Recreation Park (Pittsburgh)

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Recreation Park
Former names Union Park (pre-April 1885)
Pittsburgh Coliseum
Location Allegheny City, PA (pre-1907)
Pittsburgh, PA (post-1907)
Coordinates 40°27′17″N 80°01′07″W / 40.4547°N 80.0186°W / 40.4547; -80.0186Coordinates: 40°27′17″N 80°01′07″W / 40.4547°N 80.0186°W / 40.4547; -80.0186
Capacity 17,000
Surface Grass
Tenants
Baseball
Pittsburgh Enterprises, Xanthas and Olympics (circa. 1876–circa. 1887)
Pittsburgh Allegheny (IA) (1877-1878)
Pittsburgh Stogies (UA) (1884)
Pittsburgh Alleghenys (AA) (1884–1886)
Pittsburgh Alleghenys/Innocents (NL)
(1887-1890)
Football
Pittsburgh Panthers football (1898–1904)
Pittsburgh Stars (NFL) (1902)
Recreation Park on 1893 map

Recreation Park was a stadium located in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. It was the first National League (NL) home to the Pittsburgh Pirates (at the time referred to as the Alleghenys)[1] of Major League Baseball. It also hosted the football team of the University of Pittsburgh, (then known as the Western University of Pennsylvania). In November 1892, the Park was the location of the first known professional American football game. There are no known pictures of the full park in existence.[2]

History[edit]

Known before April 1885[3] as Union Park, the stadium had an initial capacity of 2,500,[4] and was later expanded with wooden grandstands to allow up to 17,000 spectators.[5] Recreation Park was later referred to as the Pittsburgh Coliseum and was used as "a wooden saucer for motor-paced bicycle riding".[6] The park was located within the blocks of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and Grant (now Galveston) Avenues and Boquet (now Behan) Street on what is now Pittsburgh's Northside. In 2001, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates built stadiums not far from this site.

Baseball[edit]

Prior to 1876, three amateur Pittsburgh baseball teams—the Enterprise Club, the Xanthas, and the Olympics—competed, most often at Union Park.[4] In 1876 a professional Allegheny club played its first game against the Xantha club at Union Park, winning 7-3.[7][8] In 1884, the first major league team to play at the park was the Pittsburgh Stogies, of the Union Association. The team had relocated from Chicago, lasting only one season.[2] Flooding at Exposition Park II, due to its close proximity to the Allegheny River, led the Pittsburgh Alleghenies of the American Association (AA) to move to the soon-to-be-named Recreation Park in 1884.[6][9] They posted a record of 18–37 at home that season, finishing 11th in the league.[10] In 1887, owner William A. Nimick agreed to have the club join the NL,[5] and on April 30, the Alleghenies defeated the Chicago White Stockings by a score of 6–2 in front of 10,000 spectators. This was the first officially recognized contest of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise.[11] Prior to one game during that season, Pittsburgh's catcher Fred Carroll, buried his pet monkey beneath home plate.[1][5] In 1891, after the collapse of the Pittsburgh Burghers baseball franchise of the Players' League, the Alleghenys moved to Exposition Park III, which had been constructed for the Burghers.[2][6]

Football[edit]

On November 12, 1892, Recreation Park hosted a game between the Allegheny Athletic Association football team and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. The Allegheny Athletic Association won the game, which was the first in professional football.[12] In 1902, a Pittsburgh Pirates-backed football team, the Pittsburgh Stars of the first National Football League, played all of its home games at the field. The Stars would go on to win the league's only championship against the Philadelphia Athletics, by a score of 11-0, at the field.[13]

1899 WUP team at Recreation Park

The Western University of Pennsylvania (WUP) played their first game of the 1898 season at Recreation Park, defeating Westminster 5–0.[14] Though WUP did play some games at Exposition Park as early as 1900,[15] games were still hosted at Recreation Park,[16] until the University signed an exclusive contract with Exposition Park in 1904.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McCollister, John (2008). The good, the bad, and the ugly Pittsburgh Pirates: heart-pounding, jaw-dropping, and gut-wrenching moments from Pittsburgh Pirates history. Chicago: Triumph Books. pp. 95–6. ISBN 978-1-57243-982-5. 
  2. ^ a b c Finoli, David; Bill Ranier (2003). The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia. United States: Sports Publishing L.L.C. pp. 485–6. ISBN 1-58261-416-4. 
  3. ^ "The Pittsburghs". Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette. March 5, 1885. p. 6, col. 3. 
  4. ^ a b McCollister, John (1998). The Bucs! The Story of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lenexa, Kansas: Addax Publishing Group. p. 21. ISBN 1-886110-40-9. 
  5. ^ a b c "Exposition Park". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  6. ^ a b c Potter, Chris (2008-06-12). "Was there a baseball field that the Pittsburgh Pirates played in before Forbes Field in Oakland?". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  7. ^ McCollister, John (1998). The Bucs!: The Story of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lenexa: Addax Publishing Group. ISBN 1-886110-40-9. 
  8. ^ Lowry, Philip J. (1992). Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All 271 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present. Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 0-201-56777-6. 
  9. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Pittsburgh Pirates. BaseballReference.com. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  10. ^ "1884 Pittsburg Alleghenys". Pittsburgh Pirates. BaseballReference.com. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  11. ^ "1887-1900". Pirates Timeline. PittsburghPirates.com. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  12. ^ "Nov. 12: Birth of pro football". Pro Football History. ProFootballHOF.com. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  13. ^ Carroll, Bob (1980). "Dave Berry and the Philadelphia Story". Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 2 (Annual): 1–9. 
  14. ^ Western University of Pennsylvania. "Foot Ball.". Western University courant 14 (1): 27. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  15. ^ Western University of Pennsylvania. "Athletics". Western University courant 16 (2): 46. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  16. ^ Western University of Pennsylvania. "Athletics". Western University courant 17 (2): 14. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  17. ^ Alberts, Robert C. (1986). Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh, 1787-1987. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 65. ISBN 0-8229-1150-7. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Exposition Park I
Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates
1884–1890
Succeeded by
Exposition Park III
Preceded by
Exposition Park III
Home of the Pittsburgh Panthers
1898–1904
Succeeded by
Exposition Park III