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Friday, October 18, 2013

Baseball Fever: Sketches of MLB stadiums from 1946-47 Sporting News

Gene Mack from the Boston Globe did a series of all the parks, reprinted in the Sporting News in 1946 and 1947

Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 18, 2013 at 09:01 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, braves, browns, cubs, dodgers, giants, history, indians, old school, pirates, red sox, reds, senators, stadiums, tigers, white sox, yankees

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   1. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: October 18, 2013 at 11:38 PM (#4577755)
these are all sorts of awesome, you must check them out.
   2. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 18, 2013 at 11:46 PM (#4577773)
indeed. love this.
   3. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: October 18, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4577775)
"Symmetrical Comiskey Park . . . Where the Foul Lines . . . Come Out Even!" What a radical notion that must have been at the time.

I miss the old square fields, where the center field fence came to a sharp point about 500 feet from the plate.

   4. Steve Treder Posted: October 19, 2013 at 12:31 AM (#4577790)
Bliss!

Most of these were reprinted by TSN in a book I bought in (I seem to think) early 1980s ... Take Me Out to the Ballpark, I think it was.

Bliss.
   5. jdennis Posted: October 19, 2013 at 12:32 AM (#4577791)
New stadiums are way cooler in the away from field area but the old ones had much more character when it came to the actual field area/wall configuration. If I were an owner, I would totally do notches and high walls and low bleachers and junk.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4577795)
That was time very well spent. Besides how great looking at the configurations were, the anecdotes offer a delightful trip through baseball history.

   7. pthomas Posted: October 19, 2013 at 03:11 AM (#4577800)
#4: Yes, it is called Take Me Out To The Ball Park, copyright 1983. The book includes the Gene Mack drawings. Amadee Wohlschlaeger, the sports cartoonist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Sporting News, drew the other 25 or so other ballparks that were around in 1983. There are also many photos from the Sporting News archive.
   8. dejarouehg Posted: October 19, 2013 at 03:41 AM (#4577802)
The reference to the Ruth-less CF monuments at Yankee Stadium (Ruppert/Huggins/Gehrig) caught my eye.

Great stuff.
   9. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 19, 2013 at 03:45 AM (#4577803)
I had that book, too. Great lore, like MIN's Earl Battey spraining his neck on a Dodger Stadium railing in the '65 WS.
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2013 at 06:36 AM (#4577814)
Terrific link to one of my favorite Sporting News features ever. They were first reprinted as an oversized paperback book in 1947 and 1950, and at some point in the 80's TSN sold beautiful matted copies of the individual prints. Unfortunately, that was just about the last time that TSN ever paid any attention to its archives for any purpose other than dumping them off at various memorabilia auctions. I made posters out of all 14 parks for myself about 10 years ago, but other than Griffith Stadium I never sold any of them in my book shop.

The best thing about these cartoons is their attention to the details of the park configurations as they were in 1946-47. For instance, take a look at left field in Forbes Field (the 3rd from the bottom), where a "New fence erected for Hank Greenberg" removes 30 ft. of distance and a whole lot of height from the high scoreboard wall that Bill Mazeroski had to clear in 1960. You can also see how close the upper deck seats in all the parks were to the field, compared to the cantilevered upper decks of today.
   11. Dan Evensen Posted: October 19, 2013 at 07:32 AM (#4577818)
I own "Take Me Out To The Ballpark" as well, though I'm pretty sure it's a 1987 reprint. It's got the same sketches, though updated, and I think the book omitted a few ballparks.

I would absolutely love to find a copy of either the 1947 or 1950 oversized paperback, naturally. It would be cool to have posters or framed prints as well, but I think my wife would start complaining of too much baseball in the house.

I say this on every TSN thread, but, honestly, it's amazing that the company went downhill the way it did. Unfortunately, only fanatic baseball historians these days even know that this sort of thing once existed.
   12. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2013 at 09:05 AM (#4577834)
I would absolutely love to find a copy of either the 1947 or 1950 oversized paperback, naturally. It would be cool to have posters or framed prints as well, but I think my wife would start complaining of too much baseball in the house.

The title of the paperback is Hall of Fame Cartoons of Major League Ball Parks. The image on the Amazon link is for the 1950 edition, though neither version seems to be currently available on either Amazon or abebooks. When they do show up, they usually run anywhere between about $30 and $85, depending on the dealer and the condition.

As a consolation prize, though, you might want to get Willard Mullin's Golden Age Of Baseball Drawings 1934-1972 which just came out in August and is the first book on Mullin since his own memoir A Hand In Sport was published in 1958. Both of them are well worth the price.
   13. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: October 19, 2013 at 09:30 AM (#4577840)
So, if you look at the Comiskey Park sketch, there's a note near home plate that reads "plate moved forward 14 feet for Simmons in '34." Anyone get that reference? I assume they're referring to Al Simmons but what's the story?
   14. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: October 19, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4577841)
I recall seeing some of these when I was a kid. Did Baseball Digest reprint these from time to time? That's the only place I can think of where I would have seen them.
   15. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 19, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4577844)
GGC - I came to post roughly the same thing. Baseball Digest had these every week and I used to devour them.
   16. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: October 19, 2013 at 09:48 AM (#4577846)
BTW, the link is awesomesauce. It is like a an idiosyncratic history of baseball in the first half of the 20th Century in graphic novelette form. A lot of Ted Williams home runs, which makes sense. The artist is a Boston guy.
   17. salvomania Posted: October 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4577876)
Looks like Jimmy Foxx hit a lot of really long home runs in these parks...
   18. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 19, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4577921)
It's interesting (to me, anyway) that they chose League Park for the Indians with only an inset of Municipal Stadium. They played most of their games at Municipal in 46 and moved there full-time in 47.
   19. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 19, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4577925)
One thing I've never seen before, anywhere: The "unusual 2nd base cutout" at Shibe Park. But it apparently really was there.
   20. KJOK Posted: October 19, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4577939)
So, if you look at the Comiskey Park sketch, there's a note near home plate that reads "plate moved forward 14 feet for Simmons in '34." Anyone get that reference? I assume they're referring to Al Simmons but what's the story?

The White Sox purchased Simmons from the cash-strapped A's for 1933 and Simmons dropped from 35 HRs to 14 HRs. So they felt the change in parks had really hurt Simmons, and they moved the plate forward. But Simmons was 32 years old and in decline, and hit only 18 and then 16 HRs even with the plate move. The White Sox then sold Simmons to the Tigers for 1936 and in 1937 they moved home plate back (but not all the way back to it's original spot apparently).

   21. Morty Causa Posted: October 19, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4577954)
One of my favorite coffee table type baseball books is the Green Cathedral one. This is a nice complement--kind of a storyboard with comments to the other.
   22. OsunaSakata Posted: October 19, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4577959)
   23. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: October 19, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4577963)
Thank you. I was wondering what Mack meant by that.
   24. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: October 19, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4577965)
Most of these were reprinted by TSN in a book I bought in (I seem to think) early 1980s ... Take Me Out to the Ballpark, I think it was.


Yep. I have the book.

Bliss.


Indeed.
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4577972)
What I can't figure out is how Fenway Park went from this (1946) to this (today), adding an upper deck without the seating capacity increasing by more than 2,000.
   26. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 19, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4577989)
There are some stories in the sketches that are, obviously, famous enough to include, but obscure enough that I've never heard them at all:

Mel Ott hit a home run to give the Giants the 1933 WS, apparently into temporary RF bleachers installed at Griffith. I've never seen anything about the homer deflecting off outfielder Schulte's bare hand, though. The drawing makes it resemble Hunter's almost-catch of Ortiz's grand slam.

Polo Grounds: "Where Zim chased Collins over plate (1917 Series)"?

Crosley: "Bartell held ball while F. McCormick scored"?

I generally know who he's talking about, but that big moment when Heinie chased Cocky home? No idea.
   27. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 19, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4577991)
Also, what's the deal with that Shibe Park "cutout" at second base?
   28. Steve Treder Posted: October 19, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4577995)
Polo Grounds: "Where Zim chased Collins over plate (1917 Series)"?

There was a play in that series where the Giants should have had Eddie Collins caught in a rundown between third and home, but no one was covering the plate, so Collins ran in to score with third baseman Heinie Zimmerman, not nearly as fast a runner, chasing him in vain all the way down the line.

Zimmerman was roundly hooted for committing a bonehead play, but Zimmerman always maintained, "Who the hell was I supposed to throw the ball to, the umpire?"
   29. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 19, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4578003)
Crosley: "Bartell held ball while F. McCormick scored"?


This happened in Game 7 of the 1940 World Series. Dan Holmes has a nice description of the play here.

-- MWE
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4578008)
There are some stories in the sketches that are, obviously, famous enough to include, but obscure enough that I've never heard them at all:

Mel Ott hit a home run to give the Giants the 1933 WS, apparently into temporary RF bleachers installed at Griffith. I've never seen anything about the homer deflecting off outfielder Schulte's bare hand, though. The drawing makes it resemble Hunter's almost-catch of Ortiz's grand slam.


Mack embellished the play by making it seem like a barehanded attempt. According to Shirley Povich's account of the play in his history of the Senators, Schulte got his glove on the ball, but after at first being called a ground rule double by the second base umpire, the decision was overturned and Ott got a home run.

Polo Grounds: "Where Zim chased Collins over plate (1917 Series)"?

In the final game of the 1917 World Series, Eddie Collins got caught in a rundown between third and home, but both the pitcher (Rube Benton) and the catcher (Bill Rariden) failed to cover home plate, leaving Heinie Zimmerman no other choice but to try to catch Collins from behind, which he couldn't. Zimmerman wound up taking the rap for a play that was totally not his fault.

Of course the only reason that Collins was on base to begin with was because he got there on a throwing error by Zimmerman, so there's a rough sort of poetic justice in blaming him for the Keystone Kops rundown.

Crosley: "Bartell held ball while F. McCormick scored"?

Dick Bartell of the Tigers pulled a "Pesky" in the 7th game of the 1940 World Series against the Reds, when he held a relay throw from the outfield with his back to the plate, while Frank McCormick scored the tying run in a game that ended with the Reds winning 2 to 1. Bartell hadn't realized that McCormick had held up between second and third while waiting to see if Jimmy Ripple's fly ball carried over the leftfielder's reach.

EDIT: cokes to Steve and Mike / Dan Holmes.

   31. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 19, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4578011)
Yeah, I looked it up not realizing The Greatest Website In the World would have PBP info for WS games going that far back.
Sounds like a cluster#### of an inning for the Giants - first two batters reach on error, so now it's first and third and nobody out. Batter hits one back to the pitcher, who checks the runner at third (Collins), catches him leaning, and fires to Zimmerman, who chases Collins across home plate.
My question is, Where the hell was the catcher, while all this was going on? Was it several throws, and somebody fell down? Or what?
   32. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 19, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4578016)
unable to EDIT: semi-Cokes all round? Or, gin. Whichever.
   33. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2013 at 05:17 PM (#4578021)
My question is, Where the hell was the catcher, while all this was going on? Was it several throws, and somebody fell down? Or what?

According to the New York Times' incredibly detailed account of the play**, Rariden was actually waiting between Collins and home to get the return throw from Zimmerman, But instead of throwing, Zimmerman just kept chasing Collins at full speed while Rariden got out of the basepaths to avoid being called for interference.

Furthermore, according to this account, Zimmerman was running so fast that he overran the plate by 20 feet, which enabled both Joe Jackson and Chick Gandil*** to move up an extra base, "before Zim realized that it was a World Series baseball game he was mixed up in and not a game of tag."

The counterpoint that wasn't raised by the writer is that Benton might have positioned himself in the basepath at a point where Zimmerman was unable to throw around Collins without hitting Collins with the throw. Perhaps other accounts of the game might deal with this issue.

**Paywall likely required

***It was really Jackson and Happy Felsch, though the writer said Gandil. In fact, Gandil then followed up this play with a hit that scored both Jackson and Felsch, with what would prove to be the decisive runs.
   34. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 19, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4578026)
Perhaps other accounts of the game might deal with this issue.

What we need is for Someone to produce a version of "The Unforgettable Season" (1908) for every season before and after.
Get on it, Someone!
   35. AndrewJ Posted: October 19, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4578057)
What we need is for Someone to produce a version of "The Unforgettable Season" (1908) for every season before and after.
Get on it, Someone!


Your mouth to God's ear.

(Incidentally, the SABR Deadball commitee is currently working on a newspaper clipping book, modelled on G.H. Fleming's works, about the 1903-19 World Series. I'm editing a chapter myself.)
   36. just plain joe Posted: October 19, 2013 at 07:02 PM (#4578058)
What I can't figure out is how Fenway Park went from this (1946) to this (today), adding an upper deck without the seating capacity increasing by more than 2,000.


Perhaps they put in wider seats. That would make sense as the average person now is somewhat bigger than one from a century ago.

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