Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Washington Park Centennial

Today is the centennial anniversary of the final game at Washington Park—or, more specifically, the third incarnation of the base ball grounds at 4th Avenue and 3rd Street, in Brooklyn.

Raising the flag, opening day, Washington Park, April 10, 1915.
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The Buffalo Blues and Brooklyn Tip-Tops opened and closed the 1915 season, the second and final year of the Federal League, at Washington Park. The Tip-Tops, named for owner Robert Ward's Tip Top Bakery, won the opening day contest, 13-9. One hundred years ago today, the Blues won 3-2 and then professional base ball was played no more at Washington Park. The teams finished six and seventh in the eight team circuit.

319 Third Street, Apartment 2R, in 1916 when Buffalo Bill's
Wild West Show appeared at the original Washington Park.
Image courtesy of via

As I have written before, my first apartment in New York was across the street from the original Washington Park and half a block from the site of the later ball parks. I have always been fascinated by Washington Park and the extant perimeter wall, as well as most fans' indifference to this bit of local baseball history. Does it need a plaque in order for people to love it?

"3rd Ave and 1st St in the 1980s, before a paint job - photo courtesy Bill Cahill"

Andrew Ross and David Dyte, self-publishing as, do a great job summarizing the history of the three Washington Parks. My fondness for Tom Gilbert notwithstanding, I think the pair also make the case that the vestigial wall dates from no earlier than 1914, a part of Washington Park III and not the previous stadium where the Brooklyn Dodgers played. I feel no need to retell the story; visit their website—you can lose an afternoon there.

"Charlie Weeghman at groundbreaking ceremony for Weeghman Park, March 4, 1914."
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress via Wikipedia.

Wrigley Field, built as Weeghman Park by Charles H. ("Lucky Charlie") Weeghman for his Federal League Chicago Whales, is the undisputed monument to the short-lived competitor to the National and American leagues. But this wall—however truncated and not as old as some might wish—this wall is here, in Brooklyn. I predict that no one else is going to write about the anniversary, so I thought I would.

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