MUSIC - Time waits for no one by the Rolling Stones
Photographed in 1987, 1991, 1996, 2003 and 2005 using film.
League Park - most of the park was demolished in 1951 and the site is now an athletic field. League Park will rise again as money is being poured into the site as of 2012.
League Park (opened in 1891, demolished in 1951) - Known as League Park 1891 - 1916, Dunn Field 1916 - 1927, League Park 1927 - 1951.
Location - 6601 Lexington Ave., Cleveland, Ohio
I would like to thank David at leaguepark.org for the use of the old photos of League park.
If you head east on Euclid Avenue about 2 miles, you will run into E. 66th Street. Turn left and go up about 6 blocks. Here you will run across a building on the Northeast corner of Lexington and 66th. This dilapidated structure housed the offices of the Cleveland Indians. You have also came across the site for old League Park. All that is left is the office building and the first base wall. There is a marker to the right of the office that tells you about League Park. It amazes me that the office still stands. League Park has been torn down since 1951.
League park was built way back in 1891 for the old Cleveland Spiders of the National league. The wooden structure with 9,000 seats was open for the first time on May 1, 1891. The Spiders were not very good, although they did have one standout. A pitcher by the name of Denton True Young. You may know him better as Cy Young. The debacle of 1899 had the IDIOT owner of the team sell off his best players to the St. Louis Perfectos, who later became the Cardinals. After this disaster, the Spiders were by far the worst team ever to play a professional season. They finished the 1899 season with a 20-134 record. Due to this fiasco, the Spiders were no more after 1899.
Fast forward 2 years to 1901. The upstart American league placed a team in Cleveland and was named the Indians. The team had modest success for the first years of existence. League park was rebuilt after the 1910 season and had a seating capacity of 21,414. In 1916, the team was sold to Jack Dunn, who promptly renamed the park Dunn field. For the next 11 years, the name remained the same. After the 1927 season, the park went back to it's original name for the remainder of it's life.
The Indians won only one pennant and championship during their tenure at League park. This happened during the 1920 season. Led by Jim Bagby and his 30 wins, and Tris Speaker's .388 average, the tribe won the world series. Game 5 of the series had two historic moments. Most remember Bill Wambsganss and his unassisted triple play, but earlier in the game, Elmer Smith of the Indians hit the first ever grand slam in World Series history. He hit it off future hall of famer and spitballer Burliegh Grimes of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the fifth inning of the game, Wamby, playing second base, caught a line drive off the bat of Brooklyn's Clarence Mitchell. He stepped on second to double up Pete Kilduff, then tagged out Otto Miller as he came into second. It is the only unassisted triple play in World Series history. Wambsganss lived in nearby Lakewood Ohio, where he passed away on December 8, 1985, at the ripe old age of 91. One more historic note on that game. Winning pitcher Jim Bagby hit the first home run by a pitcher in World Series history. It was indeed a very magical day at the corner of 66th and Lexington.
The era of night baseball was coming, and League park never had lights. In 1932, the city of Cleveland opened Municipal stadium as a new home for the Indians. The team split time between the two parks. Time was not on the side of old League park. On September 21, 1946, the Indians said goodbye to League park. The Indians moved all their games into Municipal stadium for the start of the 1947 season.
One other notable moment occurred on August 11, 1929. Babe Ruth hit the 500th home run of his career here. League park was also used by the Cleveland Rams of the NFL in 1937, 1942 and 1944 thru 1945. The Browns would use the field as a practice facility up into the late 1960s.
In 1951, demolition began on League park. Today, all that is left is the old office and a wall down the first base line. In 2002, the grandstand that was still there was demolished. Today, there is a baseball diamond in the general location of the original diamond. All that is left now are the memories of what once happened here. If you ever get to Cleveland, take a few hours and drive out to 66th and Lexington and think back in time. You can picture Cy Young on the mound, Tris Speaker in the outfield, and Babe Ruth at bat. What a great dream!!!
The corner of Lexington Avenue and E. 66th Street in Cleveland. This is what is left of League Park. This building housed the former offices of the Cleveland Indians.
The entrance to the clubhouse of the Indians. 5/86
Under the first base grandstands and the Indians Clubhouse area.
This is the old clubhouse of the Indians. It has since been boarded up. 5/87
Under the first base stands.
League park as of 2003. A bit older and weather beaten but the office is still standing. 7/03