Ridgewood Park (baseball ground)

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Ridgewood Park Grandstand, 1922
This contemporary map clearly distinguishes the “Ridgewood Baseball Grounds”, near the railroad tracks, from “Ridgewood Grove” (Grauer’s Ridgewood Park) between “J. Geo. Grauer Brewery” and “Gerken’s Colosium”.

Ridgewood Park, also known as Wallace's Ridgewood Park or the Wallace Grounds,[1][2] and frequently confused with Grauer's Ridgewood Park, was a baseball ground located in Ridgewood. Both[which?] are shown in Belcher Hyde's Map of Newtown in 1915, including Grauer's brewery.[3] The baseball field was part of a larger entertainment area bounded Wyckoff Avenue, Covert Street, Halsey Street and Irving Avenue. The baseball field was southwest of the Long Island Rail Road Montauk Branch tracks. Eldert Street, although depicted on the map as running through the baseball grounds, was not cut through southwest of the railroad tracks and the road remains interrupted there today. Originally the park was located in Queens County, before its incorporation into New York City in 1899. This facilitated Sunday baseball playing, including the charging of admission, beyond the reach of Sabbath enforcers from the then City of Brooklyn.

Grauer's Ridgewood Park or Grauer's woods was several blocks north and bounded by Myrtle Avenue, Cypress Avenue, Seneca Avenue and Decatur Street. Although some baseball was played here, this area was more of a picnic park. George Schubel, in 1913 lyrically describes the pleasures of Grauer's Ridgewood Park: "Here the German families of another generation assembled and enjoyed themselves in innocent recreation very much in the manner that they were accustomed to do across the seas. Most of these parks have been eliminated, owing to the increase in land values and the decline of this sort of amusement." He also notes that "This once beautiful park is now cut up with such streets as Centre Street, George Street, Norman Street, Summerfield Street and Willow Street, running through the land."[4]

The land that would become Ridgewood Park was purchased by William Wallace in 1884. On April 5, 1885 the first game was played between the Brooklyn Atlantics and the Ridgewoods before a reported 3,000 fans. According to Retrosheet, Ridgewood Park was used by the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers from 1887-1890[5] after they played the 1886 season at Grauer's [6] The field was home to the semipro Ridgewoods, later the Brooklyn Bushwicks and the Negro League Brooklyn Royal Giants also played there.

On September 19 of 1917, the grandstand burned precipitating the Bushwicks' move to Dexter Park (Queens) in 1918. Wallace apparently intended to subdivide the land put it up for sale in that year, but ultimately he would rebuild and the property was not sold until 1927. [7] Although it was gradually reduced in size, the park survived and hosted soccer and other sports as Grand Stadium until 1959, when it was replaced by industrial buildings.[8]

Curiously, it appears that Grand Stadium once again played host to the Dodgers as a training site in its waning years. The Eagle reported on February 26 of 1947 that Branch Rickey "looked refreshed on his arrival at Grand Stadium to watch the 20 who had been tempted [by Mexican promoter, Pasquel's contract offers] and 30 other Dodgers go through their long drill." Although this passing reference does not conclusively establish the connection, it seems that the Dodgers returned briefly to their old stomping grounds some 60 years later. [9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brooklyn's Eastern district / Eugene L. Armbruster. Brooklyn, New York, 1942.OCLC 651941171
  2. ^ http://www.queenslibrary.org/search/apachesolr_search/771443
  3. ^ Atlas of the Borough of Queens, City of New York Volume 2A. Ward 2. Newtown by and under the supervision of Hugo Ullitz. New York : E. Belcher Hyde, 1915, Doublepage Plate 22.[1]
  4. ^ Illustrated history of Greater Ridgewood, together with brief sketches of its industries, organizations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men / George Schubel. Ridgewood, N.Y. : Ridgewood Times Print and Pub. Co., 1913. OCLC 306313
  5. ^ Wallace's Ridgewood Park in New York, NY". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved December 5, 2013. [2]
  6. ^ Grauer's Ridgewood Park in New York, NY". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved December 5, 2013. [3]
  7. ^ Major league ballparks in New York City Area, 1860-1914 / by William Cahill. [Brooklyn, New York : William Cahill, between 1990-1999.] v. 4" [4]OCLC 50144180
  8. ^ BrooklynBallParks.com-Ridgewood Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  9. ^ "Rickey and Dodgers Brush Off Pasquel" Brooklyn Daily Eagle, (February 26, 1947, page 15)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°41′42″N 73°54′24″W / 40.69500°N 73.90667°W / 40.69500; -73.90667