Ballparks of the Deadball Era

A Comprehensive Study of Their Dimensions, Configurations and Effects on Batting, 1901–1919


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About the Book

While most serious fans know that the Deadball Era was characterized by low scoring, aggressive baserunning, and strong pitching, few understand the extent to which ballparks determined the style of play. As it turns out, the general absence of standardization and the ever-changing dimensions, configurations, and ground rules had a profound effect on the game, as offensive production would rise and fall, sometimes dramatically, from year to year. Especially in the early years of the American League, home teams enjoyed an unprecedented advantage over visiting clubs. The 1901 Orioles are a case in point, as the club batted an astounding .325 at Oriole Park IV—some 60 points above their road average and 54 points better than visitors to the park.
Organized by major league city, this comprehensive study of Deadball parks and park effects provides fact-filled, data-heavy commentary on all 34 ballparks used by the American and National Leagues from 1901 through 1919. Illustrations and historical photos are included, along with a foreword by Philip J. Lowry and a final chapter that offers an assessment of the overall impact of parks on the era.

About the Author(s)

Ronald M. Selter has written numerous journal articles. A retired economist who worked with the United States Air Force’s space program, Selter lives in El Segundo, California.

Bibliographic Details

Ronald M. Selter
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 198
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos, diagrams, tables, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2008]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6625-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5264-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Philip J. Lowry      v

Preface      1

Introduction: Baseball in the Deadball Era      5

Abbreviations      11

1. BALTIMORE      13

Oriole Park IV      13

2. BOSTON      17

South End Grounds III      17

Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds      22

Fenway Park      28

Braves Field      33

3. BROOKLYN      37

Washington Park III      38

Ebbets Field      42

4. CHICAGO      47

West Side Grounds      48

South Side Park III      53

Comiskey Park I      59

Weeghman Park /Cubs Park      63

5. CINCINNATI      71

League Park II      72

Palace of the Fans      74

Redland Field      78

6. CLEVELAND      81

League Park III      82

League Park IV      86

7. DETROIT      90

Bennett Park      90

Burns Park      97

Navin Field      100

8. MILWAUKEE      103

Lloyd Street Grounds      103

9. NEW YORK      107

Polo Grounds IV      108

Hilltop Park      113

Polo Grounds V      121

10. PHILADELPHIA      125

Baker Bowl      126

Columbia Park II      132

Shibe Park      135

11. PITTSBURGH      140

Exposition Park III      141

Forbes Field      145

12. ST. LOUIS      151

Robison Field      152

Sportsman’s Park III      157

Sportsman’s Park IV      161

13. WASHINGTON      167

American League Park I      167

American League Park II      171

Griffith Stadium      174


The Impact of Ballparks on Batting in the Deadball Era      180

Chapter Notes      183

Bibliography      187
Index      189

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Larry Ritter Book Award—SABR. Winner, Sporting News–SABR Baseball Research Award
“meticulously researched…will remain the definitive work in this area for a long time to come”—SABR Bibliography Committee Newsletter; “a statistical study unlike any other…recommends”—ARBA.