Missed Out

As I have grown older, I realized that I was missing out on something special. From 1991 to now there have been alot of new stadiums built in baseball, which means lots of opportunity to go see new ones, but also means some that will be considered classics one day have been missed. Some of the ones replaced were in need of it, and were very basic, cookie cutter stadiums. Others, while old and outdated, were classics already. I will not let the new wave of stadiums pass me by this time. I am dedicated to seeing them all.

While some of these classics are before my time, I sit and wonder what it would have been like to see a game at some of these classic domains. I love the look of some of the classics and am learning more about them daily.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ebbets Field, Brooklyn NY

This is a beautiful defunct stadium. The former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 to 1957, when they left for L.A.. The field was demolished in 1960 and replaced with apartment buildings. Its look has been used in the new Mets stadium, Citi Field.

The Dodgers went to the World Series in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956 while playing there. They won the 1955 World Series.

Ebbets Field was but one of several historic major league ballparks demolished in the 1960s, but more mythology and nostalgia surrounds the stadium and its demise than possibly any other defunct ballpark. Ebbets Field is arguably a more popular venue now than when it actually stood. I know I have a personal fascination with it. I've read that fans who did attend games at the stadium remember it as cramped and decrepit towards the end of its life. If the Dodgers hadn't moved to L.A., the stadium would have still been torn down, it was because of a dispute with the city on location of a new park that drove them out. The Giants followed them west, being the biggest rival of the Dodgers, to keep that rivalry alive to this day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Connie Mack Stadium, Philadelphia PA

Originally named Shibe Stadium, was the home of the Athletics from 1909 through 1954, then the Phillies from 1938 to 1970, sharing it with the A's from 1938 to 1954.
The Eagles shared the park as well from 1940 through 1957.
The Athletics were in 7 World Series during their tenure at the stadium: 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1929, 1930 and 1931. Winning in 1911, 1929 and 1930.
The Phillies were in 1 World Series during their tenure at the stadium, the 1950 World Series.They lost that series to the Yankees.

The final game was played there, on October 1, 1970, with the Phillies defeating the Montreal Expos 2-1 in 10 innings. The occasion was marred by people literally dismantling the stadium while the game was still in progress.

I love the look of these classic stadiums. The interiors were cramped and worn out, but the look of them will go on forever. Its good to see that some of the new parks are thinking about the classic look as they design them.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Forbes Field, Pittsburgh PA

Forbes Field was the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1909 through 1971. They shared the stadium with the Steelers. The Pitt Panthers football team also used it from 1909 to 1924. The stadium was made of concrete and steel (one of the first of its kind) in order to increase its lifespan. The Pirates played in 4 World Series while at Forbes Field, winning 3: 1909, 1925 and 1960.

The Bucs owner hated cheap home runs and vowed he'd have none in his park, which led him to design a large playing field for Forbes Field. The original distances to the outfield fence in left, center, and right field were 360 feet, 462 feet, and 376 feet respectively.Later, the right field went from 376 feet to 300 feet, but a 28-foot high screen to limit home runs was erected. With such a large outfield space, triples and inside-the-park home runs were common. The Pirates hit a record eight triples in a single game.

On opening day, 1909, ticket prices ranged from $1.25 for box seats and $1 for reserved grand stand sections. Temporary bleachers were set up for the occasion and cost $0.50. These prices were considered high for the day.

The left and center field walls had ivy on them, and this is the only pic I could find of it. I cannot find any history of when the ivy was put in, but being a Cub/Wrigley fan, the ivy is interesting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tiger Stadium, Detroit Michigan

I lived in Detroit for 2 full summers from 95 to 97. I worked a few miles from Tiger Stadium. I never went to one game. The Tigers were not a good team at the time, but the main reason I didnt go, I was too busy working and not enjoying life. The Tigers Played there from 1912 through 1999. It was originally called Navin Field, then Briggs Stadium, both after the owners at the time, before using Tiger Stadium as its name in 1961. They shared thier home from 1938 to 1974 with the Lions(NFL). They played in 6 World Series while there :1934, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1968 and 1984 only losing in 1934 and 1940.

I have heard alot of different opinions on Tiger Stadium. There is no doubt that it is a classic ballpark, with alot of history. The stadium had an old school feel to it, But was supposedly in pretty bad shape. There was alot of money being dumped into it in repairs every year, and it probably was smart to replace it. But, alot of people in Detroit didnt want to let it go. There were alot of groups fighting to make it a landmark to prevent it from being destroyed. Demolition was completed in 2009, after a very long process.

I found this pic on the net while doing some research on the stadium. Cool pic.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yankee Stadium, Bronx NY

This is one now classic stadium that I can actually say I visited. Several times. It is interesting seeing old pics of the exterior before the 70's remodel. The new stadium looks like the old one did before the remodel.The Yankees Played here from 1923 through 2008, minus 1974-75 when they played at Shea due to the remodel. They played in 39 World Series at the old Yankee Stadium, winning 26 of them.

This park is loaded with history. To think of the all time greats that played there is pretty amazing. Walking through the concourses was like moving through a cave, but the park was open and beautiful. All three perfect games thrown by Yankee pitchers have occurred at the Stadium. Don Larsen threw a perfect game on October 8, 1956, in the fifth game of the World Series, while David Wells and David Cone threw theirs on May 17, 1998, and July 18, 1999, respectively.
Many historic home runs have been hit at Yankee Stadium. Babe Ruth hit the ballpark's first home run on its Opening Day in 1923. Ruth also set the then-league record for most home runs in a single season by hitting his 60th home run in 1927. Roger Maris would later break this record in 1961 at Yankee Stadium on the final day of the season by hitting his 61st home run. In 1967, Mickey Mantle slugged his 500th career home run, Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches in the 1977 WS Game 6. In 1983, Goerge Brett's home run, better known as the Pine Tar Incident, the Derek Jeter fly ball that was interfered with by fan Jeffrey Maier, Aaron Boone's extra-inning "walk-off" against the Sox.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Polo Grounds IV, New York, NY

Polo Grounds was one of baseballs hallowed ballparks. Throughout the history of baseball in New York City there have been four ballparks known as the Polo Grounds dating back to the 1800s. This was Polo Grounds IV. It was named that because the original parks were at an actual old polo park, and they took the name with when they moved away and built this park. The NY Giants played there from 1911 to 1957 when they left for the west coast. The Yankees played there from 1913 to 1922, when they were evicted by the owner of the Giants, because they were outdrawing his own team. They went on to build thier own park, this place called Yankee Stadium. The Mets played there in 1962 & 63 while Shea was being built. It was demolished in 1964.

The Polo Grounds were enclosed except in centerfield. The grandstands were extended to the bleachers that were on both sides of the clubhouse in centerfield. The left field upper deck overhung the playing field by 23 feet. Polo Grounds looked like a horseshoe. Round behind home plate, the sides did not run parallel to the foul lines, but rather to a line drawn from home to second, extending straight into the power alleys before curving toward the middle in deep left and right centerfields. The center field wall ran straight across, except for a large cutout square in dead center that was the entrance to the clubhouses. The bullpens were in the outfield in play. The unique shape and dimensions are what made this park interesting. Could you imagine a park today trying something like this?

No player ever hit a fly ball that reached the 483-foot distant center-field wall.
The Giants' first night game at the stadium was played on May 24, 1940. The catch that Willie Mays made in the 1954 World Series against Vic Wertz of the Cleveland Indians would have been a home run in many other ballparks of the time. The outfield sloped downward from the infield, and people in the dugouts often could only see the top half of the outfielders.
One of the greatest moments in the stadium, and maybe MLB history, was Bobby Thomson's homerun off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca to win the National League pennant in 1951. Better known as "The shot heard around the world".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland OH

Home of the Cleveland Indians from 1932 to 1933, when they then went back to thier old park (League Park), due to several issues, then used it again from 1936 to 1993 (shared with League Park until 1946). They moved on to Progressive Field (Jacobs Field) in 1994. The stadium was used 1 more season by the Browns, who were there from 1946 until 1994. The stadium was demolished in 1996 to build the new park for the new Browns.

The Indians issues in the early years ranged from the size of the outfield, which the fans and players complained about, which basically eliminated the HR ball. After moving back in, the owner had a portable center field fence installed, which he could move in or out depending on how the distance favored the Indians against their opponents in a given series. The fence moved as much as 15 feet between series opponents. Following the 1947 season, the American League countered with a rule change that fixed the distance of an outfield wall for the duration of a season.
Another issue at the time was the great depression, which as a result the attendance went way down.
The Indians went to 2 World Series while there, 1948 & 1954. Winning it all in 1948.

This park was the home to the first AL color barrier player, Larry Doby, who hit .301 in his first season. He was brought in 11 days after Jackie Robinson was to the Dodgers.