Welcome to LeaguePark.org! This site preserves Cleveland, Ohio through photos, interviews and articles. Baseball was played for fifty-five years all at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 66th Street. Consequently, League Park is filled with mighty tales of heroics involving many legends.
Major Restoration Planned for League Park
* League Park was opened on May 1, 1891, with 9,000 wooden seats. The National League's Cleveland Spiders played there until going out of business after a disastrous 20–134 season in 1899 due to having their best players stripped from their roster by an unscrupulous owner. They were replaced the very next year by the Cleveland Lake Shores, which was initially a minor league team. In 1901, the renamed Cleveland Indians were a charter member in the new American League, which became a major league. The park was rebuilt for the 1910 season as a concrete-and-steel stadium—one of two to open that year in the American League, the other being Comiskey Park. The new park had more than double the seating capacity of its predecessor.
In 1916, new team owner "Sunny Jim" Dunn renamed the park "'Dunn Field." The Indians hosted games four through seven of the 1920 World Series at Dunn Field. When Dunn died in 1922, his wife inherited the ballpark and the team. When Dunn’s widow, by then known as Mrs. George Pross, sold the franchise in 1927 for $1 million to a group headed by Alva Bradley the name reverted to the more prosaic "League Park" (there were a number of professional teams' parks generically called "League Park" at the time).
From July 1932 through the 1933 season, the Indians played at the new and far larger Municipal Stadium. However, the players and fans complained about the huge outfield, which reduced the number of home runs. Moreover, as the Great Depression worsened, attendance at the much larger facility plummented. In 1934 the Indians moved most of their games back to League Park.
In 1936, the Indians began splitting their schedule between the two parks, playing Sunday and holiday games at Cleveland Stadium during the summer and the remainder at League Park. Beginning in 1938, they also played selected important games downtown at Cleveland Stadium. Lights were never installed at League Park, and thus no major league night games were played there. However, at least one professional night game was played on July 27, 1931, between the Homestead Grays and the House of David, who borrowed the portable lighting system used by the Kansas City Monarchs.
By 1940, the Indians played most of their home schedule at Municipal Stadium, abandoning League Park entirely after the 1946 season. League Park became the last stadium used in Major League Baseball never to install permanent lights.
After the demise of the Negro American League Cleveland Buckeyes following the 1950 season, League Park was no longer used as a regular sports venue. Most of the structure was demolished the next year. The Cleveland Browns football team would continue to use the aging facility as a practice field until the late 1960s.
Some historic events that took place at League Park include the following:
- May 1, 1891: The ballpark opens. Cy Young delivers the first pitch.
- October 17,18,19, 1892: The ballpark hosts the first three games of the first "split season" in the history of the National League. The opposing Boston Beaneaters will eventually win the series over the Cleveland Spiders.
- October 2,3,5, 1895: The ballpark hosts the first three games of that year's Temple Cup Series, a World Series precursor, the Spiders facing the Baltimore Orioles. Cleveland will eventually clinch the Series, in Baltimore.
- October 8, 1896: The ballpark hosts what will prove to be the final game of that year's Temple Cup, a sweep by Baltimore; as well as Cleveland's final post-season appearance for the National League.
- August 30, 1899: Cleveland plays its final National League home game at League Park in a season in which the team would win only 20 games while losing a record 134.
- 1900: The new American League, nominally a minor league, returns professional baseball to Cleveland after the National League contracted following the 1899 season.
- April 29, 1901: Cleveland's first home game in the American League after the league had declared itself a major league.
- October 2, 1907: The debut of female pitching sensation Alta Weiss
- October 2, 1908: Addie Joss's perfect game against the Chicago White Sox.
- October 10, 1920: Game 5 of the 1920 World Series against the
includes several World Series "firsts":
- In the bottom of the first inning, Cleveland right fielder Elmer Smith hits the first grand slam home run in the history of the Series.
- In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cleveland pitcher Jim Bagby hits the first home run by a pitcher in a World Series game.
- In the top of the fifth inning, Cleveland second baseman Bill Wambsganss executes the first (and only, so far) unassisted triple play in Series history.
- October 12, 1920: The Cleveland Indians win their first World Series.
- August 11, 1929: Babe Ruth hits his 500th career home run, the first player to achieve that milestone.
- July 16, 1941: The final game of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. The streak would be snapped the following night, at Cleveland Stadium.
- 1945: The Cleveland Buckeyes win the Negro Leagues World Series.
- September 13, 1946: The Boston Red Sox clinch the American League pennant, the game's only score coming on a first-inning, home run by Ted Williams.
- September 21, 1946: The final game at League Park. The Indians round out their 1946 home season with 3 games at Cleveland Stadium.
* - Article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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