LEAGUE PARK - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
LEAGUE PARK was built by FRANK DEHAAS ROBISON†, owner of the CLEVELAND SPIDERS. The first baseball game was played there on 1 May 1891 before approx. 9,000 fans. The park, at E. 66th St. and Lexington Ave. (on one of the streetcar lines owned by Robison), had wooden stands on one level and also served as a picnic ground for baseball fans who arrived early to watch batting practice. To accommodate the growing number of baseball enthusiasts, League Park's seating capacity was increased to 27,000 by 1909. A second level of seats was added, boxes became available, and a steel-and-concrete base replaced the wooden one to prevent fires. The park was the scene of the first and only unassisted triple play in baseball history and the first World Series grand slam, both of which occurred during the 1920 series. In 1936 Bob Feller pitched his first professional game there.
The CLEVELAND INDIANS played fewer games at the park after the CLEVELAND MUNICIPAL STADIUM was built in 1931 but returned there (except for Sunday and holiday games), in order to reduce costs and to improve the team's batting average, which had plummeted in the larger stadium. The Indians used League Park until Bill Veeck's 1947 team drew crowds that required the larger stadium. League Park also was the home of the 1945 American Negro World Series champion CLEVELAND BUCKEYES, and the CLEVELAND RAMS played professional football games there during the 1940s. After 1945 it served as the CLEVELAND BROWNS practice field until the city of Cleveland bought it in 1951. The deteriorating stands were torn down and the area was converted to a playground. In 1979 the site was declared a Cleveland landmark and won listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2006 05:43:24 PM
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