Russwood Park

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Russwood Park was a stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. It was primarily used for baseball and was the home of the Memphis Chicks minor league baseball team until the spring of 1960. The ballpark was originally built in 1896, and was known as Elm Wood Park. In 1915, team owner Russell E. Garner incorporated his name into the ballpark's name.

Prior to its dramatic end, the ballpark was best known for being among the more uniquely shaped ballfields in the country. It was built on a six-sided, asymmetrical block, with the deepest parts of left and right fields being significantly farther from home plate than straightaway center. Some of its boundary streets were Pauline Street (east, right field), Madison Avenue (south, home plate), and Hospital Street (west, left field).

One of its better-known non-baseball events was a concert held by Memphis' adoptive son Elvis Presley on July 4, 1956.

The largest crowd attendance for wrestling in Memphis was set on August 17, 1959 at Russwood Park. The main event was Billy Wicks and Sputnik Monroe fighting to a no contest for Monroe's Tennessee Championship.Attendance for the event has been reported to be between 17,000 and 18,000. The record would stand until the Monday Night Wars Era.

The final event at the old ballpark was a pre-season exhibition game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960.

The ballpark was a relic, constructed primarily of wood. That night after the game, a fire of undetermined origin destroyed the ballpark. The blaze threatened the Baptist Hospital across the street from it, and patients had to be evacuated.

The Chicks played in a temporary facility for the 1960 season and then moved elsewhere. A revived minor league entry for the city, called the Memphis Blues, began play in 1968 at the new Tim McCarver Stadium.

Sources[edit]

  • Baseball Parks of North America by Michael Benson, 1989.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°08′27″N 90°01′48″W / 35.140766°N 90.030084°W / 35.140766; -90.030084