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--Lee Allen, on Rogers Hornsby


Braves Field

By Wikipedia

Braves Field was a baseball park that formerly stood on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. The stadium was home to the Boston Braves from 1915-1952, when the team moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

At a glance...
Facility statistics
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Broke ground 1915
Opened August 18, 1915
Last MLB Game September 21, 1952
Demolished (Now a soccer field)
Replaced South End Grounds III
Owner Braves (1915-1952)
Surface Grass
Construction cost $?
Architect Osborn Engineering
Boston Braves (MLB, 1915-1952)
Boston Red Sox (MLB, 1929-1932, 50 games)
Boston Redskins (NFL, 1932)
Braves Field
The Bee Hive
National League Park
Seating capacity
40,000 (1915), 46,000 (1928), 41,700 (1937),
45,000 (1939), 37,746 (1941), 36.706 (1947),
37,106 (1948)
Dimensions (in feet)
Backstop - 75 (1915); 60 (1936)
Left Field: 402 (1915), 375 (1921), 404 (1922),
403 (1926), 320 (4/21/28), 353.5 (7/24/28),
340 (1930), 353.67 (1931), 359 (1933),
353.67 (1934), 368 (1936), 350 (1940),
337 (1941), 334 (1942), 340 (1943),
337 (1944)
Left-Center: 402.5 (1915), 396 (1916),
402.42 (1921), 404 (1922), 402.5 (1926),
330 (4/21/28), 359 (7/24/28), 365 (1942),
355 (1943)
Center Field: 440 (1915), 387 (4/21/28),
417 (7/24/28), 387.2 (1929), 394.5 (1930),
387.25 (1931), 417 (1933), 426 (1936),
407 (1937), 408 (1939), 385 (1940),
401 (1941), 375 (1942), 370 (1943),
390 (1944), 380 (1945), 370 (1946)
Right-Center: 402 (1915), 362 (1942), 355 (1943)
Right Field: 402 (1915), 375 (1916), 365 (1921),
364 (1928), 297.75 (1929), 297.92 (1931),
364 (1933), 297 (1936), 376 (1937),
378 (1938), 350 (1940), 340 (4/43),
320 (7/43), 340 (4/44), 320 (5/44),
340 (4/46), 320 (5/46), 318 (1947),
320 (1948), 319 (1948);

The stadium was also known as The Bee Hive (or National League Park, formally) from 1936-1941, a period during which the owners changed the nickname of the team to the Boston Bees (the renaming of the team and stadium never took hold with the public, and were both eventually dropped.) It was also the home of a National Football League franchise which began in 1932 and also called itself the Boston Braves for one year. The next year, the team changed its name to the Redskins and moved to Fenway Park. In 1937 the team transferred south to become the Washington Redskins.

The owner of the team at the time the stadium was built, James Gaffney, wanted to see the game played in a wide open field conducive to allowing numerous inside-the-park home runs. Thus, the stadium was built in what was, at the time, the outskirts of Boston, in a large plot, which used to be the site of the Allston Golf Club course. The stands were almost entirely in foul territory, leaving little in the outfield to which players could hit a home run into - with the fences over 400 feet away down the lines and nearly 500 feet to dead center, hitting the ball over the outer fences was all but impossible. A stiff breeze coming in from center field across the Charles River further lessened any chances of seeing home runs fly out of the park. The only possible target in the outfield was a small bleacher section, which came to be known as The Jury Box after a sportswriter noticed during one slow mid-week game that there were only twelve individuals sitting in the 2,000-seat stand.

Fly to the site of Braves Field!
If you have Google Earth installed, click here to be "flown" to the site of Braves Field. Of course the stadium is now Boston University's soccer field, but you can see the old neighborhood. (If you do not have it installed, get it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)

In fact, it would take 10 years, and a livelier ball, before a batter hit a home run that cleared the outer wall on the fly. Meanwhile, it remained a pitchers' park, perhaps never more so than on May 1, 1920, when Brooklyn Robins pitcher Leon Cadore and Braves pitcher Joe Oeschger locked horns for a pair of complete-game performances that went on for a still-record 26 innings. After all that work, the game ended in a 1-1 tie, called on account of darkness.

At the advent of the lively ball era, it became clear that the fans were unhappy with Gaffney's vision of how baseball should be played, and inner fences were built, and regularly moved, being moved in and out based on the whims. The ownership of the team even went so far as to shift the entire field in a clockwise direction (towards right field) at one point.

Braves Field!

The first night game at Braves Field was played May 11, 1946.

Postcard courtesy of LCPC

08/18/1915 Cardinals 1, Braves 3
Umpires Bob Emslie, Bill Klem
Managers George Stallings, Braves
  Miller Huggins, Cardinals
Starting Pitchers Dick Rudolph, Braves
  Slim Sallee, Cardinals
Ceremonial Pitch Washington Manager Clark Griffith
Attendance 32,000
Batter Miller Huggins (strikeout)
Hit Art Butler (single)
Run Sherry Magee
RBI Rabbit Maranville
Single Art Butler
Double Tommy Long
Triple Bob Bescher (08/19/1915)
Home Run Doc Johnston (08/23/1915)
Grand Slam Red Smith (08/03/1916)
IPHR Doc Johnston (08/23/1915)
Stolen Base Red Smith
Sacrifice Hit Butch Schmidt
Sacrifice Fly Owen Wilson (08/19/1915)
Cycle Ross Youngs (04/29/1922)
Win Dick Rudolph
Loss Slim Sallee
Shutout Tom Hughes (08/20/1915)
Save N/A
Hit by Pitch Tom Hughes hit Cozy Dolan (08/20/1915)
Wild Pitch Red Ames (08/19/1915)
Balk Hank Robinson (08/20/1915)
No-Hitter Tom Hughes (06/16/1916)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

Although the capacity never officially exceeded 46,000, over 59,000 crowded together to watch the Giants play the Braves on September 1, 1933. The smallest crowd was 95 on July 28, 1935 vs. the Dodgers.

After the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1952, the stadium was sold to Boston University, which eventually reconfigured the stands, demolishing all but the pavilion grandstand along the right field line, which was retained as the core of a football, soccer and field hockey stadium named Nickerson Field. It still stands, along with part of Gaffney's original outer wall, and the ticket office which was converted to the university police station. The rest of the stadium was demolished and replaced by dormitories.

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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Postcard courtesy of LCPC

Year by Year statistics: for Braves Field

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

With the exception of the Wikipedia article above, everything else is...

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