23rd Street Grounds
|Chicago White Stockings|
23rd Street Grounds, also known as State Street Grounds and 23rd Street Park, and sometimes spelled out as Twenty-third Street Grounds, was a ballpark in Chicago. In it, the Chicago White Stockings played baseball from 1874 to 1877, the first two years in the National Association and the latter two in the National League.
The 1871 Great Chicago Fire had put the original White Stockings club out of business, and its best players scattered to other National Association clubs. For 1872, the Chicago Base Ball Association was formed, with the intention of eventually fielding a new Chicago ball club, which it finally did in 1874. Until then, they staged some games figuring to get good attendance and some revenue. In early May, the organization built a new grounds "on 23rd Street near State Street", with the inaugural game coming on May 29, Baltimore defeating Cleveland 5-2.
23rd Street hosted a total of eight National Association games during 1872–1873, along with other contests. The Cleveland and Troy clubs played two and four home games there, respectively, in 1872, when they were struggling economically (both eventually went out of business). The Boston Red Stockings played one in August of 1873 when they were flourishing. Their opponent was the Philadelphia club, and the two clubs played there again a few days later, swapping "home" and "visitor" roles.
The grounds occupied a city block well south and east of the 1871 fire's origin on DeKoven Street. It was bounded by 23rd Street, State Street, 22nd Street (now Cermak Road) and what is now Federal Street. No illustration is known to survive, but contemporary newspaper descriptions imply that the diamond was in the north end of the block; a line drawn from home plate through the pitcher's mound and second base would have pointed south. If so, fair territory would probably have been shaped like a modern five-sided "home plate". (Home plate was square in shape at that time.) It has been discussed in Green Cathedrals, Philip J. Lowry's book on American baseball venues.
The final game played at this park was on Saturday, October 6, 1877. Chicago defeated Louisville 4-0 behind a shutout effort from hurler Laurie Reis. The final home run at the grounds was hit four days earlier by Lip Pike of Cincinnati.
- Jack Bales, "Ballparks," WrigleyIvy.com.
- Jack Bales, Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2019.
- Green Cathedrals, by Philip J. Lowry.
- Retrosheet. "Park Directory". Retrieved 2006-09-04.
- Chicago Tribune, Oct. 3rd and 7th editions.
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