333 W. 35th St.
Chicago, Ill. 60616
Who Plays Here: Chicago
White Sox (AL)
Opened: April 18, 1991
Construction began: May 7, 1989
Architect: HOK Sport (Kansas City)
Construction: Gust K. Newberg (Chicago)
Owner: Illinois Sports Facilities Authority
Cost: $167 million
Public financing: $167 million, or 100 percent, mostly from a 2
percent tax on hotels in Chicago
Comiskey Park opened on April 18, 1991 and was
the first new sports facility built in Chicago since Chicago Stadium in
1929. The ballpark includes a 37-foot wide, 26-foot tall Jumbo Tron
scoreboard. The park has been used in many commercials and several movies,
including "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "Major League II."
The predecessor - the original Comiskey Park - was a classic ballpark
built in 1910, but it didn't satisfy
Jerry Reinsdorf, the chairman of the board of the Chicago White Sox since
1981. In 1988, he told the city of Chicago to build the team a new
ballpark or the franchise would move to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Like an execution carried out at midnight to avoid a controversy, the
Illinois General Assembly passed a tax on hotels to fund a new
ballpark. They broke ground on the new Comiskey Park on May 7, 1989,
across the street from its predecessor 79 years after the cornerstone had
been laid for the original ballpark.
It was the first new baseball-only
stadium built in the American League since 1973. Initially, reaction
was quite positive, and attendance doubled from an AL low 1,045,651 in
1989 to a franchise record 2,002,357 in 1990 in anticipation of the
move. In 1991, the new Comiskey produced another franchise
single-season attendance record (2,934,154) in its first year. The
Chicago Tribune gave it a generally positive review, and the ball club
Unfortunately, the opening of Camden Yards in 1994 changed all that.
Today, New Comiskey is a joke in the city of Chicago - attendance has
slipped to below 1.4 million in recent years, and the fact that their
ballpark could have been designed like Baltimore's facility eats at
Chicago fans. The symmetrical dimensions of New Comiskey; the clean,
sterile, look; and the fact that fans in the upper deck are 60 feet higher
than they were in the original ballpark, and must always look down on the
action, are constant sources of complaint now. Indeed, Seats in the
front row of the upper deck are farther from home plate than those in the
last row at old Comiskey.
Playing Field: The playing field is made up of bluegrass
sod with eight different blends of grass. The infield consists of dirt
transported from the original park.
Game - April 18, 1991, vs. Detroit
Pitch - Jack
Batter - Tony Phillips
Hit - Alan Trammell
Grand Slam - Mike Gallego
Victory - Frank
Shutout- Frank Tanana
Just like its predecessor, New Comiskey doesn't give up home runs
easily. The corner outfield posts are 347 feet away, the longest
distance in the majors, although they were moved in at the start of the
2001 season to 330 in left and to 335 in right. The new
configuration probably won't change power numbers significantly, since the
power alleys will remain relatively deep.
It takes a good poke to get the ball into the stands, especially in the
cold months of April and May, when the ball doesn't carry well at
all. Still, the ballpark effect has been greatly exaggerated; Frank
Thomas once claimed that he had lost 100 HR to the park. That is
completely impossible if one considers that he had more lifetime homers at
home (146) than on the road (140) when he made the claim, before the 1999
season. Over the last three years, the park has actually boosted
runs and home runs, albeit not significantly.
The park configuration differs from the original Comiskey Park, so that a
towering wall now blocks the wind. In the old park, winds used to
swirl over the left field wall and kill high line drives in that
direction. The new park also has a better hitting background.
The infield is perhaps the best in
baseball - groundskeeper Roger Bossard keeps it impeccably manicured, so
it gives true, clean hops and lowers the error rate significantly.
The shorter distance to the outfield fences will reduce the amount of
territory for corner outfielders to cover next year.
benefits: Pitchers, especially
those who give up fly balls, because they can exploit the long outfield
dimensions to get outs. Veteran pitchers Mike Sirotka and Jim Parque
did extremely well here, holding their home ERAs a half run and a full run
below their road ERAs, respectively. As a team, the White Sox had an
identical 4.66 ERA at home and on the road.
Despite its reputation as a pitcher's haven Power hitters sometimes
struggle to reach the distant seats, though last season it was a hitters
paradise. In fact, the park boasted the highest home run factor for
right-handed hitters. In his comeback season last year, Frank Thomas
(who set career highs in home runs and RBIs) lit up the park - he hit
.347, with 30 HR and 86 RBI at home. On the road, he hit just .309,
with 13 HR and 57 RBI. His home slugging percentage was .753,
compared to a road slugging of .498. Magglio Ordonez also loved it
here, hitting .329-21-65 at home and .302-11-61 on the road.
gets hurt: Hitters
sometimes struggle to reach the distant seats, though last season it was a
hitters paradise. Higher game time temperatures last season combined
with higher recorded velocities for prevailing winds conspired to raise
scoring from the levels seen in the previous three years.
Those with a power stroke - like Thomas, Paul Konerko and Ordonez -
actually do fine; all three have had favorable home-road power splits over
the last few years. The hitters who really suffer are those who have
little pop - for instance, Ray Durham hit just 5 of his 17 HR at home last
Side, Chicago, Illinois: West 36th Street (South); 333 West 35th
Street (North); Dan Ryan Expressway (East); Wentworth Ave. (West).
field: 347 ft.
field: 400 ft.
field: 347 ft.;
error factor in AL in 2000
infield error factor in AL in 2000
RHR factor in AL in 2000
retired uniform numbers of seven players are displayed at Comiskey
Park: Luke Appling, Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, Ted
Lyons, Billy Pierce and Carlton Fisk. Harold Baines was removed from
the display of retired uniform numbers when he came back to play for
the White Sox. A White Sox Hall of Fame is on the stadiumís main
concourse, behind home plate.