Crosley Field , which was located at Findlay Street and Western Avenue, opened on April 11, 1912 and was home to the Cinncinati Reds for 58 seasons.
With an initial construction cost of $225,000, it had seating for only 25,000 fans, making it one of the smallest baseballball parks of it's time.
The Cinncinati Reds' original park stood at the same spot. League Park, which was re-named Palace of the Fans in 1893, was destroyed by fire in 1911.
First called Redland Field, the park followed the times by being constructed of concrete, steel and bricks, featuring a covered, double deck grandstand that wrapped around the back of home plate and extended only 30 feet up both baselines.
The small outfield bleachers had room for only 4,500 fans.
In 1934, Powell Crosley, Jr became the owner of the Reds. The ball park was renamed Crosley Field.
After the 1937 season, the outfield distances were shortened by moving home plate out twenty feet. In 1939 roof covered decks were added to left and right field giving the stadium an extra 5,000 seats.
Due to poor attendance, the Reds installed lights in 1935, so that working fans could attend Reds games at night.
President Franklin Roosevelt threw the switch for a baseball first. The first night game in major league history on May 24, 1935. Cincinnati beat the Philles 2-1.
That season the Reds played seven night games. One against each National League team. One player commented that, "..it's a beautiful day for a night game."
One of the distinguishing characteristics of this great old ball park was the grass covered terrace that sloped up to the fence across left field. This terrace "tripped up" many an outfielder. The old ball park was also known for it's tight dimensions. Especially center field.
By the 1960s, the stadium was in decline, structurally. Also, the city of Cincinnati wanted to build a stadium that would house the Reds and their NFL counter part Cincinnati Bengals. In the mid season of 1970, the Reds moved into fabulous Riverfront Stadium. Crosley Field fell to the wrecking ball in 1972.
Today, only a few seats from the grand old stadium commemorate Crosley Field at it's original location.
Crosley Field Dimensions:
The original dimensions had the left field fence at 360 feet, 380 feet in the alley in left center and a distant 420 feet in center field.
Right center field was at 383 feet and the right field line stood 360 from home plate. The backstop was set 38 feet behing the plate.
By 1958 the dimensions had changed. Left field was moved in to 328 feet. Left center remained at 380. Center field was moved in to a very short 383 feet and right field was moved back six feet to 366 feet. The back stop was also moved back making it a distant 78 feet.
One of the fun things about Crosley Field was the sign on the left field wall. Seibler Suits rewarded any player that hit their sign with a new suit. The Reds Wally Post led the league in new suits by hitting the sign 16 times.
Crosley Field hosted two All Star games. 1938 and 1953.
On June 10, 1944, Joe Nuxall debuted at the age of 15, making him the youngest player ever.
Hank Aaron got his 3,000 hit on May 17, 1970.
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