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Braves Field

From Academic Kids

Braves FieldThe Bee Hive
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Opened August 18, 1915
Closed September 21, 1952
Capacity 40,000
Owned By Boston Braves
Architect:

Osborn Engineering

Dimensions:
Left






Left-Center






Center





Right-Center





Right


402 ft. (1915), 375 ft. (1921), 404 ft. (1922), 403 ft. ([1926]), 320 ft. (April 21, 1928), 353.5 ft. (July 24, 1928), 340 ft. (1930), 353.67 ft. (1931), 359 ft. (1933), 353.67 ft. (1934), 368 ft. (1936), 350 ft. (1940), 337 ft. (1941), 334 ft. (1942), 340 ft. (1943), 337 ft. (1944)

402.5 ft. (1915), 396 ft. (1916), 402.42 ft. (1921), 404 ft. (1922), 402.5 ft. (1926), 330 ft. (April 21, 1928), 359 ft. (July 24, 1928), 365 ft. (1942), 355 ft. (1943)

440 ft. (1915), 387 ft. (April 21, 1928), 417 ft. (July 24, 1928), 387.17 ft. (1929), 394.5 ft. (1930), 387.25 ft. (1931), 417 ft. (1933), 426 ft. (1936), 407 ft. (1937), 408 ft. (1939), 385 ft. (1940), 401 ft. (1941), 375 ft. (1942), 370 ft. (1943), 390 ft. (1944), 380 ft. (1945), 370 ft. (1946)

402 ft. (1915), 362 ft. (1942), 355 ft. (1943)

402 ft. (1915), 375 ft. (1916), 365 ft. (1921), 364 ft. (1928), 297.75 ft. (1929), 297.92 ft. (1931), 364 ft. (1933), 297 ft. (1936), 376 ft. (1937), 378 ft. (1938), 350 ft. (1940), 340 ft. (April 1943), 320 ft. (July 1943), 340 ft. (April 1944), 320 ft. (May 1944), 340 ft. (April 1946), 320 ft. (May 1946), 318 ft. (1947), 320 ft. (1948), 319 ft. (1948);

Braves Field was a baseball park that formerly stood on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. The stadium was home to the Boston Braves from 1915-1952, when the team moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The stadium was also known as The Bee Hive (or National League Park, formally) from 1936-1941, a period during which the owners changed the nickname of the team to the Boston Bees (the renaming of the team and stadium never took hold with the public, and were both eventually dropped.) It was also the home of a National Football League franchise which began in 1932 and also called itself the Boston Braves for one year. The next year, the team changed its name to the Redskins and moved to Fenway Park. In 1937 the team transferred south to become the Washington Redskins.

The owner of the team at the time the stadium was built, James Gaffney, wanted to see the game played in a wide open field conducive to allowing numerous inside-the-park home runs. Thus, the stadium was built in what was, at the time, the outskirts of Boston, in a large plot. The stands were almost entirely in foul territory, leaving little in the outfield to which players could hit a home run into - with the fences over 400 feet away down the lines and nearly 500 feet to dead center, hitting the ball over the outer fences was all but impossible. A stiff breeze coming in from center field across the Charles River further lessened any chances of seeing home runs fly out of the park. The only possible target in the outfield was a small bleacher section, which came to be known as The Jury Box after a sportswriter noticed during one slow mid-week game that there were only twelve individuals sitting in the 2,000-seat stand.

In fact, it would take 10 years, and a livelier ball, before a batter hit a home run that cleared the outer wall on the fly. Meanwhile, it remained a pitchers' park, perhaps never more so than on May 1, 1920, when Brooklyn Robins pitcher Leon Cadore and Braves pitcher Joe Oeschger locked horns for a pair of complete-game performances that went on for a still-record 26 innings. After all that work, the game ended in a 1-1 tie, called on account of darkness.

At the advent of the lively ball era, it became clear that the fans were unhappy with Gaffney's vision of how baseball should be played, and inner fences were built, and regularly moved, being moved in and out based on the whims. The ownership of the team even went so far as to shift the entire field in a clockwise direction (towards right field) at one point.

After the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1952, the stadium was sold to Boston University, which eventually reconfigured the stands, demolishing all but the pavilion grandstand along the right field line, which was retained as the core of a football, soccer and field hockey stadium named Nickerson Field. It still stands, along with part of Gaffney's original outer wall, and the ticket office which was converted to the university police station. The rest of the stadium was demolished and replaced by dormitories.

Sources:

  • Lost Ballparks, by Lawrence Ritter
  • Green Cathedrals, by Phil Lowry
  • Ballparks of North America, by Michael Benson
  • Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century, by Marc Okkonen
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