First game at Ebbets Field. Image via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
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Baseball has long been a staple in New York City’s culture. Teams like the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Giants have all called New York home, and the city’s stadiums have been host to some of the sport’s most memorable players and its most historic moments.
Even preceding the move of the Yankees, then called the Highlanders, to New York in 1903, “America’s Past Time” had already had quite the history in this city with all of the original teams from the first baseball organization coming from New York City in the 1850’s. But it wasn’t until teams like the Yankees and Dodgers came into existence that New York’s love for the game became what it is today.
While New York City has an extensive history in regards to the sport of baseball, that hasn’t stopped teams from moving to new cities, or moving forward and moving on to new stadiums, often leaving behind buildings to be demolished.
Here are eight of New York’s lost baseball stadiums:1. Ebbets Field, Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Dodgers, now the Los Angeles Dodgers, played in several ballparks from their formation in 1883 before their move to the west coast in 1957, but the most commonly known and most popular stadium was Ebbets Field.
Ebbets Field was opened in Flatbush(now considered Crown Heights) in 1913 at 55 Sullivan Place, Brooklyn, NY as the Dodgers’ new home, moving from Washington Park in Park Slope. The official opening was an exhibition game between the Dodgers and the Yankees on April 5, with the game drawing in approximately 30,000 fans, almost twice the seating capacity at the time.
Ebbets Field has been known as one of the most historic ball parks in the country, with some of baseball’s most iconic moments taking place in Flatbush. In not only a defining moment in baseball, but sports in general, Ebbets Field was the home of Jackie Robinson‘s first start in 1947, marking the first time an African-American was in the lineup. Robinson’s break through the color barrier sent shock waves through the world of sports, and created a ripple effect of more and more teams accepting African American players on their teams.
Two years later, in 1949, Brooklyn was once again the location of a defining moment in the breaking of the color barrier, when the first All-Star game to allow players of all races was played in the only All-Star game to be held at Ebbets Field during its tenure.
As the years continued and the Dodgers grew in popularity, Ebbets Field was soon incapable of keeping up with the demand for seating from the fans. With a maximum capacity of 35,000, it was the smallest stadium in the league. This combined with a failed negotiation by Robert Moses to convince Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley to relocate the team to Flushing Meadows led to the team’s relocation to Los Angeles in 1957.
The stadium was torn down soon after, in 1960, and replaced with apartment complexes that still stand to this day.
While very little remembrances of Ebbets Field still exist in New York City, the only mention in the immediate vicinity of where the stadium once stood is a plaque located at the apartment complexes that took its place stating that it was the former site of Ebbets Field.
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See the other remnants and reminders of Dodgers history in Brooklyn here. Ebbets Field was located at55 Sullivan Place, Brooklyn, NY 11225.