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Capacity:  21,414
League Park

Aerial view of League Park

Picture from www.ballparks.com

 

General Information

Area of fair territory: 117,000 sq. ft. (1910 - 1919)

                               103,000 sq. ft. (1921 - 1929)

 

Area of foul territory: Average

 

Fences: LF - 5 ft

            LCF - 10 ft

            CF to RF - 45 ft

Elevation: 660 feet

Who Played Here: Cleveland Indians (AL)
First Opened: May 1, 1891
Reopened: April 21, 1910
First night game: Never
Last game: September 21, 1946
Demolished: 1951
Capacity: 9,000 (1891); 21,414 (1910)

Architect: Osborn Engineering (1910)
Owner: Cleveland Indians


History

     The first version of League Park was built in 1891, and was used by the Cleveland Spiders of the National League and then the Cleveland Indians of the American League.  The field was terrible, the park was unattractive, and the Indians eventually built a new ballpark in 1910 for their franchise.  Converted to baseball's fourth concrete-and-steel park in 1910, Cleveland's League Park never had lights, and never had a night game.  This was the scene of Bill Wamgass' unassisted triple play in the 1920 World Series, and of Joltin' Joe DiMaggio's 56th consecutive game in which he recorded a hit on July 16.  Only 15,000 fans showed up at League Park to see Dago extend his record, with a first-inning single off Cleveland starter Al Milnar.  The following day, Indians' Al Smith, Jim Bagby and All-Star third baseman Ken Keltner's sparkling defense held "Joltin' Joe" hitless for the first time in two months.

 

     The ballpark was located at the eastern end of the city at the corner of East 66th Street and Lexington Avenue.  The site had been selected by Cleveland owner F.D. Robinson - the Payne and Wade streetcars passed close by the building, and Robinson - who also owned the streetcar company - delighted in seeing patrons dropped off by one of his enterprises saunter into another of his businesses.

     The park was built in one of the poshest neighborhoods in the city of Cleveland - indeed, many millionaires, including John D. Rockefeller, put their homes on nearby Euclid Avenue, the main road heading east from Cleveland.  Before interstate highways cam along, that was the road you would have taken to get from Cleveland to places like Buffalo and Boston.  For over one hundred years, the area east of Cleveland that Euclid Avenue passed through was one of the most prosperous neighborhoods in America.  Through most of the 20th century, the finest office buildings, department stores and playhouses lined the street.

 

     The practice of color-coding tickets began here in 1914 - box seats were $1.25, reserve seats sold for a dollar, and general admission was seventy five cents.  For fifty cents, fans could gain access to the pavilion, the double-decked grandstand extensions that had been added to the original grandstand and the foul poles.  A season ticket for an eight-seat box cost $100.

 

Analysis


     The park had an odd shape, almost as if right field didn't exist - that was the result of a saloon and two homes refusing to sell their property.  The left field was gargantuan - it was 375 to the left field foul pole, almost 415 to the power alley in left center, and as deep as 505 feet to the left edge of center field.  The right field was tiny - just 290 feet to the foul pole and a very manageable poke to right-center.  In sellouts, overflow crowds could stand in right field as close as 240 feet from home plate.

     In 1920, a 45-foot wall was placed in right to contain home runs, and the distances to left and center were shortened considerably.  For the most part, the prevailing winds carried the ball well to left, though even with strong gusts of wind it was hard to knock the ball clean out.  As it turned out, a home run to right was no picnic either because of the wall - the park cut down home runs for both left-handed and right-handed hitters.  Balls hitting 25-foot-high screen above the 45-foot-high right field wall were still in play, so plenty of lazy fly balls turned into singles and extra base hits.

 

 

Park Factors

 

 

Runs

HR

1910 105 47
1911 104 119
1912 102 63
1913 113 59
1914 108 50
1915 109 71
1916 100 68
1917 127 76
1918 120 43
1919 112 60
1920 103 81
1921 95 42
1922 109 52
1923 104 64
1924 95 61
1925 117 85
1926 93 60
1927 94 49
1928 116 41
1929 99 69

 

Location

Cleveland, Ohio: Intersection of East 66th Street and Lexington Avenue 3 miles east of City Hall. 1st base (W) E 66th St.; 3rd base (N) Linwood Ave.; left field (E) E 70th St.; right Field (S) Lexington Ave.

 

Dimensions

Left field: 385 (1910), 376 (1920), 374 (1930), 373 (1934), 374 (1938), 375 (1942)

Left-center: 415 (1942)

Deepest corner, just left of center field: 505 (1910), 450 (1920), 467 (1930), 465 (1938), 460 (1939)

Center field: 420 ft

Right field: 290 (1921), 240 (when roped off for overflow crowds)

 

Backstop: 76 (1910), 60 (1942).

 

Fences - History

Left field: 5 ft (concrete)

Left-center: 10 ft (7 screen above 3 concrete)

Center field scoreboard: 35 ft

Right-center clock: 20 ft (left and right sides), 22 (center of clock)

Right-center field, parts not covered by chicken wire screen: 45 ft (20 concrete topped by 25 steel chicken wire screen supports, 1920)

Right field, parts covered by chicken wire screen: 45 (20 concrete topped by 25 chicken wire screen, 1920).

 

Fun Facts

  • Cy Young won the first game played in League Park on May 1, 1891 - a 12-3 win over the Reds, before 9,500 fans.
  • From 1932 to 1946, the Indians played their day games here and their night games and important weekday at Municipal Stadium, which had a higher capacity.
  • Renovated for the 1910 season.  The wooden grandstand was replaced with steel and concrete and double decked.
  • Seats were added for the 1920 World Series which cut the center field distance from 460 feet to 420 feet.
  • Called Dunn Field from 1916 to 1927 after then owner Sunny Jim Dunn.
  • Indians second baseman Bill Wambsganss made the only unassisted triple play in World Series history here on October 10, 1920 in game 5 against the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers). In the same game Elmer Smith hit the first grand-slam and Kim Bagby became the first pitcher to hit a home run in World Series history.
  • Joe DiMaggio set a record by hitting safely in his 56th consecutive game here on July 16, 1941.
  • Used only for the Indians weekday and Saturday day games from 1934 to 1946.
  • Owner Bill Veeck moved all of the Indians home games to Cleveland (Municipal) Stadium in 1947.
  • A park now occupies the site and a portion of the outfield stands still exists.
  • The two-story ticket booth built during the 1909-10 renovation is still standing and serves as a recreation center.

     

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