Comiskey Park

Last updated
Comiskey Park
"The Baseball Palace of the World"
Old Comiskey Park
White Sox Park
Old comiskey park.jpg
Comiskey Park in 1990, its final season
Former namesWhite Sox Park
(1910–1912, 1962–1975)
Location324 West 35th Street
Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates 41°49′55″N87°38′02″W / 41.832°N 87.634°W / 41.832; -87.634 Coordinates: 41°49′55″N87°38′02″W / 41.832°N 87.634°W / 41.832; -87.634
Owner Chicago White Sox
OperatorChicago White Sox
Capacity 28,000 (1910–1926)
52,000 (1927–1937)
50,000 (1938)
51,000 (1939)
50,000 (1940–1946)
47,400 (1947–1953)
46,550 (1954–1972)
44,492 (1973–1982)
43,695 (1983–1985)
44,087 (1986–1987)
43,931 (1988–1989)
43,951 (1990)
Record attendance55,555 (largest)
May 20, 1973
White Sox vs. Minnesota
511 (smallest)
May 6, 1971
White Sox vs. Boston
Field size(1910)
Foul lines – 363 ft (111 m)
Power alleys – 382 ft (116 m)
Center field – 420 ft (128 m)
Backstop – 98 ft (30 m)
(1986)
Foul lines – 347 ft (106 m)
Power alleys – 382 ft (116 m)
Center Field – 409 ft (125 m)
Backstop – 86 ft (26 m)
SurfaceNatural grass
AstroTurf infield (1969–1975)
Construction
Broke ground1910
OpenedJuly 1, 1910 [1] [2] [3] [4]
ClosedSeptember 30, 1990 [5]
Demolished1991
Construction costUS$750,000
($20.2 million in 2018 [6] )
Architect Zachary Taylor Davis
Osborn Engineering
General contractorGeorge W. Jackson [7]
Tenants
Chicago White Sox (MLB) (1910–1990)
Chicago Cardinals (NFL) (1922–1925, 1929–1958)
Chicago Bulls (AFL) (1926)
Chicago American Giants (NAL) (1941–1952)
Card-Pitt (NFL) (1944)
Chicago Mustangs (NASL) (1967–1968)
Chicago Sting (NASL) (1980–1985)

Comiskey Park was a baseball park in Chicago, Illinois, located in the Armour Square neighborhood on the near-southwest side of the city. The stadium served as the home of the Chicago White Sox of the American League from 1910 through 1990. Built by White Sox owner Charles Comiskey and designed by Zachary Taylor Davis, Comiskey Park hosted four World Series and more than 6,000 Major League Baseball games. Also, in one of the most famous boxing matches in history, the field was the site of the 1937 heavyweight title match in which Joe Louis defeated then champion James J. Braddock in eight rounds that launched Louis' unprecedented 11-plus year run as the heavyweight champion of the world. [8] [9]

Baseball park park used to play the game of baseball

A baseball park, also known as a ballpark or diamond, is a venue where baseball is played. A baseball park consists of the playing field and the surrounding spectator seating. While the diamond and the areas denoted by white painted lines adhere to strict rules, guidelines for the rest of the field are flexible.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, and the fourth largest in North America and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

Contents

The Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League also called Comiskey Park home when they weren't playing at Normal Park or Soldier Field. They won the 1947 NFL Championship Game over the Philadelphia Eagles at Comiskey Park. Much less popular than the Bears, the Cardinals' last season at Comiskey was 1958, and they left for St. Louis in March 1960. The Chicago American Giants of the Negro American League called Comiskey Park home from 1941–1950. [10]

History of the Chicago Cardinals history of the football team now known as the Arizona Cardinals when in Chicago

The professional American football team now known as the Arizona Cardinals previously played in Chicago, Illinois as the Chicago Cardinals from 1920 to 1959 before relocating to St. Louis, Missouri for the 1960 season.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Normal Park is the name of a former football field in Chicago, Illinois. It was on Racine Avenue between 61st and 62nd Streets, extending to Throop Street. Normal Avenue is also sometimes given as one of its bordering streets, although Normal Avenue (500W) is about 7 blocks east of Racine (1200W), at least under the current city grid configuration.

Adjacent to the south (across 35th Street), a new ballpark opened in 1991, and Comiskey Park was demolished the same year. Originally also called Comiskey Park, it was renamed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003 and Guaranteed Rate Field in 2016.

The 1991 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 93rd season. They finished with a record 87-75, good enough for 2nd place in the American League West, 8 games behind of the 1st place Minnesota Twins, as the club opened the new Comiskey Park on April 18.

The 2003 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 104th season. They finished with a record 86–76, good enough for second place in the American League Central, four games behind the champion Minnesota Twins.

Guaranteed Rate Field Baseball park in Chicago, IL, USA

Guaranteed Rate Field is a baseball park located in Chicago, Illinois, that serves as the home ballpark for the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball. The facility is owned by the state of Illinois through the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, and is operated by the White Sox. The park opened for the 1991 season, after the White Sox had spent 81 years at the original Comiskey Park. It also opened with the name Comiskey Park but was renamed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003 after U.S. Cellular bought the naming rights at $68 million over 20 years. The current name was announced on October 31, 2016, after Guaranteed Rate, a private residential mortgage company located in Chicago, purchased the naming rights to the ballpark in a 13-year deal.

Early years

White Sox Park in its early days. The "South Side" label refers to the White Sox themselves, not the stadium. South Side Park, home of the White Sox, Chicago, Illinois, circa 1907-1913.jpg
White Sox Park in its early days. The "South Side" label refers to the White Sox themselves, not the stadium.

The park was built on a former city dump that Comiskey bought in 1909 to replace the wooden South Side Park. Originally White Sox Park, within three years it was renamed for White Sox founder and owner Charles Comiskey. The original name was restored in 1962, then it changed back to Comiskey Park in 1976. [11]

Landfill site for the disposal of waste materials by burial

A landfill site is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial. It is the oldest form of waste treatment. Historically, landfills have been the most common method of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world.

South Side Park

South Side Park was the name used for three different baseball parks that formerly stood in Chicago, Illinois, at different times, and whose sites were all just a few blocks away from each other.

Charles Comiskey American baseball player, manager, team owner

Charles Albert Comiskey, also nicknamed "Commy" or "The Old Roman", was an American Major League Baseball player, manager and team owner. He was a key person in the formation of the American League, and was also founding owner of the Chicago White Sox. Comiskey Park, the White Sox' storied baseball stadium, was built under his guidance and named for him.

Comiskey Park was very modern for its time. It was the third concrete-and-steel stadium in the major leagues to be built since 1909. As originally built, it seated almost 32,000, a record at the time. Briefly, it retained the nickname "The Baseball Palace of the World."

The park's design was strongly influenced by Sox pitcher Ed Walsh, and was known for its pitcher-friendly proportions (362 feet (110 m) to the foul poles; 420 feet (128 m) to center field). Later changes were made, but the park remained more or less favorable to defensive teams. For many years this reflected on the White Sox style of play: solid defense, and short, quick hits. The park was unusual in that no player hit 100 home runs there: Carlton Fisk set the record with 94. [12]

Ed Walsh American baseball player and coach

Edward Augustine Walsh was an American pitcher and manager in Major League Baseball. From 1906 to 1912, he had several seasons where he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Injuries shortened his career. Walsh holds the record for lowest career earned run average, 1.82. He is one of two modern (post-1901) pitchers to win 40 or more games in a single season. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.

Carlton Fisk American baseball player

Carlton Ernest Fisk, nicknamed "Pudge" and "The Commander", is a retired Major League Baseball (MLB) catcher and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. During a 24-year baseball career, he played for both the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox (1981–1993). He was the first player to be unanimously voted American League Rookie of the Year (1972). Fisk is best known for "waving fair" his game-winning home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

The first game in Comiskey Park was a 2–0 loss to the St. Louis Browns on July 1, 1910. [3] [4] The first no-hitter at Comiskey Park was in 1935, hurled by Vern Kennedy on August 31, a 5–0 win over Cleveland. [13] The Sox won their first home night game, over St. Louis on August 14, 1939, 5–2. [14]

The 1910 St. Louis Browns season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Browns finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 47 wins and 107 losses.

No-hitter also called a no-no, a baseball game in which a team was not able to record a single hit

In baseball, a no-hitter is a game in which a team was not able to record a single hit. Major League Baseball (MLB) officially defines a no-hitter as a completed game in which a team that batted in at least nine innings recorded no hits. A pitcher who prevents the opposing team from achieving a hit is said to have "thrown a no-hitter". This is a rare accomplishment for a pitcher or pitching staff: only 299 have been thrown in Major League Baseball history since 1876, an average of about two per year. In most cases in MLB, no-hitters are recorded by a single pitcher who throws a complete game; one thrown by two or more pitchers is a combined no-hitter. The most recent no-hitter by a single pitcher was thrown on May 8, 2018 by James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The most recent combined no-hitter was thrown on May 4, 2018 by Walker Buehler, Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia, and Adam Liberatore of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Diego Padres at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey.

The 1935 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 35th season in the major leagues, and its 36th season overall. They finished with a record 74–78, good enough for 5th place in the American League, 19.5 games behind the first place Detroit Tigers.

Special baseball events

World Series

Comiskey Park was the site of four World Series. In 1917, the Chicago White Sox won games 1, 2 and 5 at Comiskey Park and went on to defeat the New York Giants four games to two. In 1918, Comiskey Park hosted the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox. The Cubs borrowed Comiskey Park for the series because of its larger seating capacity. The Red Sox defeated the Cubs four games to two. Games one, two and three were played at Comiskey Park. The Red Sox won games one and three. Attendance was under capacity in that war year. The best crowd was game 3, with some 27,000 patrons.

In 1919, the White Sox lost the infamous "Black Sox" World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, five games to three in a nine-game series. Games three, four, five and eight were played at Comiskey Park. The White Sox won game three and lost games four, five and eight.

In 1959, the White Sox lost four games to two to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Games one, two and six were played at Comiskey Park. The White Sox won game one and lost games two and six. With their win in Game 6 at Comiskey Park, the Los Angeles Dodgers became the first West Coast team to win a World Series.

Comiskey saw its last post-season action in 1983, when the White Sox lost the American League Championship Series to the Baltimore Orioles, 3 games to 1, with games 3 and 4 in Chicago. Baltimore went on to win the World Series.

All-Star Games

Comiskey Park in 1986 Oldcomiskeypark1986a.jpg
Comiskey Park in 1986

Comiskey Park was the site of three Major League Baseball All-Star Games, and each marked a turn in the direction of dominance by one league or the other:

Fans

From 1971 until its demolition in 1991, Comiskey was the oldest park still in use in Major League Baseball (it had already been the oldest in the American League since 1955). Many of its known characteristics, such as the pinwheels on the "exploding" scoreboard, were installed by Bill Veeck (owner of the White Sox from 1959 to 1961, and again from 1976 to 1981). Another Veeck innovation was the "picnic area", created by replacing portions of the left field walls (the side of the field not facing the setting sun) with screens and setting up picnic tables under the seating areas. This concept was later extended to right field. During Veeck's second ownership, he installed a shower behind the speaker horns in the center field bleachers, for fans to cool off on hot summer days.

From 1960 to 1990, Sox fans were also entertained by Andy the Clown, famous for his famous Jerry Colonna-like elongated cry, "Come ooooooooooon, go! White! Sox!"

Longtime White Sox organist
Nancy Faust Nancy Faust 800521.JPG
Longtime White Sox organist
Nancy Faust

Starting in the 1970s, Sox fans were further entertained by organist Nancy Faust who picked up on spontaneous chants of fans who were singing tunes like, "We will, we will, SOX YOU!" and popularized the now-ubiquitous farewell to departing pitchers and ejected managers, "Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey-hey, GOOD-BYE!"

Before he became an institution on the north side with the Cubs, Sox broadcaster Harry Caray was a south side icon. At some point he started "conducting" Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch, egged on by Veeck, who (according to Harry himself) said that the fans would sing along when they realized that none of them sang any worse than Harry did. Harry would sometimes broadcast from the center field bleachers, where he could hobnob with fans and get a suntan (or a burn).

The largest crowd at Old Comiskey Park was in 1973 with a crowd of 55,555 (which was 11,063 over capacity) on May 20 for a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, which also had the promotion of "Bat Day". By contrast, just over two years earlier, the smallest attendance at the park was recorded, with 511 spectators attending a game against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, May 6, 1971.

Disco Demolition Night

A major and oft-mentioned promotional event held at Old Comiskey was "Disco Demolition Night" in 1979, organized by longtime Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl and White Sox promotions manager Mike Veeck (Bill's son) on Thursday, July 12. [16] [17] [18] Between games of a make-up doubleheader between the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, Dahl and his crew destroyed a pile of disco records that fans had brought in exchange for a ticket with a discounted price of 98¢ in honor of Dahl's station at that time, WLUP-FM, the frequency of which was 97.9 MHz (98 FM). More than 50,000 fans were in attendance, along with another 20,000 who crashed the gates even though the game was sold out. [19] The demolition tore a huge hole in center field and several thousand fans, many of them intoxicated, stormed the field, stole equipment, and destroyed the infield. The nightcap was postponed, [20] but league officials ruled it a forfeit the next day, [21] the fourth in American League history, all in the 1970s. [22] Later, some blamed Dahl; some blamed Veeck. Howard Cosell even blamed then-White Sox announcer Harry Caray, saying Caray contributed to a "carnival" atmosphere. In reality, a handful of rowdies had taken advantage of a situation for which stadium security was woefully unprepared. "I never thought that I, a stupid disc jockey, could draw 70,000 people to a disco demolition", Dahl said in a Tribune interview. "Unfortunately, some of our followers got a little carried away." That was the last anti-disco rally for WLUP. But it brought Dahl national attention and established him as a radio superstar in Chicago. [23]

Transitions

When Bill Veeck re-acquired the team, he took out the center field fence, reverting to the original distance to the wall (posted as 440 in the 1940s, re-measured as 445 in the 1970s) ... a tough target, but reachable by sluggers like Oscar Gamble and Richie Zisk and other members of a team that was tagged "The South Side Hit Men". They were long removed from their days as "The Hitless Wonders". During that time the ballpark also featured a lounge where one could buy mixed drinks. This prompted some writers to dub Comiskey "Chicago's Largest Outdoor Saloon".[ citation needed ]

Final years

Batting practice in 1986 00118 n 9abwn9hwm1496.jpg
Batting practice in 1986

In 1969, AstroTurf was installed in the infield and the adjacent foul territory, with the outfield and adjoining foul territory remaining as natural grass. It was the first outdoor field in the major leagues to install artificial turf. [24] After seven seasons, the artificial turf was removed prior to the 1976 season. [11] [25]

During its last eight years, Comiskey's annual attendance surpassed the two million mark three times, including the final season when the Sox contended for much of the year before losing the western division title to the Oakland Athletics.

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf received more than $200 million in public financing for the new stadium after threatening to move the club to St. Petersburg, Florida (a similar threat was later used by the San Francisco Giants until they broke ground on what would be their current ballpark in late 1997). An interesting phenomenon occurred in the Illinois state legislature, in that the Speaker (Michael Madigan) stopped the clock on the evening of June 30, 1988 so that the legislature could report that the money had been granted on June 30, and not July 1. The stadium now called Tropicana Field was constructed by officials in St. Petersburg in an effort to lure a Major League Baseball club to Florida (which arrived in 1998 in the form of the expansion Devil Rays), but Miami beat the Tampa Bay area to the punch when it launched the expansion Florida Marlins in 1993. The deal was sealed in a last-minute legislative maneuver by then-governor James R. Thompson. [26]

Site of Comiskey Park as it looked in 1992 SoxPark920904 1.JPG
Site of Comiskey Park as it looked in 1992

On September 30, 1990, with 42,849 in paid attendance, the Chicago White Sox played the last game at Comiskey Park, defeating the Seattle Mariners 2–1 . Mayor Richard M. Daley (a lifelong White Sox fan) threw out the opening pitch, legendary Sox player Minnie Miñoso delivered the lineup card to the umpires, and well-known ball-park organist Nancy Faust played for the crowd during the final game. Also, former White Sox Vice President Charles Comiskey, grandson of the man for whom the park was named, was on hand. The final play occurred when White Sox closer Bobby Thigpen forced Mariners' second baseman Harold Reynolds to hit a grounder to second baseman Scott Fletcher, who in return threw it to first baseman Steve Lyons for the force-out. [27] [28] The crowd then joined the organist by singing a final rendition of their unofficial victory song "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye." [27]

Comiskey Park was demolished in 1991; starting from behind the right field corner, the process took all summer to complete. The last portion to come down was the center field bleachers and the "exploding" scoreboard. The site of the old park was turned into a parking lot to serve those attending games at the new Comiskey Park (later renamed Guaranteed Rate Field).

At the time Comiskey was demolished, Chicago's two baseball stadiums were a combined 157 years old.

Bill Veeck once remarked that "There is no more beautiful sight in the world than a ballpark full of people!" On its best days, Comiskey was stuffed to the gills, with 55,000 people or more lining the aisles and even standing for 9 (or 18) innings on the sloping ramps that criss-crossed behind the scoreboard. The nearly-fully enclosed stands had a way of capturing and reverberating the noise without any artificial enhancement. As a Chicago sportswriter once remarked, "Wrigley Field yayed and Comiskey Park roared."

'Old' Comiskey's home plate is a marble plaque on the sidewalk next to Guaranteed Rate Field, and the field is a parking lot. Foul lines are painted on the lot. Also, the spectator ramp across 35th Street is designed in such a way (partly curved, partly straight but angling east-northeast) that it echoes the outline of part of the old grandstand.

Shortly before the park's demolition, the ballpark was featured in the movie Only the Lonely . John Candy's character (on a first date) arranged to have a private picnic on the stadium grass under the lights with his date (Ally Sheedy). Candy made a reference of the stadium's impending demolition during the date.

When the Sox won the 2005 World Series, their victory parade began at U.S. Cellular Field, and then circled the block where old Comiskey had stood, before heading on a route through various south side neighborhoods and toward downtown Chicago.

No-hitters at Comiskey

Notable concerts

DateArtistOpening act(s)Tour / Concert nameAttendanceRevenueNotes
August 20, 1965 The Beatles King Curtis
Cannibal and the Headhunters
Brenda Holloway
Sounds Incorporated
1965 US tour 56,000Two shows [31]
July 10, 1976 Aerosmith Jeff Beck
Stu Daye
Rick Derringer
Jan Hammer
Rocks Tour
August 5, 1978 Aerosmith
Foreigner
AC/DC
Mahogany Rush
Walter Egan
Summer Jam
August 19, 1978 The Eagles
Steve Miller Band
Pablo Cruise
August 5, 1979 Journey Molly Hatchet
Eddie Money
Santana
Thin Lizzy
Evolution Tour
August 19, 1979 Rush Permanent Waves TourThis show was part of Chicago Jam 2 concert series. [32]
July 23, 1983 The Police Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
A Flock of Seagulls
The Fixx
Ministry
Synchronicity Tour 50,000As soon as The Police hit the stage, they were covered in a swirl of red, yellow and blue smoke. The red, yellow and blue lighting scheme and video projections were used during the whole show. [33]
July 24, 1983 Simon and Garfunkel Summer Evening Tour
October 12, 1984 The Jacksons Victory Tour 120,000Two shows were moved from Pittsburgh. [34]
October 13, 1984
October 14, 1984

Other events

Boxing

Soccer

DateTeam #1ResultTeam #2AttendanceRound
May 4, 1990Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 2–1Flag of Poland.svg  Poland Semifinals
Flag of Mexico.svg Atlas 2–0Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
May 6, 1990Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 2–1Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica Third place match
Flag of Mexico.svg Atlas 0–0 (4–2 pen)Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 8,783Final

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Spring training training during the spring season, in baseball

In Major League Baseball (MLB), spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Spring training allows new players to try out for roster and position spots, and gives established players practice time prior to competitive play. Spring training has always attracted fan attention, drawing crowds who travel to the warm climates of Arizona and Florida to enjoy the weather and watch their favorite teams play, and spring training usually coincides with spring break for many US college students.

Harry Mitchell Grabiner was an American professional baseball executive. A 40-year employee of the Chicago White Sox, he served the team's owners—founding president Charles Comiskey, son and successor J. Louis Comiskey, and Lou’s widow, Grace—in a number of capacities, rising from peanut vendor to club secretary, business manager and vice president. He is often listed as the White Sox' first general manager, with a term lasting from as early as 1915 through 1945. After leaving the White Sox after the 1945 season, he joined Bill Veeck’s ownership syndicate and became a vice president and minority stockholder with the Cleveland Indians from 1946 until his death in 1948.

References

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Events and tenants
Preceded by
South Side Park
Home of the Chicago White Sox
1910–1990
Succeeded by
Comiskey Park II
Preceded by
Normal Park
Normal Park
Home of the Chicago Cardinals
1922–1925
1929–1959
Succeeded by
Normal Park
Soldier Field
Preceded by
First
Ebbets Field
Olympic Stadium
Host of the All-Star Game
1933
1950
1983
Succeeded by
Polo Grounds
Briggs Stadium
Candlestick Park