As part of our new collection, Baseball Cathedrals - today we introduce you to the home of the Cleveland Buckeyes - League Park.
BIRTH OF A BASEBALL CATHEDRAL
League Park was built in 1891 and was home to the Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro American League. In addition to baseball, League Park was also used for football for both college and early NFL teams.
The park opened May 1, 1891, with 9,000 seats, with the first pitch by Cy Young. The ballpark was configured to fit into the Cleveland street grid, making a rather odd rectangular shape - left field was 385 feet, 460 feet to center, and 290 feet to right field. There was also a 40 foot fence which is 3 feet higher than the Green Monster in Boston's Fenway Park.
Lights were never installed until July 27, 1931, when the Homestead Grays and the House of David would borrow the portable lighting system used by the Kansas City Monarchs.
The Cleveland Indians continued to own League Park until 1950 when they sold it to the city for $150,000.
- August 11, 1929: Babe Ruth hit his 500th career home run, the first player to achieve that milestone.
- July 16, 1941: The final game of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. The streak was snapped the following night at Cleveland Stadium.
- 1945: The Cleveland Buckeyes won the 1945 Negro World Series.
- December 2, 1945: The Cleveland Rams played their last game at League Park by topping the Boston Yanks, 20–7. Two weeks later, at Cleveland Stadium, they defeated the Washington Redskins, 15–14, to win the NFL Championship. A month later the franchise moved to Los Angeles.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
In 2019, British Artist Andy Brown became the first to paint all 30 MLB ballparks live during a single season. To date he has painted over 90 ballparks, in 9 countries, all within 9 innings. This collection celebrates the Baseball Cathedrals of the Negro Leagues. Within his work he aims to capture the atmosphere and experience of the ballpark along with their importance to our collective identity, history and culture. His work has received recognition from the BBC, ESPN, MLB Network, Fox Sports, Buckingham Palace and others. It is also held in the collections of museums, teams, fans and art lovers worldwide - there is also a question about his work in the board game Trivial Pursuit.
Graphic Design by Jillian Brown