Wednesday, July 2, 2008

West Side Park

Because my only reader, Jeff, appreciates baseball, I thought I would post a quick little fact I found out this week:

West Side Park (The West Side Grounds) is where the Cubs played between 1893-1915. It's where they won their only two world series'. It's where they won 116 games in one season, setting a major league record. It's where Tinker to Evers to Chance became the most famous double play combination in the history of the game. Its where Three fingered Mordecai Brown (who had four fingers, btw) pitched countless complete games and where Ty Cobb lost to the Cubs in the 1908 World Series. Honus Wagner and Christy Matthewson fell victim to many Cubs teams in this era. Tris Speaker and Cy Young and Nap Lajoie played there and had the Cubs not moved to Weeghman Park in 1916 so would have Babe Ruth. It's dimensions were:
Left field: 340 feet; center field: 560 feet; right field: 316 feet.

It's where Cap Anson got hit number 3,000 and Kid Nichols got his 300th win. It's also exactly where my office building is at the University of Illinois Chicago Medical District.

No one else may care, but I now feel a newfound and ethereal bond with the courtyard right outside my window that quite literally served as the foundation upon which the Chicago Cubs would build my favorite franchise. The building I work in sits where right center field and its grandstands would have been if the stadium has not been torn down in 1920 and sold for lumber scraps. I can actually close my eyes and picture being at the last Cubs world Series win in 1908. This of course is aided by the following embedded photos, which all came from the Chicago Daily News archives (and are public domain because they were printed before 1923). Enjoy the pictures!

Click on each one for more detail!

The West Side Park during the 1912 Season with new grandstands.

My office building currently sits in what used to be right-center field, my windows look out upon where home plate sat.

The 1908 National League Pennant above the box office at Lincoln Ave. and Polk St.

Spectators in the grandstand in right field were only 316 ft, from home plate and sit about where I sit at work. Many have bullhorns.

On August 30th, 1908

The Cubs' mascot at West Side Park!

Cubs' Coach Cap Anson ceremonially throwing the first pitch of the 1908 Season.

Pirates' Shortstop Luis Rivas, er, I mean Honus Wagner wearing a backwards cap at the West Side Park.

Mordecai "Three-Fingered" Brown warming up on the first base line.

Spectators after a regular season game.

Ty Cobb probably getting one of his forty-two career Major league hits.

President William Howard Taft waving to spectators as as he enters the Cubs West Side Park.

President Taft greeting New York catcher Chief Meyer.

Current location of the third base bleachers, Polk Ave. Shame.

For more photos search for "West Side Grounds" at the Chicago Daily News Archives.

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