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Capacity: 46,321 (2001); 44,321 (1991 to 2000)
New Comiskey Park

Area of fair territory: 110,000 sq. ft.

Area of foul territory: Average

 

Fences: 8 ft.

Elevation: 595 feet

 

TICKETING
Lower deck box $22
Lower deck reserved $17
Upper deck box $15
Bleachers $14

General Information

Address:
333 W. 35th St.
Chicago, Ill. 60616

Who Plays Here: Chicago White Sox (AL)
Opened: April 18, 1991
Construction began: May 7, 1989
Surface: Bluegrass
Capacity: 44,321

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

 

History

     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 seemed happy.

     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.

Comiskey Park Firsts
Game - April 18, 1991, vs. Detroit
Pitch - Jack McDowell
Batter - Tony Phillips
Hit - Alan Trammell
Home run- Cecil Fielder
Grand Slam - Mike Gallego
Victory - Frank Tanana
Shutout- Frank Tanana

 

Analysis

 

     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.

 

Defense: 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.

 

 

1998-2000

2000

Error Index: 83 73
Infield-error Index: 84 78

 

Who 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.

 

Who 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 season.

 

 

Park Factors

 

  Run HR Avg L-Avg R-Avg L-HR R-HR H 2B 3B
1992 89 99 95 97 94 117 90 93 77 79
1993 98 115 101 99 104 111 116 100 85 96
1994 90 95 98 87 108 74 106 96 97 78
1995 93 76 98 95 100 58 89 93 92 195
1996 83 85 95 92 98 73 94 92 75 76
1997 91 81 96 96 96 59 99 94 106 163
1998 100 98 102 103 102 114 90 99 109 106
1999 95 100 98 91 104 89 108 98 89 78
2000 110 130 101 103 100 100 151 99 100 117

 

 

1998-2000

2000

Walks: 101 103
Strikeouts: 96 102

 

 

 

 

Location

 

South Side, Chicago, Illinois: West 36th Street (South); 333 West 35th Street (North); Dan Ryan Expressway (East); Wentworth Ave. (West).


Seating Chart

 

Comiskey Park seating diagram

 

Dimensions

 

Left field: 347 ft.

Left-center: 375 ft.

Center field: 400 ft.

Right-center: 375 ft.

Right field: 347 ft.; 

Backstop: 60 ft.

 

 

 

Fun Facts

  • Lowest error factor in AL in 2000

  • Lowest infield error factor in AL in 2000

  • Highest RHR factor in AL in 2000

 

  • The 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.

 

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