Posts Tagged ‘shoeless Joe Jackson’

Cleveland’s League Park Reborn – If You Renovate It They Will Come

August 26th, 2014

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.

League Park Renovation of Main Ticket Booth 2014

League Park Renovation of Main Ticket Booth 2014

In an earlier post about League Park I reported about what remained at the site as of 2009.

League Park Center Circa 2009

League Park Center Circa 2009

In August 2014, the City of Cleveland completed a renovation process, several years in the making.

Panoramic View of League Park Along Lexington Avenue

Panoramic View of League Park Along Lexington Avenue

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.

Detail of Second Floor Window and Brick Renovation, League Park, Cleveland

Detail of Second Floor Window and Brick Work Renovation, League Park, Cleveland

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.

Recreation of Right Field Fence League Park Center, From Days When Joeless Joe Jackson Played Right Field

Recreated Right Field Fence League Park Center, From Days When Joeless Joe Jackson Played Right Field

The interior of the former ticket booth and administrative offices also has been renovated.

First Floor Renovation of League Park Main Ticket Booth and Offices

First Floor Renovation of League Park Main Ticket Booth and Offices

Inside the ballpark site is a plaza along the first base side of League Park that helps celebrate the history of the site.

Renovation of First Base Side Plaza

Panoramic Shot of First Base Side Plaza

On the wall where once sat the first base grandstand, the City has placed pictures of notable ballplayers who once played at League Park.

League Park First Base Grand Stand With Pictures of Notable Ballplayers

League Park First Base Grand Stand With Pictures of Notable Ballplayers

The plaza also includes a sidewalk with notable dates in the history of League Park.

League Park First Base Plaza Includes Notable Years in Ballpark's History

League Park First Base Plaza Includes Notable Years in Ballpark’s History

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.

Renovated League Park Historical Marker

Renovated League Park Historical Marker

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.

New Building on Site of Former First Base Grandstand, Indian's Club House, and Dugout

New Building on Site of League Park’s Former First Base Grandstand, Indian’s Club House, and Dugout

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.

Circa 2003 Photo of First Base Grand Stand and Tunnel From Dugout to Club House

Circa 2003 Photo of League Park First Base Grand Stand and Tunnel From Dugout to 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.

League Park Tunnel from Home Team Dugout to Club House

League Park Tunnel from Home Team Dugout to Club House

A metal railing now outlines the location of the clubhouse tunnel inside the building constructed on top of the first base grand stand.

Inside View of Building Constructed Atop Dugout and Club House Tunnel

Inside View of Building Constructed Atop Dugout and Club House Tunnel

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.

Former Location of First Base Grandstand as Seen From Field

Former Location of First Base Grandstand as Seen From Infield

The original infield, which by 2009 had been removed and replaced with just grass, is back in the form of turf.

League Park Infield Circa 2003

League Park Infield Circa 2003

Home plate sits in the same location as it once sat during the time of League Park.

Panoramic of League Park Turf Field

Panoramic of League Park Turf Field

Metal bleachers surround the infield backstop.

Bleachers and Backstop, League Park Field

Bleachers and Backstop, League Park Field

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.

Entrance to League Park on 66th Street

Entrance to League Park on 66th Street

The City of Cleveland has done a wonderful job restoring the first base grandstand outer wall as well.

Renovated Wall Along First Base Side of League Park on 66th Street

Renovated Wall Along First Base Side of League Park on 66th Street

The brickwork of League Park’s outer wall is quite exquisite and was worth saving even apart from the historic nature of League Park.

Detail of League Park Brick Work, First Base Grandstand Outer Wall, 66th Street

Detail of League Park Brick Work, First Base Grandstand Outer Wall, 66th Street

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.

Vacant Lot at 7209 Lexington Avenue, Site of Shoeless Joe Jackson's Cleveland Home

Vacant Lot at 7209 Lexington Avenue, Site of Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Cleveland Home

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 . . .

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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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Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes To Savannah

September 21st, 2012

Shoeless Joe Jackson was born in South Carolina in 1887. He began his professional baseball career in 1908, playing first for the Greenville Spinners and then for the Philadelphia Athletics later that season. In 1909 Shoeless Joe started the year with the Savannah Indians, before once again being called up by the Athletics.

Shoeless Joe Jackson as a Member of the Savannah Indians in 1909

After being banned from baseball in 1921, Jackson and his family moved back to Savannah in 1922, where he established a dry cleaning business known as Savannah Valet Service. One of his company’s two shops was located at 119 Drayton Street.

Former Site of Savannah Valet Service - 119 Drayton Street, Savannah, GA

On a recent trip to Savannah I went looking for the building that once housed the Savannah Valet Service, only to discover that it had been torn down and in 2001 made into a parking lot for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension.

Entrance to Parking Lot for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension

The Church of the Ascension itself is located next door to the former site of Jackson’s dry cleaners business.

Former Site of Jackson's Dry Cleaners Business With Church of the Ascension Visible in Background

Luckily, there is better news regarding two places where Jackson lived while in Savannah. The apartment building where he first lived after moving to Savannah after leaving baseball remains at 143 Abercorn Street .

Apartment Building Where Shoeless Joe Jackson Lived In Savannah, GA

A stucco, three story, center hall walk up, the building was constructed in 1914.

Front Entrance To 143 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA

Renovation of the building in the mid 2000’s won an Historic Preservation Award by the Historic Savannah Foundation.

Historic Preservation Award For 143 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA

Jackson later moved to a single family home at 1411 East 39th Street, which is located just four blocks north of Historic Grayson Stadium, current home of the Savannah Sand Gnats.

Shoeless Joe Jackson's Former Home At 1411 East 39th Street, Savannah, GA

Jackson’s former home is a two bedroom, one story bungalow. In front of the house next door to Jackson’s former home is a oak tree draped with Spanish moss, undoubtedly dating back to Jackson’s time living there.

Tree From The Time Of Jackson, 1411 East 39th Street

Should you find yourself in Savannah, Georgia, take a moment to see places where Shoeless Joe Jackson lived. Those buildings are a link to the past and help give fans a little better appreciate of Joe Jackson’s life after he was banned from baseball.

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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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