Please note: As I have mentioned before, instead of getting silly with parks, I only count a park once per site. There were three parks at Findlay and Western, but since it is only one site, I only count it once. I have broken down each site below.
The corner of Findlay and Western was a brick yard until it was converted into a baseball diamond. It was home to the Reds for 86 years.
|Park Name: League Park||Team: Cincinnati Reds|
|Opening Day: May 1, 1884 (American Association)||Closing Day: October 2, 1901|
|Dimensions: LF 253|
To quote Michael Benson from his book Ballparks of North America, "This ballpark... and Baker Bowl have the notoriety of being the only two baseball arenas ever to fall down and kill people. (Baker Bowl did it twice - but only because it was given ample opportunity.)"
Indeed on opening day in 1884, the stands collapsed and killed one person, injuring many others. In 1885, the center field wall was painted black to help the batters see the ball, creating the first "batter's eye". During the first two weeks, a ball hit over the right field fence was only a double. After that, the Reds leased additional land and moved the fence back 50 feet. There was a "skin" infield, all dirt, no grass.
This park burned in both 1900 and 1901.
|Park Name: Palace of the Fans||Team: Cincinnati Reds|
|Opening Day: April 17, 1902||Closing Day: October 6, 1911|
|Dimensions: RF 450||Capacity: 6,000|
After the fire at League Park in 1901, a new stadium was built. This park, Palace of the Fans, looked like a palace with 22 Corinthian columns with elaborate detail at the top. If you were a die hard fan, you sat in Rooters Row. This section was so close to the players, the fans could take part in on field conversations. The only thing separating the fans and players was plywood and chicken wire. To make things more interesting, Rooters Row was strategically placed by the bar. As time passed, this palace became brokedown. The Cincinnati building inspector started to complain because of cracked girders, decayed supports and unsafe floors. In 1911, George Herrmann and others, took over the Reds and sunk some money into their park.
|Teams: Cincinnati Reds||Capacity: 20,000 (1912) 29,488 (1970)|
|Opening Day: April 11, 1912||Closing Day: June 24, 1970|
|Dimensions: LF 360 CF 420 RF 360 (1912) LF 328 CF 387 RF 366 (1970)||Owner: Cincinnati Reds|
|Architect: Harry Hake||Cost: $225,000|
|AKA: Redland Field (1912 - 1933)|
This park was one of the first of the old, long time, parks to go, being replaced by a concrete doughnut. This park has some interesting history. In 1937 the Ohio River flooded and covered this park with 21 feet of water. Pitchers Lee Grissom and Gene Schott rowed a boat into the park over the outfield wall. In 1957 a 58 foot high and 65 foot wide scoreboard was installed. This park had a four foot incline in left field known as the "terrace". It created a lot of problems for fielders.
Crosley Field, which was named after club owner, Powell Crosley, inventor of the Crosley Automobile. After this park was abandoned in 1970, it was used to hold impounded cars. This park did a lot for this park of Cincinnati. It turned an industrial section (the park was built on an abandoned brick yard) into a lively neighborhood. However, the neighborhood is in decay today. Pictured below is what stands on the site of Crosley Field, besides an industrial park. (Quick note, I find it interesting that this park has returned to its industrial roots).
Crosley Field lives on in the suburb of Blue Ash, Ohio. They have a facility with numerous athletic fields. One of them has original seats, an original ticket booth, and the huge scoreboard, which remains the same as it did on June 24, 1970, during the last batter of the game, when Crosley closed for good. (All pictured below).
CROSLEY FIELD RE-CREATION
JULY 11, 1988
BLUE ASH CITY COUNCIL
Reds retired numbers at Crosley Field:
In the same facility, Blue Ash has a park called Riverfront Park (Cinergy Field) with the same dimensions of the former field. Who knows if they are going to recreate that park as well.
© 2003-11 Paul Healey. Photographs of the old stadium © their owners. Used without permission.