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Braves Field

Braves Field Panorama

Boston, Massachusetts

Tenant: Boston Braves
Opened: August 18, 1915
First night game: May 11, 1946
Last game: September 21, 1952
Current status: Converted for soccer
Capacity: 40,000

Architect: Osborn Engineering
Construction: n/a
Owner: Boston Braves
Cost: n/a

Atlanta Braves & Boston Red Sox tickets:

Location: About three miles west of downtown Boston and one mile west of Fenway Park. First base (S), Akimbo Road, then Commonwealth Avenue; right field (E), Harry Agganis Way (formerly Gaffney Street); left field (N), Boston and Albany Railroad tracks, then Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), then Charles River; third base (W), Babcock Street.

Entrance to Braves Field
 
View of Braves Field from Gaffney Street

Dimensions: Left field: 402 (1915), 375 (1921), 404 (1922), 403 (1926), 320 (April 21, 1928), 353.5 (July 24, 1928), 340 (1930), 353.67 (1931), 359 (1933), 353.67 (1934), 368 (1936), 350 (1940), 337 (1941), 334 (1942), 340 (1943), 337 (1944); left-center: 402.5 ft. (1915), 396 (1916), 402.42 (1921), 404 (1922), 402.5 (1926), 330 (April 21, 1928), 359 (July 24, 1928), 365 (1942), 355 ft. (1943); center field: 440 ft. (1915), 387 (April 21, 1928), 417 (July 24, 1928), 387.17 (1929), 394.5 (1930), 387.25 (1931), 417 (1933), 426 (1936), 407 (1937), 408 (1939), 385 (1940), 401 (1941), 375 (1942), 370 (1943), 390 (1944), 380 (1945), 370 (1946); center field at the flag pole: 520; deepest center field corner, just to the right of straightaway center: 550 (1915), 401 (1942), 390 (1943); right-center: 402 (1915), 362 (1942), 355 (1943); right field: 402 (1915), 375 (1916), 365 (1921), 364 (1928), 297.75 (1929), 297.92 (1931), 364 (1933), 297 (1936), 376 (1937), 378 (1938), 350 (1940), 340 (April 1943), 320 (July 1943), 340 (April 1944), 320 (May 1944), 340 (April 1946), 320 (May 1946), 318 (1947), 320 (1948), 319 (1948); backstop: 75 (1915), 60 (1936).

Fences: Left field to center: 10 (concrete, 1945), 8 (wood, 1928), 20 (wood, 1946), 25 (wood, 1953); left field scoreboard: sides 64 (1948), middle arch 68 (1929); left field: 1 (gravestones, July 24, 1928), 30 (canvas, 1929); right-center exit gate: 8 (wire); right field: 10 (six screen above 4 wood).

Ticket office today
 
Click to read text of plaque

Braves Field was the last and largest of the first wave of concrete-and-steel ballparks built between 1909 and 1915. Owner James Gaffney built a wide open ballpark conducive to inside-the-park home runs. A covered single-deck grandstand seating 18,000 wrapped around the diamond from well down each foul line. Two uncovered pavilions seating 10,000 apiece occupied the areas just past the grandstand up to the foul poles. The jury box, as it was called after a sportswriter noticed during a game that only 12 spectators were sitting in the section, seated 2,000 and was located in right field.

With the advent of the lively ball, baseball became a game of over-the-fence home runs for which Braves Field was ill equipped. So, in 1928 the fences were moved in and subsequently tweaked for years thereafter. After the Braves left in 1953, Boston University purchased the property, converted it for football and changed its name to Nickerson Field, where the B.U. Terriers played football until 1997. Field hockey and soccer games as well as commencement ceremonies are still held there. The old right-field pavilion has been incorporated into Nickerson's seating arrangement. The left field pavilion was replaced by an arena and the grandstand was replaced by three high-rise dormitory buildings. The first base ticket office and the concrete outer wall in right and center field are still standing.

Aerial view of Braves Field

Braves Field Trivia:

  • Infield grass was transplanted from the old South End Grounds (III).
  • Originally, there was a ground-level scoreboard in left field.
  • Prevailing winds blew straight in from center field, preventing many home runs.
  • In 1915 and 1916 the Boston Red Sox played their World Series games here.
  • The scoreboard was moved in 1928 to the rear of right field.
  • From 1936 to April 29, 1941 the ballpark was called the Bee Hive.
  • Fir trees were planted beyond the center field fence to mask smoke from the nearby railroad.
  • In 1948, a 68-foot scoreboard was added in left field.
  • Boston University purchased the field in the 1950s and put in a football field from the first base dugout to right-center.
  • A plaque placed on the site in 1988 recounts the history of the park.
  • Hosted the 1936 All-Star game.

Recommended Reading (bibliography):

  • Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
  • The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
  • City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
  • Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
  • Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
  • Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
  • Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
  • The Story of America's Classic Ballparks (VHS).

South End GroundsCounty StadiumAtlanta-Fulton County StadiumTurner Field

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PHOTOGRAPHS:

Braves Field Panorama © 1993 by Andy Jurinko.
View of the entrance to Braves Field courtesy of the Franklin Digital Collection.
View of Braves Field from Gaffney Street by Munsey & Suppes.
Ticket office today © 1999 by David Munsey.
Memorial plaque © 1999 by David Munsey.
Aerial view of Braves Field courtesy of the Sporting News.

Updated June 2006

Tickets to Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Red Sox spring training, NCAA Football, Paul McCartney, College Football Bowl, Justin Timberlake Boston, NCAA Basketball Tournament and NIN Boston provided by Ticket Triangle.

BALLPARKS © 1996-2014 by Munsey & Suppes.