences that ring the parameter of the ballpark site date to the time of Bulkeley Stadium. A few “new” houses actually sit on the former stadium site. One such house, at 204 George Street, sits in what was once the left field grandstand.

House at 204 George Street  Which Sits in Former Location of  Buckeley Stadium Left Field Grand Stand

House at 204 George Street Which Sits in Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Left Field Grandstand

The open side yard at 204 George Street was once the left field corner.

Former Location of Buckeley Stadium Left Field Corner

Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Left Field Corner

Right Field to Center field ran north to south along George Street.

Looking South Down George Street Which Ran Parallel to RIght Field Toward Center Field

Looking South Down George Street Which Ran Parallel to Bulkeley Stadium’s Right Field (Toward Center Field)

The center field was located across from the intersection of George Street and Goodrich Street where a grove of trees now sits.

Former Location of Buckeley Stadium Center Field Corner at Intersection of Goodrich Street and George Street

Former Location of Bulkeley Stadium Center Field Corner at Intersection of Goodrich Street and George Street

Inside the front entrance to Ellis Manor, across from the reception desk, is a wall of fame honoring the memory of Bulkeley Stadium. Many future Baseball Hall of Famers played for Hartford at Bulkeley Stadium, including Lou Gehrig, Leo Durocher, Hank Greenberg, Johnny Sain, and Warren Spahn. The wonderful staff at the nursing home and rehabilitation center are proud of their facility’s connection to professional baseball and are very helpful answering questions about the ballpark.

Buckeley Stadium Wall of Fame Display at Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Bulkeley Stadium Wall of Fame Display at Ellis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

After 65 seasons without professional baseball, Hartford once again will have professional team beginning in 2016. The Eastern League Rock Cats are moving from their current home in New Britain Stadium to a new ballpark located at Main Street and Trumbull Street in the “Downtown North” section of Hartford, just five miles north of the former site of Bulkeley Stadium.

New Britain Stadium, Home of the Eastern League Rock Cats

New Britain Stadium, Home of the Eastern League Rock Cats

The City recently secured property in downtown Hartford at the intersection of Main Street and Trumbell Street, approximately three miles north of Bulkeley Stadium. Although professional baseball will never return to the site of Bulkeley Stadium, it is still possible to play catch in the left field corner of the old ballpark site – that is, as long as the folks who own the side yard at 204 George Street don’t mind you doing so.

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