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Crosley Field

Crosley Field Twilight

Cincinnati, Ohio

Tenant: Cincinnati Reds (NL)
Opened: April 11, 1912
First night game: May 24, 1935
Last game: June 24, 1970
Demolished: 1972
Capacity: 25,000 (1912); 30,000 (1927); 33,000 (1938); 30,000 (1948); 29,980 (1952); 29,603 (1958); 30,328 (1960); 30,274 (1961); 29,603 (1964); 29,488 (1970).

Architect: Harry Hake
Owner: Cincinnati Reds
Cost: $225,000

Cincinnati Reds tickets:

Location: At the corner of Western Avenue and Findlay Street, less than a half mile north of Union Terminal (now the Cincinnati Museum). Left field (N), York Street; third base (W), Crosley Field Way and the C&O Railroad tracks; first base (S), Findlay Street; center field and right field (E), Western Avenue.

Crosley Field under the lights
 
Crosley Field from behind home plate

Dimensions: Left field: 360 (1912), 320 (321), 352 (1926), 339 (1927), 328 (1938); scoreboard in left-center: 380, 383 left to right; center field: 420 (1912), 417 (1926), 395 (1927), 393 (1930), 407 (1931), 393 (1933), 407 (1936), 387 (1938), 380 (1939), 387 (1940), 390 (1944), 387 (1955); right-center field: 383 (1955); deepest corner: 387 (1944); right field: 360 (1912), 384 (1921), 400 (1926), 383 (early 1927), 377 (late 1927), 366 (1938), 366 (1938), 342 (1942), 366 (June 30, 1950), 342 (1953), 366 (1958); backstop: 38 (1912), 58 (1927), 66 (1943), 78 (1953).

Fences: Center field canvas shield above fence to protect against street light glare (1935 to June 7, 1940); left field: 18 (1938), 12 (1957), 14 (1962), 18 (1963); clock on top of scoreboard: 58 (1957), 45 (1967); left-center to right-center: 18 (1954), 14 (1962), 13.5 (1963), 23 (9.5 plywood over 13.5 concrete, 1965); right field: 7.5 (4.5 wire above 3 concrete, 1938), 7.5 (4.5 wire above 3 wood, 1942), 10 (7 wire above 3 wood, 1949), 12 (9 wire above 3 concrete June 30, 1950), 10 (7 wire above 3 wood, 1953), 10 (7 wire above 3 concrete, 1958), 9 (6 wire above 3 concrete, 1959); flagpole in left-center: 82, in play.

The Reds began playing at the corner of Findlay Street and Western Avenue in 1884. Before the Reds arrived, the site was a brickyard. The ballpark the team built there was known as League Park. In 1902, a new concrete and steel ballpark, known as the Palace of the Fans, was built on the site. However, the Palace lacked adequate box seating. So, ten years later, it was replaced with yet another new ballpark. Opened in 1912, Redland Field would stand the test of time. When Powel Crosley bought the Reds in 1934, team president Larry MacPhail insisted that the ballpark be renamed in honor of the man many thought had rescued the franchise.

Chuck Foertmeyer has built an excellent Crosley Field Web site, with many photos of the old ballpark, as well as extensive information.

Southeastern aerial view of Crosley Field

Crosley Field Trivia:

  • Designed by Harry Hake and built at cost of $225,000.
  • Steep incline in front of the fence all around the outfield.
  • Known as Redland Field from 1912 to 1933.
  • Renamed for Reds owner Powel Crosley.
  • Scene of the first major league night game (vs. Phillies) on May 24, 1935.
  • In January 1937 Mill Creek flooded, covering the playing field with 21 feet of water.
  • Site of the 1953 and 1938 All-Star games.
  • Site of the famous Black Sox scandal in 1919, when the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series to the Reds.
  • The Press box was not erected until 1938.
  • Largest crowd was 36,691 on April 27, 1947.
  • Both home and visitor clubhouses were located behind the left-field stands.
  • Matty Schwab was the groundskeeper at Crosley Field since 1894, when League Park occupied the site. When he retired in 1963, at age 83, his grandson, Mike Dolan, replaced him.
  • After the Reds left, Crosley Field was used by the city as a lot for impounded cars until it was demolished.
  • After Crosley Field was demolished, Dalton Street was extended through the site of the former ballpark.
  • A business park occupies the site of Crosley Field and the parking lots that surrounded it.
  • A plaque on a stone pedestal was placed near the corner of Findlay and Western in 1998 to commemorate Crosley Field.

Western aerial view of Crosley Field

A baseball field in Blue Ash, Ohio was built with a life-size replica of the Crosley Field scoreboard and outfield wall. The street address is 11540 Grooms Road. Here is how to get there:

  • Take I-71 to I-275 west.
  • Take I-275 to Reed Hartman Highway and head south towards Blue Ash.
  • Drive 0.1 mile and take a left on East Kemper Road.
  • Drive 0.2 mile and take a right on Grooms Road.
  • Drive 0.2 mile and take a left into the City of Blue Ash Sports Center.
  • The Crosley Field replica is at the back of the complex.

Recommended Reading (bibliography):

  • Opening Day at Great American Ball Park by Dann Stupp.
  • Riverfront Stadium: Home of the Big Red Machine by Mike Shannon.
  • 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).

 Palace of the FansRiverfront StadiumGreat American Ball Park

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IMAGES:

Crosley Field Twilight © 1989 by William Feldman.
Crosley Field under the lights from the collection of Gavin Riley.
Crosley Field from behind home plate courtesy of the National Baseball Library, Cooperstown, NY.
Southeastern aerial view of Crosley Field by Munsey & Suppes.
Western aerial view of Crosley Field from the collection of George C. Tindall.

Updated October 2004

Tickets to Cincinnati Reds, NCAA Football, Paul McCartney, College Football Bowl, NCAA Basketball Tournament and Wicked Cincinnati provided by Ticket Triangle.

BALLPARKS © 1996-2014 by Munsey & Suppes.