League Park, Cleveland, Buckeyes discussed on Good Seats Still Available


Financially viable. So the Indians are basically the the owners are getting paid by the by the buckeyes, I guess other other entities to right as right? So certainly within their, you know, within their realm they on the ballpark, and they still want to, you know, get the most value they can out of it. So yeah, they're renting to the buckeyes Western Reserve University. One of those big four teams we mentioned they were making a stab at trying to go big time in college football at that time. They scheduled pit West Virginia some bigger, you know, more name teams trying to elevate their program. So they're playing at league park. So it was within, you know, certainly something that the Indians it's a good business for them to make money off this piece of property that they own and again to the dismay of the city of Cleveland. So it wasn't until bills that bought the team during the forty six season that that type finally turned and after the forty six season that negotiates a deal. To take all the games back down to the big stadium for the forty seven season. Again, the Bassett families the grounds crew now they're taking care of the stadium while they kept keep kept on taking care of league park too. Because the buckeyes are playing there, and there's football going on there every fall as well. So, you know, the Indian haven't investment they have a piece of property. You can't just shut it down. And you know, they needed to make some money off it. So it was fortunate for them. And in fact, there was a time where they did talk about the buckeyes talked about adding lights to league park because they were paying twenty five hundred dollars per game. If they played a night game at Cleveland stadium that was their rental charge. Well, the lights were ten thousand and the installation was five. So in six games, they could get their investment back. Well, it never happened. They never did put the lights in and of course, the decline another story for you. You know that decline of the the negro leagues. After after the integration of the major leagues in forty seven. So negro league baseball, you know, really dropped off and fans didn't wanna go. They wanted to go. See Jackie Robinson played. They wanted to go see satchel page play with the Indians. And and Larry Doby play with the Indians. So that was the demise not only of the negro leagues. But ultimately became the final demise of league park. That's ironic that it's actual page. Obviously, plenty of tricks to to league park to compete against the buckeyes and wound up then being part of vex team in in forty-eight plan for the Indians across town. So, but you know, it's also interesting to in your as you discuss the negro leagues, and the buckeyes which had a very interesting history, mostly forty three forty eight and a couple of dalliances and Cincinnati and Louisville along the way, but there's an interesting picture on on if you're reading at home chapter chapter chapter. Six page one thirty four there's a very interesting picture there of league park circa nineteen forty nine. And it's amazing to see all of the housing and other construction that now by that time had surrounded the park. I mean, it literally looks like it's sticking out like a sore thumb. Amidst all this other megalopolis nece if that's a word. And you're right. Could see how tight and door. How constrained I guess it was right in terms of its maybe ability to to do more and be more as as the years went on for other sports and other events again remember in eighteen nineties when that lot was picked, you know, we're not private automobiles. You know, you got there by trolley or your horse or you walked or whatever. So. Yeah. As the ballpark grew in that area around it grew it was not conducive to parking. And you know, there were people made, you know, a quarter of car parking squeezes many cars on their front lawn as they could. And and you know, that's what that neighborhood was. And you're right forty nine that picture, you're referring to an aerial view. Or you can see it was just jam packed with. There was some businesses. And and of course, you know, plenty of housing but once league park went out once that nineteen fifty season. The last year the buckeyes fooled midyear and new owner gets the team from vac signs of deal to stay at the stadium and part of the deal to the city's relief is finally the deal includes that the city takes over the space that is league park and says all right? That's that's going to be the city's the city will own this. And what they did was they began to dismantle it. Then that winner of fifty fifty fifty one to one it is now in sort of it's legacy. What other things went on at that park, the sides baseball, and and football, what kind of events kind of a concert just other things because obviously, you know, despite having municipal stadium there since the I guess the thirties, you know, the league park was probably, you know, one of the pro prime venues in this city metro near Cleveland for I guess any other event or spectacle, right things like boxing and those. Boxing, was was big there really wasn't much else. In terms of concerts, or anything? There was we did come across since the book was published. We came across in nineteen sixteen. There was an opera held at league park the Zeke freed opera took the took the field space and was presented in league park. But you're right. If there was going to be a big gathering that was by far the biggest space in Cleveland prior to you know, prior to municipal stadium being built now there was the indoor public hall, which got built in the twenties downtown indoors and became a boxing venue in a basketball, then you, but indoors was different. The biggest outdoor space was league park until you know, Cleveland stadium came about in nineteen thirty one. So it's demise. And it's it's memory, right? So so it has become. What is it? Now, I'm not live in Cleveland area. But it was denoted as a national stork landmark, right? Wasn't it along the way somewhere? Yeah. And that was in seventy nine several attempts to try and revive us. Because again, the the area around league park after the team left that became, you know, really downtrodden area lot of the housing became, you know, vacant was not a good area of the city by any means over the next several decades it really was into Klein, but. In. There were a lot of people with nostalgia for the park and the leader. Honestly being fella named hell level. It's who was the sports editor of the Cleveland. Plain Dealer had been at the Cleveland news before that when out of business in nineteen sixty we're up at the plane dealers sports editor, and and really longs for the place and in seventy nine there was the first effort to try and say, hey, there's still this field here. Because again, the city took it over his apart and kind of on usual, you know, feel gets plowed under and they build apartment buildings and Forbes field lines up on Pitt's campus, 'cause it's right there, and it cetera etcetera, none of these places over very few which revive certainly not as a ballpark. But there was a ball field there and that in the fifties. And in the sixties, it was largely used by a lot of the Cleveland high schools, the premier games, they left some of the seating up, and and it was supposed to be the premier area. They actually built a city pool. One point down one of the down the left field corner. There was a basketball court down the right field corner. You know, that's how this place miraculously survived all of these years and Lebowitz Mr. Lebowitz at the Plain Dealer decided he was he kinda got behind. There was an effort to try and do something. And so he really trumped it up with a couple of columns in the Plain Dealer, they they had a big to do invited some little players back. I was just into college. And I went down there. They had a celebration on a day. And they'll want scans the fella who turned the unassisted triple play in nineteen twenty. He's standing out there describing on the field. How he did it. What a cool day. It was and it raised a little bit of money, but not nearly enough to do what the hope was and really the effort fell apart. There was a councilman from that area of Cleveland. Woman named fanny Lewis who you know, then took over the charge later into the nineties and whatnot. And said, you know, we we need to do something with this. There's all this history all these famous people and things and that that occurred there, and so she kept pushing unfortunately, she passed right before the city finally did come up with funding to completely renovate the field. They put all new fencing recreated the famous right field wall, which is higher than the one at Fenway park. So they they did a recreation of the wall and now you can go on that field and play in the exact spot where sei-yung towed the rubber and Bob feller. Did you stand into batter's box where Ruth hit the five hundred home run over that famous wall? And and that is all there today, and then that ticket office and office building two story building on the corner. In. What was right field that survived as well. That was used oh, it was used as a kind of a community center and whatnot gotten pretty beat up and run down. But the building still was there, and they fixed it up and city made the investment to fix that structure. Now, there's a museum there a fella named Bob. Zimmer had a fantastic collection of of baseball memorabilia and his what he calls the baseball. Heritage museum is now in that building. And he has lot of league park items. But also things his interest is in whether it's Dominican baseball and Mexican league and negro leagues. So he has lots of different things like that. And of course, even amateur baseball and Cleveland, which was huge back in the nineteen teens there's tributes to that and whatnot. So it's really a neat. It's a small museum. But it's very very cool. Definitely we're saying and again ties into this whole aura of history when you walk on that area and think oh my gosh. What all has happened here, and you can still picture it. And that's what's really cool. I think that's awesome. And I guess one. Last question is is how much if anything do the Indians Amish to the field at all in their current interational? Or is it pretty much in their review window window at this point? I would say the Indians have been supportive of the ballpark of league park. Major league baseball. This year has reserved league park for the week leading up to the all star game this summer. They haven't announced what's going to go on there. But there are so many things going on in Cleveland miss year. The all star game. It's become really a whole week long festival. So there will be something going on down there. But the Indians have been very supportive, and they do they do a pretty good job of honoring their history. They have a neat in in progressive field. Now, there's a. Very cool outdoor area with plaques and whatnot. In fact, plaque that hung league park honoring the nineteen twenty season. And the death of the Indians shortstop at that time that only league park is now in that area at progressive field. So that area on what they have done is very recog- makes great recognition of league park. In fact, if you go around on the concourse and the lower deck just to the third base side tasked home plate, and if you look closely at the concession stands that are there. They are built in tribute to league park, they have brick archways. There are large paintings of ballplayers from that era. There are a couple of plaques that represent some of the stories that happened at league park. So they really have done a great job of recognizing their history and inside the park and out. You know, the statues and whatnot outside it, really. I give the Indian organization. Great kudos for the things. They have done. Well, so there it is. There's the the admonition to our listeners is if you are considering going to Cleveland this year for the the baseball all star game and all the festivities you owe it to yourself to go check out the the old and still their league park or the remnants thereof as well as what's remembered progressive field, and I'm sure Ken will be more than happy to autograph purchased copies of his book as you go back

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