By Glen Sparks
So, how did you do on this wintry edition of Which Old Ballpark? Check out the answers below. (I posted the quiz yesterday.)
1. Braves Field in Boston. Owner James Gaffney purchased the old Allston Golf Course in early 1914. Several cave-ins plagued construction of Braves Field, including one during a game that sank the shortstop area by eight inches. The park opened Aug. 18, 1915, late in the season.
2. Navin Field in Detroit. Tigers’ owner Frank Navin named the steel-and-concrete ballpark after himself. The park opened April 20, 1912. Walter Briggs later bought the team from Navin and subsequently re-named the park Briggs Stadium. Located at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull avenues, the park became Tiger Stadium in 1968 under the ownership of John Fetzer.
3. West Side Park in Chicago (also called West Side Grounds). The park opened June 6, 1885. Thanks in part to the trio of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance, the Cubs (actually, the White Stockings until 1907) were one of the great teams in the early National League. West Side hosted games until the Cubs moved into Wrigley Field (first called “Weeghmann Park) in 1916.
4. Palace of the Fans in Cincinnati. The Reds had been playing at Redland Field, which was destroyed by fire in 1901. After being rebuilt, the park was dubbed, boastfully, Palace of the Fans. It opened April 17, 1902. It may have been a palace, but it wasn’t fireproof. A blaze broke out in 1911, doing major damage. When the park re-opened in 1912, it was more humbly called again, Redland Field.
5. Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. This cavernous ballpark replaced League Park. Workers completed the structure on July 1, 1931, taking just 370 days. The first sports event held at Municipal was a world heavyweight boxing match between Max Schmeling and Young Stribling on July 3, 1931. The German fighter Schmeling recorded a 15-round TKO over Stibling, who hailed from rural Georgia.
6. Hilltop Park in New York City. They were the Hilltoppers before they were the Yankees. They also played in Manhattan, on Broadway between 165th and 168th streets, before they moved to the Bronx. Hilltop Park opened April 30, 1903. The team became the Yankees in 1913.
7. Shibe Park in Philadelphia (also known as Connie Mack Stadium). The park opened April 12, 1909. Ted Williams went into the last day of the season batting .39955, which would have been rounded up to .400. Manager Joe Cronin asked Teddy Ballgame if he wanted to play, or risk having his average drop below .400. Heck, yeah, I want to play Williams said. He would not deserve the recognition for batting .400 if he sat out the games, he said.
8. Recreation Park in Pittsburgh. Recreation Park was actually an up-to-date version of the old Union Park, an earlier home for Pittsburgh’s baseball team (then known as the Alleghenies). Recreation Park was located on the north side of the city and replaced Exposition Park, or Old Expo, as the Alleghenies’ home. The Alleghenies became the Pirates in 1912, three years after moving to Forbes Field.
9. American League Park in Washington, D.C. Located at 14th Street and Brandenburg Avenue NE, American League Park hosted the Senators for just two seasons. Present for the opening pitch, Adm. Dewey had led the destruction of the Spanish fleet in Manilla Bay during the Spanish-American War and is still famous for his command, “You may fire when ready, Gridley!” He is the only U.S. Navy officer to hold the title of Admiral of the Navy.
10. Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Ebbets opened April 9, 1913, in the Crowns Heights neighborhood. Famous for its colorful signage, Ebbets also was known for its sym-phony, a group of off-key musicians who serenaded the fans and the home team. If all went right, the sym-phony also drove the opposing team to distraction.