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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Old Bush Stadium (the one in Indy) now a Clunker Junkyard

Hundreds of vehicles destined for the scrap heap are filling what once was the outfield of the former minor league baseball stadium in Indianapolis.

A salvage company is leasing the Bush Stadium field from the city parks department to store vehicles it collected in the federal Cash for Clunkers program.

Parks department real estate manager Paul Smith told The Star’s news-gathering partner, WTHR (Channel 13), that about 300 cars, trucks and minivans are packed tightly on the field by the company, which is paying the city $2,000 a month.

Bush Stadium opened in 1931 and has gone largely unused since the Indianapolis Indians moved in 1996 to the downtown Victory Field.

Smith says the city has been waiting for ideas for the decaying stadium’s future, but welcomes the revenue in the meantime.

Did Tiger Stadium consider this?

Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 11, 2009 at 07:52 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   1. Tiboreau Posted: November 11, 2009 at 10:04 PM (#3385477)
On May 25, 1935, Babe Ruth became the 1st person to ever hit a home run completely out of Forbes Field, clearing the 86 ft. right field grandstand wall. It was the final HR of his MLB career. Only five other ballplayers were able to replicate the Sultan of Swat's prodigious feat in the 62 year history of Forbes. Can you name those 5 ballplayers?

Hint: 4 of them are Hall of Famers, the other is the reason for the trivia question's location in this thread. . . .
   2. OCF Posted: November 11, 2009 at 10:17 PM (#3385498)
I tried out the idea that someone named "Bush" was involved. But Guy Bush and Joe Bush were pitchers and Donie Bush was a tiny little guy who couldn't hit the ball out of anywhere, and the other major league players named "Bush" played after Forbes Field was demolished. So not a major leaguer named "Bush." (A Negro Leaguer, maybe?)
   3. Tiboreau Posted: November 11, 2009 at 10:36 PM (#3385541)
I though someone might misinterpret it along that angle, sorry . . . the fifth player was a star of the Indianapolis Indians during their stay in Bush Stadium.
   4. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 11, 2009 at 10:49 PM (#3385560)
   5. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 11, 2009 at 10:52 PM (#3385567)
Ruth, Mantle, Stargell... did Josh Gibson ever play with the Indians? I'd guess him.
I know Hank Aaron played with Indianapolis in the NeLs, but I think they were the "Clowns" then, and anyway Hank wasn't really a distance guy, was he?
   6. Tiboreau Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:08 PM (#3385592)
Killebrew, while in the right neighborhood ('50s - '70s era slugger), is incorrect--as a AL ballplayer I don't know that he ever had the chance to play a game at Forbes Field.

Yes, Ruth was the first to achieve the feat, as mentioned in the first post. Both Mantle (the only other ALer) & Stargell are correct; I don't believe that Gibson ever did it (although this info is based on a BR Bullpen entry on the aforementioned Indy Indians star, so I guess take it with a grain of salt), and Hank Aaron isn't it either.

Along with Mantle & Stargell the other two HoFers to achieve the feat include:

A 1B of the same era [as Stargell] who was known by the same first name
And a slugger considered among the top 3 at his position, yet appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot 5 times before election

And another hint involving the Indianapolis Indians star: he would later recieve two cups o' coffee with the Chicago White Sox in the late '50s in addition to his 5 partial seasons with the Pirates.
   7. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:12 PM (#3385596)
A 1B of the same era [as Stargell] who was known by the same first name


And a slugger considered among the top 3 at his position, yet appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot 5 times before election

   8. Tiboreau Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:16 PM (#3385602)
Yeah, McCovey (I'm not all that great at giving hints, obviously . . . ).
   9. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:18 PM (#3385604)
   10. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:20 PM (#3385605)
And I think I've figured out the NeLer, whose name I've seen before, but (not to give it away) who I always confuse with a roughly-contemporary Indians knuckleballer.

EDIT: clarity.
   11. Tiboreau Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:22 PM (#3385607)
Yes, Mathews is the fourth HoFer that I'm looking for. Can anyone figure out the minor league star?
   12. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:24 PM (#3385609)
Rocky Nelson?
   13. Tiboreau Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:26 PM (#3385614)
It is not a Negro Leaguer, but a minor league star of the American Association's Indianapolis Indians (sorry about that), where he spent part of 13 seasons in the '40s & '50s as well as a managerial stint with the club in 1960.
   14. Tiboreau Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:32 PM (#3385627)
Rocky Nelson?

Ooh my, now there's a dude who could mash it, and was built for the Montreal Royals home park! But, no, he never played for Indianapolis.

The final answer I'm looking for did play in pretty much the same exact era--both began their professional careers in '42 before spending the next 3 years in the war, and Nelson's career ended in in '62 while the player in question ended his professional career in 1960.
   15. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 11, 2009 at 11:32 PM (#3385628)
After Victory Field was constructed, it was used as, what else in Indianapolis, a speedway. I didn't realize they weren't running races out there any longer, but I've been gone from Central INdiana for awhile.

Many of the scenes from Eight Men Out were filmed at Bush. I did enjoy going to games at the old dump, though after Victory Field was built, it was hard to remain nostalgic for it.
   16. Traderdave Posted: November 12, 2009 at 12:03 AM (#3385660)

Well it wasn't the Taj Mahal but the place had real character. I vastly preferred its gritty, throwback authenticity & county fair/carnival atmosphere.
   17. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 12, 2009 at 12:03 AM (#3385661)
Ted Beard.
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 12, 2009 at 12:12 AM (#3385668)
Well it wasn't the Taj Mahal but the place had real character. I vastly preferred its gritty, throwback authenticity & county fair/carnival atmosphere.

I really liked the place and didn't want to see the Tribe leave it, but by the end of the run it was still pretty much a dump.
   19. Steve Treder Posted: November 12, 2009 at 12:17 AM (#3385674)
Ted Beard, gotta be.
   20. Tiboreau Posted: November 12, 2009 at 01:06 AM (#3385718)
Yes, you're right, the 2nd ballplayer to ever hit a HR completely out of Forbes Field, is outfielder Ted Beard.

That's right, 5'8", 165 lb. Ted Beard, a man whose MLB career consisted of a mere 194 games during 7 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates & Chicago White Sox. A man whose MLB career statistics include a .198 batting average and all of 6 HR.

The BR Bullpen contains a nice bio on Ted Beard, but I thought I'd give a provide a bit here, including some additional details as well.

As mentioned, Beard's professional career began in '42, at the age of 21. He would spend the next three years in the Pacific theater as a medic with the army, as stated in his bio; however, he was also, like most professional ballplayers in the service, able to spend time playing baseball. From an interview of former San Francisco Seals:

In Hawaii I played against Joe DiMaggio. In the outfield they didn't have any fences and DiMaggio hit three balls so far back and I went back and caught all three of'em. [Laughs] The guys told me after the game, "DiMaggio's so mad he won't even talk to anybody." [Laughs] He really clobbered those balls.

After returning to professional baseball in '46, Beard would join the Indianapolis Indians as a rookie of the American Association in '48, and created an immediate impact as a crucial member of the 100 win AA champs, leading the league in triples, runs, walks, & outfield assists:

year g  pa  ab h 2b 3b hr  tb r rbi  bb  k sb  avgobpslghp tob
1948 142 648 511 154 31 17  7 240 131  85 128 97 13 .301 .449 .470 
9 291 

The Pirates fulfilled their promise, waiting to call-up team MVP Beard until after the Indians clinched the pennant, and on Sept. 5, 1948 he made his MLB debut, hitting two triples and making "several spectacular catches in center field." After another solid season with Indianapolis in '49 (.277/.452/.427 in 562 PA), Branch Rickey would looked to Ted Beard as his starting center fielder & leadoff man in 1950. At age 29, this was Beard's last chance at establishing a MLB career, however, contact issues and later a broken wrist would mar his longest MLB season, and despite his speed, defensive reputation & surprising power would never again receive more than 97 PA at the MLB level.

After another star quality season with the Indians in '51 (.273/.424/.422 in 500 PA), the Pirates sent Beard across the country to the Hollywood Stars, where the outfielder would contribute to two pennant winning seasons in '52 & '53:

year g  pa  ab h 2b 3b hr  tb  r rbi bb  k sb  avgobpslghp tob ops+
1952 127 469 390 105 17  8 11 171 75  53 75 75 24 .269 .392 .438 4 184 137
1953 134 470 402 115 19 13 17 211 91  60 64 77 21 .286 .389 .525 
4 183 149 

He would also participate in three major events of PCL's 1953 season:


Ted Beard, Hollywood outfielder, established one Pacific Coast League record and tied another with a pair of sensational hitting sprees during the first month of the 1953 campaign. On April 4 at San Diego, he smashed four consecutive home runs, and then later in the month he put together a string of 12 successive safeties. The four round-trippers in a row constituted a loop mark for consecutive homers in a game, but fell one short of the record five circuit clouts in a game by Vernon's Pete Schneider in 1923. Every one of Beard's homers cleared the 375-foot mark in right-center field at San Diego's Lane Field. He connected with none aboard against Theolic Smith in the first inning and tagged him for a three-run blast in the third. Beard opened the fifth with another homer off Bill Thomason and duplicated in the seventh. Lefty Bob Schulte was on the mound when the Hollywood slugger came to bat for the fifth time, in the ninth inning, and fanned Beard. Ted's four homers accounted for all six All-Star runs in a 6 to 5 victory. Beard began his other streak on April 24, racking up 12 hits in a row to tie the record set by Mickey Heath of Hollywood in 1930. Beard's skein, which included three consecutive home runs on April 25-26, came to an end on May 1 when he flied out on his first time at bat.

What was the third major event of the 1953 PCL that involved Ted Beard? Why, it was the biggest brawl in PCL history!

After the 1953 season, the Stars sold Ted Beard to the San Francisco Seals, where he had what may have been his best season in the PCL, playing in pitcher-friendly Seals Stadium:

year g  pa  ab h 2b 3b hr  tb r rbi bb  k sb  avgobpslghp tob
1953 160 668 563 169 35  5 11 247 104  62 99 97 30 .300 .404 .439 
2 270 

But a mediocre '54 led to his dismissal from the Seals, ending Beard's 4 year PCL career. The Indianapolis Indians couldn't turn down employing an old fan favorite, and in '56 he showed a continued ability to hit with a .270/.426/.432 slash line in 333 PA. But it was his 1957 season that grabbed everyone's attention in baseball, and would lead to Beard's MLB return at age 36:

year  g  pa  ab h 2b 3b hr  tb  r rbi bb  k sb  avgobpslghp tob
1957 96 423 349 121 20 12 10 195 91  50 68 42  3 .347 .461 .559 
3 195 

   21. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 12, 2009 at 01:22 AM (#3385735)
In Hawaii I played against Joe DiMaggio. In the outfield they didn't have any fences and DiMaggio hit three balls so far back and I went back and caught all three of'em. [Laughs] The guys told me after the game, "DiMaggio's so mad he won't even talk to anybody." [Laughs] He really clobbered those balls.

Oddly, this story does not appear in the Richard Ben Cramer book (which does talk about DiMaggio being a moody ####### during his wartime service in Hawaii).
   22. Bob Tufts Posted: November 12, 2009 at 01:31 AM (#3385743)
and don't forget that Bush Stadium was used for most of the scenes from the movie "Eight Men Out"
   23. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 12, 2009 at 01:49 AM (#3385752)
They also shot the scenes of Abe Rothstein 'watching' the World Series in the smokey room with the guy announcing the play by play from the telegraph at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Indy, where I had my wedding reception.
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 12, 2009 at 02:10 AM (#3385765)
Ted Beard's first name was Cramer. I don't know how I know that.
   25. Tiboreau Posted: November 12, 2009 at 02:16 AM (#3385770)
In an interview cited in Al Pepper's Mendoza's Heroes (a book containing biographies on the 50 greatest ballplayers to hit below the Mendoza line), Beard cited his Forbes Field HR as the greatest event of his baseball career:

Ted teed his shot against the Boston Braves--off a fastball delivered by Bob Hall. "The first time up," recalled Beard, "I lined out to the second baseman [Roy Hartsfield]. The next time up, I lined out to right field [Willard Marshall]. The third time I got it in the air and hit it over the roof." Beard's bomb was no odd occurrence. Though primarily a line drive hitter, Beard earned a reputation for hitting tape-measure shots.

Over Ted Beard's professional career, he would hit more triples than HR, but this speaks more of his speed & LHB rather than his lack of power: over his 19 year professional career Beard would hit 145 triples and 134 HR among his 1,848 hits in 6659 AB for a .278 batting average and a .426 slugging percentage. As mentioned in his BR Bullpen bio, Beard scored 1,339 runs & walked nearly 1,300 times in 1,835 games (this excludes half a season in the PONY league in '42, which doesn't include data on runs & walks). His patience at the plate a telling facet of his career as well as his defense, and remarks in his interview on the San Francisco Seals shed light on this:

BK: You were up and down with the White Sox for a couple years.
TB: I was too damn dumb. When I went to the White Sox I tried to hit the ball so hard that I'd take my eye off when I started to swing and I was too dumb to know it at the time. It was nothing but my fault, nobody else's. It's important to watch that ball. You can't hit it if you can't see it.

BK: Who was the best player you saw?
TB: Hitters--my favorite was Ted Williams. DiMaggio was next, I believe.

I'll tell you what, I don't like a fielder who wins the Gold Glove. Usually they can't cover any ground. I'll take the guy that makes errors and beats you every time. He beats the Gold Glove guys.

Dick Dobbins' out-of-print book, The Grand Minor League: An Oral History of the Pacific Coast League, contains a few quotes from his contemporaries:

"Ted Beard? That little ####. I remember he had a streak of twelve straight hits. I think we helped him on that. He had six already when we went into Hollywood. He had good power for a little guy, and was very intense. He was the kind of guy who could beat you several different ways. He was very quiet though" ~ Eddie Basinski

"Ted was a real quiet guy. The Seals used to have real attractive usherettes, and he doesn't say a word, but all of a sudden, he takes off and marries one of them. Nobody knows a thing until he marries one of them." ~ Jim Westlake

"Ted Beard--he was a fourth outfielder. He was a little guy but had great power and a good arm. I don't think he was the type who got into the intellectual part of the game." ~ Bill Werle

"Ted Beard was a diminutive, soft-spoken outfielder who joined the Hollywood stars in the middle of their "dynasty," in the early 1950s, and helped them win two pennants. In what probably was a mistake, he was sold to San Francisco at the start of the 1954 season, where he helped provide stability for the Seals' "Kiddie Car Express." The Stars, meanwhile, lost their third consecutive pennant, by a playoff game to San Diego. With Beard still around, that game probably wouldn't have been necessary" ~ author Dick Dobbins

The Westlake quote is entertaining; Bill Werle's remarks are a little odd. If he spent more time in the MLB, I'd definitely see Ted Beard as a fourth outfielder: very good speed & defense, surprising power & very good patience but poor contact skills--that may be what Werle's saying.
   26. Tiboreau Posted: November 12, 2009 at 02:25 AM (#3385774)
According to, Ted Beard is still alive. It only lists a birthdate: January 7, 1921, which means that he is 89 years old.

It would be interesting to ask him about his approach at the plate--any ballplayer who draws nearly 1,300 walks must've had a plan no matter what Bill Werle has to say about his baseball intelligence--as well as the HWD/LA brawl of '53--which I participated in, spiking Murray Franklin while stealing third, renewing the broohaha after replacing the soft-spoken Frank Kelleher who had sparked it. Also, it would be interesting to ask about the differences between playing in the PCL v. the AA. vs. the MLB, and in Indianapolis in particular (to keep a tenuous connection to the subject of this thread that I've so ruthlessly hijacked . . . ).
   27. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 12, 2009 at 06:07 AM (#3385846)
See? Gene Bearden. Makes total sense.
   28. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 12, 2009 at 06:30 AM (#3385854)
Chicks dig the circuit clout.
   29. Tiboreau Posted: November 12, 2009 at 06:33 AM (#3385856)
See? Gene Bearden. Makes total sense.

Yeah, I could see confusion due to name similarity--and like Beard, Bearden also had some good years in the PCL.

Bearden did have that sensational rookie season, leading the AL in ERA in '48. I wonder how he lost out to Alvin Dark for Rookie of the Year?
   30. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 12, 2009 at 06:42 AM (#3385858)
This certainly turned into a fun thread.
   31. Tiboreau Posted: November 12, 2009 at 06:50 AM (#3385860)
Chicks dig the circuit clout.

Other synonyms for "home run," found in The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary:

Babe Ruth, Baker, Ballantine blast, belt, big fly, big hit, big knock, big swat, blast, bomb, boundary belt, bye-bye ball, circuit belt, circuit blow, circuit clout, circuit drive, circuit smash, circuit tripper, circuit wallop, clout, dinger, Dr. Longball, dong, downtowner, five dollar ride in a yellow cab, four-bagger, four-master, four-ply wallop, get-small-quick ball, gopher ball, home bagger, homer, jack, jonrun, long ball, long potato, long tater, master fly, moon shot, poke, poke off, potato, rainbow drop, rainmaker, round-tripper, seat-boomer, seeya, shot, tater, tonk, wallop, yardbird
   32. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 12, 2009 at 07:23 AM (#3385867)

Samwell-Smith took a page out of Babe Ruth's book by hitting a tremendous clap(ton) over the right-field wall, a yardbird hit seemingly at his beck and call.
   33. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 12, 2009 at 07:28 AM (#3385868)
dong . . jack, jonrun . . . poke, poke off . . tonk . . .

   34. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 12, 2009 at 09:11 AM (#3385876)
long potato ... seat-boomer


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