"He was frank to the point of cruelty and subtle as a belch."
--Lee Allen, on Rogers Hornsby
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.
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.
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.
The first night
game at Braves Field was played May 11,
courtesy of LCPC
at BRAVES FIELD
Cardinals 1, Braves 3
Bob Emslie, Bill Klem
George Stallings, Braves
Miller Huggins, Cardinals
Dick Rudolph, Braves
Slim Sallee, Cardinals
Washington Manager Clark Griffith
Miller Huggins (strikeout)
Art Butler (single)
Bob Bescher (08/19/1915)
Doc Johnston (08/23/1915)
Red Smith (08/03/1916)
Doc Johnston (08/23/1915)
Owen Wilson (08/19/1915)
Ross Youngs (04/29/1922)
Tom Hughes (08/20/1915)
Hit by Pitch
Tom Hughes hit Cozy Dolan
Red Ames (08/19/1915)
Hank Robinson (08/20/1915)
Tom Hughes (06/16/1916)
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
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