Capitoline Skating Lake and Base-Ball Ground
Location: Between Nostrand Ave and Marcy Ave at Halsey St. in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, NY
Amateur baseball flourished in Brooklyn as early as the 1840s. Games were played near Carol Park and later at Union Grounds in the Williamsburg area. In 1862, Reuben Decker built a ballpark at the Capitoline Skating Lake. It followed the Union Grounds as only the second fenced-in ballpark. The Brooklyn Atlantics called Capitoline home until the area was developed and a street replaced the field in 1879.
Fans stand behind a
rope along the left-field line to watch the Bridegrooms
First professional game: May 5, 1884
First National League game: April 28, 1890
Location: Between 3rd and 4th Streets at 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY
In 1699, a Dutch immigrant named Claes Arentson Vechte built a stone house for his family in what was called the village of Gowanus within the old Town of Breukelen. In August 1776, General George Washington engaged the British for the first time in the Revolutionary War at the very same spot in what would be known as the Battle of Brooklyn. The British occupied Vechte's stone house and through its windows, fired their cannons, muskets and guns. The British won the battle, but lost the war.
Just over a century later, in 1879, the Brooklyn Atlantics moved to a new home, Washington Park, and the team's clubhouse was none other than the stone house built by Vechte.
The National League was formed in 1876, but Washington Park was home to minor league teams until the American Association was formed in 1882 and Brooklyn joined in 1884. After winning the American Association championship in 1889, Brooklyn faced the National League champion New York Giants in an exhibition World Series. While the Giants won in nine games, the rivalry proved so intense that the Brooklyn franchise joined them in the National League in 1890.
Washington Park was destroyed by a fire on May 19, 1889, while the team was on a road trip. But it was rebuilt, with greater capacity. A crowd of 2,488 witnessed the final home game that year as the team set a record in professional baseball with a season attendance total of 353,690.
The 1890 season was the Bridegroom's last at Washington Park, but it was a good one -- the team took home the National League title.
First game: May 2, 1886
Location: Ridgewood (Queens), NY
Ridgewood Park, also known as Meyerrose's Park, Horse Market or Wallace's Grounds, was home to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms on Sundays for four seasons.
When the Bridegrooms left the American Association and joined the National League in 1890, their relationship with Ridgewood ended as well.
First game: April 27, 1891
Location: Between Pitkin and Sutter Avenues and Powell St. and Van Sinderen Ave. in East New York (Brooklyn), NY
In 1891, real estate mogul George Chauncey purchased a controlling interest in the ballclub, joining Ferdinand Abell and Charles Byrne in the ownership group. Chauncey and Byrne thought the team could earn larger revenues from the club's intense rivalry with the Giants if they moved the team several miles due east to a larger, more accessible facility called Eastern Park. Byrne wanted to move there sooner, but the Player's League formed in 1890 and the Brooklyn Wonders called Eastern Park home. However, the PL lasted just one season.
Eastern Park was surrounded by electric trolley tracks and the local pedestrians had to negotiate a whirlwind of trolley cars to get into the ballpark. Accidents were common and often resulted in the deaths of unfortunate pedestrians. The artful skill of dodging the trolley cars led Brooklyn fans to assume the moniker "Trolley Dodgers," which was eventually shortened and became the franchise name, the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In 1897, Abell, Byrne and Charles Ebbets bought out Chauncey's shares and Byrne died soon after. Ebbets was elected president of the ballclub and moved the team back to its original home.
"New" Washington Park
Opened: April 30, 1898
Location: Between 3rd and 4th Avenues and 1st and 3rd Streets, Brooklyn, NY
Dimensions: Left field: 335 (1898), 375.95 (1908), 300 (1914); Left-center: 500 (1898), 443.5 (1908); Center field: 445 (1898), 424.7 (1908), 400 (1914); Right-center: 300 (1898); Right field: 215 (1898), 295 (1899), 301.84 (1908), 275 (1914); Backstop: 90 (1898), 15 (1908)
The "new" Washington Park was built for $60,000 in an area near the Gowanus Canal, a coal yard and the American Can Company's factory. It was quite near the field the club called home when they entered the National League, and the team signed a 15-year lease on the property.
Fans would watch the games from the rooftops and fire escapes of the Ginney Flats, a row of tenements beyond the outfield wall and a perfect place from which to heckle and intimidate Giants outfielders and fans.
The team, its fans and the city eventually outgrew Washington Park. Crowds often formed along the foul lines when the wooden stands were full. On Opening Day of the final season at Washington Park (April 11, 1912), crowds were so large (an estimated 30,000 arrived) that the police were ordered in for control and the game was called before the seventh inning.
The smells from the canal and nearby factories often made for an unpleasant experience for fans and ballplayers alike. Team owner Charles Ebbets knew that the time had come to build something majestic.
Ebbets Field was built by Charles Ebbets and Stephen and Edward McKeever. (AP)
Fans congregate at the entrance to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.
Over a period of close to four years, Dodgers owner Charles Ebbets slowly acquired the land he needed to fulfill his dream of building a modern facility for his ballclub. After identifying an ideal location, four and one-half acres of land in an area known as "Pig Town," Ebbets set up the Pylon Construction Company, a corporation through which he secretly acquired the land, one parcel at a time. In 1912, Ebbets announced his plans, but also realized that the cost of building the stadium would be daunting.
Ebbets partnered with Edward and Stephen McKeever, brothers who owned a contracting firm that specialized at first in sewers, water mains and asphalt, but later developed large building projects and housing in Brooklyn. Together, Ebbets and the McKeevers built Ebbets Field, a steel and concrete stadium which cost $750,000 and featured an 80-foot rotunda with an Italian marble floor, a chandelier, coat check rooms, and seats designed to give fans an experience similar to visiting a fine theater.
In 1930, a scoreboard was added to the right-field wall, which had nearly 300 different angles to make fielding an interesting endeavor. The press box was added in 1929, and more seats were added after the 1931, '37, and '47 seasons. The official scorer's decisions were announced on a large ad for Schaefer Beer over the scoreboard -- the letters "h" and "e" in "Schaefer" lit up for a hit or an error. The first televised baseball game was a 6-1 win over the Reds at Ebbets Field on Aug. 26, 1939.
On Sept. 24, 1957, the Dodgers, now owned by Walter O'Malley, played their final game at Ebbets Field and moved to California. In February of 1960, the same wrecking ball that would later demolish the Polo Grounds began its work on Ebbets Field.
Jackie Robinson crosses the plate in his first game in the Dodgers organization.
A fan waves a Dodgers world championship pennant at Roosevelt Park in 1956.
Opened: April 23, 1937
First Dodgers game: April 19, 1956
Location: Near the Hackensack River, west of Route 440 and Danforth Avenue at Droyers' Point, Jersey City, NJ.
Dimensions: Foul lines: 330; Power alleys: 377-401; Center field: 411; Backstop: 60
Roosevelt Stadium was built during the depression for $1.5 million, which was funded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. Although the steel and concrete stadium, which was designed by architect Christian H. Ziegler, was to be named Veterans' Memorial Stadium, Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague named it in the president's honor.
The Dodgers played seven home games at Roosevelt Stadium in 1956 (going 6-1) and seven in 1957 (4-3), but the most historic moment at the ballpark came a decade earlier, when Jackie Roosevelt Robinson stepped into the batter's box on April 18, 1946, as a member of the Dodgers' minor league Montreal Royals. It was Robinson's first plate appearance after Dodgers GM Branch Rickey signed him and ended segregation in the National Pastime.
Carl Furillo hit the Dodgers' first home run at Roosevelt Stadium on July 25, 1956. Don Drysdale pitched the first of his 49 Major League shutouts on June 5, 1957 in Jersey City, by beating the Cubs, 4-0. The stadium was demolished in 1985.
An odd configuration for a baseball stadium, the Coliseum was the temporary home.
A crowd of 78,682 watches the Dodgers beat the Giants, 6-5, in the first game in
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Opened: October 6, 1923
First Game: April 18, 1958
Capacity: 93,000 (1958), 94,600 (1959)
Location: 3911 South Figueroa Street, adjacent to the Univesity of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.
Dimensions: Left field: 250 (1958), 251.6 (1959); left-center: 320 at end of screen rectangle; left-center where the fence met the wall: 425 (1958), 417 (1959); center field: 425 (1958), 420 (1959); right-center: 440 (1958), 375 (1959), 394 (1960), 380 (1961); right-center where the fence met the wall: 390 (1958), 333 (1959), 340 (1960); right field: 301 (1958), 300 (1959); backstop: 60 (1958), 66 (1959)
After Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley decided that the best place to build a new stadium was in California, the team moved to Los Angeles and into a temporary home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. For four seasons, the enormous stadium which was used for football and the 1932 Olympic Games (and again, in 1984) was fitted with a 40-foot screen in left field to help compensate for the fact that the wall was a meager 250 feet from home plate.
Players like Wally Moon, who perfected the "Moon Shot," took advantage of the short left field, while sluggers like Duke Snider saw their numbers decline because of the expansive right field, whose wall was a distant 440 feet from the plate.
On Opening Day in 1958, 78,672 fans came through the turnstiles -- the largest home-opener crowd in history. The opening series attendance was a whopping 167,204 -- also a record. The largest single-game crowd in Major League history -- 93,103 -- came to the Coliseum on May 7, 1959, the night the Dodgers honored Roy Campanella, whose career was cut short in a tragic automobile accident in Jan. 29, 1958.
The Dodgers were world champions in 1959, winning two of the three games played at the Coliseum, and the World Series, 4-2, over the White Sox.
Walter O'Malley breaks ground on the future site of Dodger Stadium in the Elysian hills.
More than 118 million fans have taken in a game at Dodger Stadium since it opened.
Opened: April 10, 1962
Location: 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Los Angeles, Calif.
Dimensions: Left field: 330; Left-center: 385; Center field: 395; Right-center: 385; Right field: 330; From foul pole to the bullpens, the outfield fence is 55 inches high (about 4.5 feet). From bullpen to bullpen, the fence is 8 feet high.
Walter O'Malley and architect Emil Praeger set the stage for baseball's most popular and beautiful showplace when they began designing the Dodgers' new home after moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
Since 1962, the beauty of Dodger Stadium has awed spectators with a breath-taking view of downtown Los Angeles to the south; green, tree-lined Elysian hills to the north and east; and the San Gabriel Mountains beyond.
The 56,000-seat Dodger Stadium has parking for 16,000 automobiles on 21 terraced lots adjacent to the same elevations as the six different seating levels.
At the gates, more than 118 million fans have watched Dodger games at Dodger Stadium over 43 years, an average of more than 2.7 million fans per season. Dodger fans have witnessed 3,338 regular-season games at Dodger Stadium, including a 1,948-1,471 (.584) record posted by the Dodgers. In 1978, Dodger Stadium became the first ballpark to host more than three million fans in a season when the Dodgers drew 3,347,845 in attendance.
Dodger Stadium has hosted eight World Series and the Dodgers have won four World Championships (1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988), eight NL pennants (1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1988),
nine NL Western Division crowns (1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1995,
2004) and one NL Wild Card berth (1996).
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