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South End Grounds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

South End Grounds
Walpole Street Grounds
Grand Pavilion
Boston Base-Ball Grounds
South End Grounds, 1893
South End grounds in 1893
LocationBoston, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°20′15″N 71°5′13″W / 42.33750°N 71.08694°W / 42.33750; -71.08694
OwnerBoston Braves
Capacity6,800 (1888)
Field sizeLeft Field – 250 ft
Left-Center – 445 ft
Deep Left-Center – 450 ft
Center Field – 440 ft
Right-Center – 440 ft
Right Field – 255 ft
* Dimensions for South End Grounds III
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke ground1871
OpenedMay 16, 1871
ClosedAugust 11, 1914
Demolished1914
Tenants
Boston Braves (MLB) (1871–1914)

South End Grounds refers to any one of three baseball parks on one site in Boston, Massachusetts. They were home to the franchise that eventually became known as the Boston Braves, first in the National Association and later in the National League, from 1871 to 1914.

At least in its third edition, the formal name of the park -- as indicated by the sign over its entrance gate -- was Boston National League Base Ball Park. It was located on the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Walpole Street (now Saint Cyprian's Place), just southwest of Carter Playground. Accordingly, it was also known over the years as Walpole Street Grounds; two other names were Union Base-ball Grounds and Boston Baseball Grounds.

1903 World Series – Huntington Avenue Grounds in the foreground, the third South End Grounds in the hazy background to the upper right
1903 World Series – Huntington Avenue Grounds in the foreground, the third South End Grounds in the hazy background to the upper right

The ballpark was across the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad tracks, to the south, from the eventual site of the Huntington Avenue Grounds, home field of Boston's American League team prior to the building of Fenway Park.

The Boston club was initially known as the "Red Stockings," because four of its key players had come from the famous 1869–1870 barnstorming team known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings and took the nickname with them to Boston. Over time the team acquired other informal nicknames, such as "Beaneaters," "Red Caps," "Rustlers" and "Doves." This team eventually adopted the official nickname "Braves," just a few years before abandoning South End Grounds.

With its tight foul lines and expansive center field, like a scaled-down version of the Polo Grounds, it was sometimes said that the South End had no right or left field, only a center field.

South End Grounds was rebuilt twice during its lifetime, the first time by choice and the second time by necessity.

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Transcription

Contents

First park

The first game played at South End Grounds was May 16, 1871; the last was September 10, 1887. The ballpark's stands were demolished later that month to make way for a new structure.

Second park

South End Grounds (1888), grandstand in background
South End Grounds (1888), grandstand in background
View from the grandstand (1888)
View from the grandstand (1888)

The second South End Grounds was opened on May 25, 1888. Sometimes referred to as the "Grand Pavilion," it consisted of a large double-decker grandstand behind home plate and uncovered stands stretching down the right and left field lines, as well as bleachers in right-center field. The medieval-style "witch's cap" turrets were a very popular decoration on public seating structures of the 1880s and 1890s. The ballpark seated 6,800 by one estimate.[1] It was the only double-decked baseball stadium ever built in Boston, apart from the rooftop seating which has turned the single-decked Fenway Park into a de facto double-deck ballpark. The stadium was destroyed in the Great Roxbury Fire of May 16, 1894, which began when children started a small fire beneath the right field bleachers, and which spread and destroyed the stadium and 117 other buildings. During the rebuilding process, the Bostons played their home games at Congress Street Grounds.

Entrance ca.1900
Entrance ca.1900

Third park

South End Grounds #3 isolated from the 1903 World Series photo
South End Grounds #3 isolated from the 1903 World Series photo

The third South End Grounds was built in 10 weeks on the site of the old stand and opened on July 20, 1894.[2] Because the previous structure had not been sufficiently insured, there wasn't enough money to rebuild the stands according to its old plans, and a smaller structure was built. Few photographs of this ballpark seem to be in circulation. In one sense, the best known photo might be the one showing the opening game of the 1903 World Series, with the Huntington Avenue Grounds in the foreground; and the South End Grounds in the background, its season over, partially hidden by smoke from the rail yards. That image can be seen beside this text. On September 12, 1911, 44-year-old legend Cy Young pitched the final home game of his career in a Boston uniform at the grounds against the New York Giants and fellow future Baseball Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson.[3] The Braves moved out of the South End Grounds after their game on August 11, 1914 to accommodate larger crowds during the "stretch drive" of the 1914 pennant race. The team continued to play at Fenway Park until Braves Field was completed during the 1915 season.

Current use

The stadium was demolished after the Braves left. The former site of the grandstand and the infield is located where Northeastern University's Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) currently stands, between the Columbus Parking Garage and Ruggles Station of the Orange Line of the MBTA. The outfield was located where the garage stands. A historical marker commemorating the South End Grounds is located at Ruggles Station.[4]

References

  1. ^ "South End Grounds (Boston) | Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  2. ^ "South End Grounds". Ballparks.
  3. ^ Retrosheet.org, box score of New York Giants at Boston Rustlers, 12 September 1911 (retrieved 18 November 2012)
  4. ^ "Remembering the South End Grounds". Patch. Retrieved 2018-11-11.

Sources

  • Green Cathedrals, by Phil Lowry
  • Ballparks of North America, by Michael Benson
  • Baseball Memories 1900–1909, by Marc Okkonen
  • Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century, by Marc Okkonen

External links

Preceded by
first ballpark
Home of the Boston Braves 
1876–1914
Succeeded by
Fenway Park
This page was last edited on 31 May 2019, at 02:20
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