On a Beach Walk: #70 (Baseball – Ballparks)

Embed from Getty Images

 

I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Today I think about the palaces of the fans known as ballparks to some – baseball stadiums to others.

Ballparks are those places creating a special feeling when hearing the wooden bat hit the ball followed by the roar of a cheering crowd rising to their feet – a bonding moment not only between people and the game, but also between people.

Ballparks are the cathedrals of baseball where people gather to worship with faith and allegiance for their team and yell praise to their cleated heroes. Ballparks are a place where memories are made to be told to the next generation.

I think of places before my time: Cincinnati’s Palace of the Fans, Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl, Cleveland’s League Park, and Washington’s Griffith Stadium.

Many may not remember Los Angeles having a Wrigley Field. Not only the first and one-year home of the Los Angeles Angels, but also the location to television’s Home Run Derby.

There are the classic stadiums of my youth – Forbes Field (Pittsburgh), Connie Mack Stadium (Philadelphia) – previously known as Shibe Park – Sportsman’s Park (St. Louis), Polo Grounds (New York), cavernous Municipal Stadium (Cleveland), Crosley Field (Cincinnati), and others.

All places with their own quirks – yet, places of lore – but these are now gone. Places that may or may not have a sign or plaque commemorating its existence. Places that may be a playground, an apartment complex, a shopping area, a group of office buildings, or something for industry.

Let us not forget Boston’s Braves Field for much of it still stands. Not for baseball, but as a football field for Boston University – today known as Nickerson Field. An old ticket booth remains as a tribute to its past. One can sit in the stands imagining Spahn and Sain, then praying for rain – or slugger Eddie Mathews and other greats who played on this field.

A few teams played in temporary facilities as they waited for their new home – Houston’s mosquito-infested Colt 45 Stadium, Montreal’s quaint Jarry Park, and the Dodgers playing is a make-shift for baseball layout of massive LA Coliseum, which included a temporary high left field fence that made Moon Shots famous.

These ballparks gave way to the circular masses of concrete and steel known as multi-purposes stadiums that hosted baseball and football. Fortunately, most of them had shorter life spans than their predecessors. Not only is Atlanta’s multi-purpose stadium gone, so is it’s replacement.

The current generation of ballparks try to emulate the feel of those ballparks of long ago, but with modern conveniences and design. Yes, New York’s Yankee Stadium still exists, but it is not The House that Ruth Built – yet the city and franchise honors the original location.

For fans of baseball history, fortunately Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field stand of iconic tributes to the past. One has to wonder how long they will last – but for now, there is no end in sight … and for some of us, that’s a good thing.

No matter if in the old, new, or bygone, ballparks are places where vivid memories are made to be recalled – places where one can close their eyes and recall a past moment – a past hero – a past place as Ebbets or Crosley that stand no more, yet occupies a special place in the minds and hearts of their fans.

Ballparks are a special place – but so are beaches because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Baseball Locations

All ballparks, young and old, have a history. This post is about some of the locations associated with MLB parks.

The trivia questions are in two groups: matching and short answers. Correct answers are found after the short YouTube video honoring some of the old stadiums.

Matching Choices
Braves Field, Candlestick Park, Ebbets Field, Fenway Park, Forbes Field, Metropolitan Stadium, Sportsman’s Park, Tiger Stadium, Wrigley Field

  1. A portion of its outfield wall can be found on a college campus
  2. Its right field pavilion remains part of an on-campus college football stadium
  3. Today, its infield and much of the field of play is part of a local boys’ club
  4. It’s named after the Point location of the same name
  5. Bound by Clark, Addison, Waveland, and Sheffield
  6. Bound by Sullivan Place, Montgomery, and Bedford
  7. Bound by Trumbull, Michigan, Cherry, and National
  8. The attached bowling alley is closed
  9. Currently the location of a huge mall

Short Answers

  1. These 2 cities had old ballparks called the Huntington Street Grounds
  2. Name the 3 baseball stadiums (past and present) that also served as the site for many gold medal performances
  3. Name the 9 franchises with replacement stadiums built next door (or at least reasonably close

Matching Answers

  1. A portion of its outfield wall can be found on a college campus (Forbes Field, Pittsburgh)
  2. Its right field pavilion remains part of an on-campus college football stadium (Braves Field, Boston)
  3. Today, its infield and much of the field of play is part of a local boys’ club (Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis)
  4. Its name after the Point location of the same name (Candlestick Park, San Francisco)
  5. Bound by Clark, Addison, Waveland, and Sheffield (Wrigley Field, Chicago)
  6. Bound by Sullivan Place, Montgomery, and Bedford (Ebbets Field, Brooklyn)
  7. Bound by Trumbull, Michigan, Cherry, and National (Tiger Stadium, Detroit)
  8. The attached bowling alley is closed (Fenway Park, Boston)
  9. Currently the location of a huge mall (Metropolitan Stadium, [Mall of America] Bloomington, MN

Short Answers

  1. These 2 cities had old ballparks called the Huntington Street Grounds (Boston & Philadelphia)
  2. Name the 3 baseball stadiums (past & present) that also served as the site for many gold medal performances other than baseball (LA Coliseum (Dodgers), Olympic Stadium (Expos), Turner Field (Braves)
  3. Name the 9 Franchises with replacement stadiums built next door (or at least reasonably close (Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, New York Mets … (I hope I got them all)

On Memorable All-Star Moments

Baseball’s All-Star Game – the Mid-Summer Classic has been thrilling fans since 1933. The game has provided many memorable moments, even one embarrassing, forgettable moment a short time ago.

Below are 20 All-Star game moments and factoids. The goal is to match the moment to the game’s venue. It’s not as easy, and answers are provided after a classic, must-watch All-Star commercial from many years ago. Enjoy and let us know how you did.

Matching Choices
Anaheim Stadium, Astrodome, Camden Yards, Candlestick Park, Comiskey Park, Ebbets Field, Fenway Park, Griffith Stadium, Jacobs Field, Metropolitan Stadium, Miller Park, Municipal Stadium (Cleveland), Polo Grounds, Riverfront Stadium, Safeco Field, Shea Stadium, Shibe Park, The Ballpark at Arlington, Tiger Stadium, Yankee Stadium,

Events

  1. Fred Lynn hits the first grand slam HR in All Star history at the site of the first All-Star Game –just 50 years later
  2. Pete Rose collides with catcher Ray Fosse
  3. Reggie Jackson’s HR off the light tower
  4. Carl the King Hubbell consecutively fans Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin
  5. Stu Miller allegedly being blown off the mound
  6. John Kruk batting against Randy Johnson
  7. Ted Williams homers on a Rip (Luke) Sewell eephus pitch
  8. Earl Averill’s line drive hits pitcher Dizzy Dean’s foot and essentially ending Dean’s career
  9. Tony Perez’s game-deciding 15th-inning HR
  10. Racial barrier is broken by four players
  11. Sandy Alomar’s game-winning HR in his home park
  12. Cal Ripken homers in his last All-Star at bat
  13. The NL is held to 3 hits, yet 3 solo HRs were enough for a 3-2 win.
  14. Willie Mays returns to the city long before Josh Hamilton’s derby homers
  15. First expansion team stadium to host an All-Star game
  16. First AL expansion team stadium to host an All-Star game
  17. First All-Star played indoors on artificial turf
  18. First All-Star game held at night, surprisingly in 1943 and at the same location as the first AL game at night
  19. After 4 consecutive years of the game being played twice in a month, the All Star game returns to a once-a-year format
  20. Commissioner rules the game a tie in the 11th inning as both teams lack pitchers

Answers

  1. Fred Lynn hits the first grand slam HR in All Star history at the site of the first All-Star Game –just 50 years later (Comiskey Park)
  2. Pete Rose collides with catcher Ray Fosse (Riverfront Stadium)
  3. Reggie Jackson’s HR off the light tower (Tiger Stadium)
  4. Carl the King Hubbell consecutively fans Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin (Polo Grounds)
  5. Stu Miller allegedly being blown off the mound (Candlestick Park)
  6. John Kruk batting against Randy Johnson (Camden Yards)
  7. Ted Williams homers on a Rip (Luke) Sewell eephus pitch (Fenway, Boston)
  8. Earl Averill’s line drive hits pitcher Dizzy Dean’s foot and essentially ending Dean’s career (Griffith Stadium)
  9. Tony Perez’s game-deciding 15th-inning HR (Anaheim Stadium)
  10. Racial barrier is broken by four players (Ebbets Field)
  11. Sandy Alomar’s game-winning HR in his home park (Jacobs Field)
  12. Cal Ripken homers in his last All-Star at bat (Safeco Field)
  13. The NL is held to 3 hits, yet 3 solo HRs were enough for a 3-2 win. (The Ballpark at Arlington)
  14. Willie Mays returns to the city long before Josh Hamilton’s derby homers (Yankee Stadium)
  15. First expansion team stadium to host an All-Star game (Shea Stadium)
  16. First AL expansion team stadium to host an All-Star game (Metropolitan Stadium)
  17. First All-Star played indoors on artificial turf (Astrodome)
  18. First All-Star game held at night, surprisingly in 1943 and at the same location as the first AL game at night (Shibe Park)
  19. After 4 consecutive years of the game being played twice in a month, the All Star game returns to a once-a-year format (Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium)
  20. Commissioner rules the game a tie in the 11th inning as both teams lack pitchers (Miller Park)

On a Not-so-Famous Bowl that’s not a Bowl

We’re approaching baseball’s All-Star Game, yet this post is about a bowl. There are famous sports venues called bowls, such as the Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Yale Bowl, and probably others.

Certainly the Baker Bowl doesn’t fit into the celebrated nature of those venues. Heck, it’s not best known as a football venue, yet it’s certainly shaped for football and it hosted the Eagles from 1933-1935. It was a long-time baseball home that never hosted an All-Star Game, but was the venue for the first U.S. President (Woodrow Wilson) to see a World Series game.

Originally named National League Park and nicknamed the Huntington Street Grounds, the Baker Bowl served as Philadelphia Phillies home for 51 ½ years (1887-1938). Eventually named for the Phillies owner, bowl was used because Baker Field was associated with Columbia University.

The Baker Bowl was cozy and great for hitters, thus commonly referred to as a band box or cigar box. 1930 produced some unreal numbers. In the 77-game home schedule, opponents outscored the Phillies 644-543; that’s an average score of a bit more than 8-7!

This stadium had its oddities.

  • A hump in centerfield due to a railroad tunnel below
  • Using goats to keep the grass cut
  • The 60 ft right field wall and screen a mere 280 down the right field line
  • A wide, banked CF warning track that served bicycle races
  • A centerfield clubhouse known as one with just the basics

In a 1938 mid-season transfer, the Phillies shifted to Shibe Park – the new facility built just 5 blocks away to house the A’s and the home the most long-time fans associated with the Phillies. (See the Baker Bowl in the foreground?)

Watch the animated tour of the Baker Bowl.

Resources
Wikipedia
Google Images Search results

Drawing from The Pinetar Rag

Photos from Wikipedia

On Old Ballpark Trivia

The old ballparks were special for many reasons: quirky corners, odd shapes dictated by various aspects as houses, streets, railroads, or whatever. On the other hand, the diamond palaces serving as an arena for the battlefield known as the national pastime were nowhere near the lavish facilities of today, although the distances within the diamond remain the same. Maybe these are some of the reasons Wrigley and Fenway remain special places, or why marks note the spot of some of the baseball shrines from the past.

Here’s a quiz about the old places. Actually two quizzes in one. For those needing a tune-up, match the ballparks to the city. Then (or otherwise) match the description or feature to the ballpark. There’s only one answer for each and all parks are used only once. Answers are found below the video, a YouTube musical slide show of some of those places of not all that long ago. Tell us how you did.

Ballparks
Baker Bowl, Braves Field, Candlestick, Coliseum, Comiskey Park, Crosley Field, Ebbetts Field, Forbes Field, Griffith Stadium, Jarry Park, League Park, Memorial Stadium, Municipal Stadium (1), Municipal Stadium (2) Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, Sportsman’s Park, Tiger Stadium (Detroit), Wrigley Field (East),Wrigley Field (West)

Cities
Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago (1), Chicago (2), Cincinnati, Cleveland (1), Cleveland (2), Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles (1), Los Angeles (2), New York, Montreal, Philadelphia (1), Philadelphia (2), Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, Washington

Descriptions

  1. A 40-foot high screen started at the LF foul pole (251 feet) and extended 140 feet toward center
  2. A sloping terrace in left field
  3. 483 feet to centerfield
  4. The famed exploding scoreboard
  5. The covered RF upper deck overhung the lower deck by 10 feet
  6. Its third deck behind home plate was known as the Crow’s Nest
  7. A peculiar centerfield corner with a high wall due to houses located behind it
  8. Swimming pool located just beyond the right field fence
  9. Had a mechanical pop-up rabbit to deliver baseballs to the umpire
  10. One of the few early stadiums built for football
  11. A small set of right field bleachers known as the “jury box”
  12. Before adding a 20 foot fence, the right wall was only 9 feet tall and 301 feet away
  13. Originally called Weeghman Park
  14. Deep center had a hump from an underground rail tunnel and sheep cut the grass
  15. LF 375, CF 20, RF 290 with a 40 foot fence
  16. The original dimensions of this spacious cavern: LF/RF 320, alleys 463, CF 473; but gradually shortened through the years
  17. The first concrete and steel baseball stadium
  18. Because of the short porch, the RF pavilion was covered and batters faced a high screen
  19. Morning visits to this site would sell the beauty and hide the nighttime misery
  20. Its 15 foot LF ivy-covered wall formed a straight line from the foul pole (340) to straight-away center (412); thus a 345 foot power alley

Answers Cities
Braves Field (Boston), Candlestick (San Francisco), Coliseum (Los Angeles),Comiskey Park (Chicago), Crosley Field (Cincinnati), Ebbetts Field (Brooklyn), Forbes Field (Pittsburgh), Griffith Stadium (Washington), Jarry Park (Montreal), League Park (Cleveland), Memorial Stadium (Baltimore), Municipal Stadium (Kansas City), Polo Grounds (New York), Shibe Park (Philadelphia), Sportsman’s Park (St. Louis), Tiger Stadium (Detroit), Wrigley Field (East) Chicago, Wrigley Field (West) Los Angeles

Answers Descriptions

  1. A 40-foot high screen started at the LF foul pole (251 feet) and extended 140 feet toward center (Coliseum)
  2. A sloping terrace in left field (Crosley Field)
  3. 483 feet to centerfield (Polo Grounds)
  4. The famed exploding scoreboard (Comiskey Park)
  5. The covered RF upper deck overhung the lower deck by 10 feet (Tiger Stadium)
  6. Its third deck behind home plate was known as the Crow’s Nest (Forbes Field)
  7. A peculiar centerfield corner with a high wall due to houses located behind it (Griffith Stadium)
  8. Swimming pool located just beyond the right field fence (Jarry Park)
  9. Had a mechanical pop-up rabbit to deliver baseballs to the umpire (Municipal Stadium-Kansas City)
  10. One of the few early stadiums actually built for football (Memorial Stadium)
  11. A small set of right field bleachers known as the “jury box” (Braves Field)
  12. Before adding a 20-foot fence, the right wall was only 9 feet tall and 301 feet away (Ebbetts Field)
  13. Originally called Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field Chicago)
  14. Deep center had a hump from an underground rail tunnel and sheep cut the grass (Baker Bowl)
  15. LF 375, CF 420, RF 290 with a 40-foot fence (League Park)
  16. The original dimensions of this spacious cavern: LF/RF 320, alleys 463, CF 473; but gradually shortened through the years (Municipal Stadium-Cleveland)
  17. The first concrete and steel baseball stadium (Shibe Park)
  18. Because of the short porch, the RF pavilion was covered and batters faced a high screen (Sportsman’s Park)
  19. Morning visits to this site would sell the beauty and hide the nighttime misery (Candlestick)
  20. Its 15 foot LF ivy-covered wall formed a straight line from the foul pole (340) to straight-away center (412); thus a 345 foot power alley (Wrigley Field-Los Angeles)

Note
A good resource: Ballparks.com; note the navigation links on the left side. http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/index.htm

On Bits of Baseball

Stadium Trivia
Baseball has a reach history in these current MLB cities. Match the stadium with the city. Matches occur only once and all are used. Some easy ones, but I believe most something challenging here because not all were MLB teams. By the way, some of these also had other names during their history. Answers are found at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago 1, Chicago 2, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas, Toronto, Washington

Babe Ruth Stadium, Baker Bowl, Blues Stadium, Borchert Field, Colt Stadium, Exposition Park, Exposition Stadium, Griffith Stadium, Hilltop Park, Huntington Avenue Grounds, League Park, Navin Field, Nicollet Park, Palace of the Fans, Ponce de Leon Park, Seals Stadium, Sick’s Stadium, Sportsman’s Park, South Side Park, Turnpike Stadium, West Side Grounds, Westgate Park, Wrigley Field,

Baseball Tidbits
Baseball players have a culture full of nicknames. Here’s a link compiling many of nicknames by teams.

Speaking of nicknames, those of us who remember the early days of ESPN appreciated early Chris Berman more than today’s version. Since I loved the nicknames he used on Sports Center, here’s a list.

Scientific American has a Science of Baseball page with great information.

Jim Bowden operated a sham while GM in Cincinnati, and continued to display his ineffectiveness with the Nationals. Hal McCoy, a Hall-of-Fame writer for the Dayton Daily News, wrote this column about Bowden in early March.

I didn’t know that retired Yankee outfielder Bernie Williams played the guitar. I appreciate his rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

Stadium Trivia Answers
Atlanta – Ponce de Leon Park
Baltimore – Babe Ruth Stadium
Boston – Huntington Avenue Grounds
Chicago A – South Side Park
Chicago B – West Side Grounds
Cincinnati – Palace of the Fans
Cleveland – League Park
Detroit – Navin Field
Houston – Colt Stadium
Kansas City – Blues Stadium
Los Angeles – Wrigley Field
Milwaukee – Borchert Field
Minneapolis – Nicollet Park
New York – Hilltop Park
Philadelphia – Baker Bowl
Pittsburgh – Exposition Park
St. Louis – Sportsman’s Park
San Diego – Westgate Park
San Francisco – Seals Stadium
Seattle – Sick’s Stadium
Texas – Turnpike Stadium
Toronto – Exposition Stadium
Washington – Griffith Stadium