With numerous books and even more numerous websites offering information on ballparks, how do I decide which ballparks to use? Well, it is pretty well determined which parks teams used on a regular basis. Things get foggy when you talk about "short term" or "single game" parks. Things get even crazier with Negro League ballparks. Here is how I do it:
For non-regular ballparks, I only list sites where an OFFICIAL game took place. No barnstorming or exhibition games need apply. I use Retrosheet as my main source. I have taken their list and modified it slightly when someone presents me with evidence that I can't refute.
Negro League parks are the most difficult. The leagues were loosely organized and all teams barnstormed a lot. Some games were official, others were not, and they often changed. After combing through a lot of books, websites, newspapers, and personal interviews, I have decided two things. First of all, even though I know the Negro Leagues lasted to 1961, they were clearly not a "major" league at that point. I have decided to use 1954 as the cut off year for the Negro Leagues because that is when I feel the talent shifted enough to make them a "minor" league. The other thing I have decided on is that the best list for Negro League parks is the one published in the 2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia.
Since baseball has been around since the 1800s, there have been hundreds and hundreds of professional (people who are payed to play) baseball teams all playing in hundreds of parks. So, in making the historical list of parks, I have adhered to the following guidelines.
*NOTE* As time goes on and I am able to conduct more research, this list will be updated.
Here is my list of valuable resources used:
When I created this site, ten years ago, my goal was to offer historical snapshots, both figuratively and literally, of ballparks. My secondary goal, is to personally visit and take photographs of all of the ballpark sites. Sometimes this is exciting, when I come across the skeleton of an old field. More often than not, it is a McDonald's parking lot.
Through countless hours of research, I have tried to offer accurate information. Even if this means I need to make multiple trips to far away cities. There are countless resources available to anyone interested in ballparks, and recently, the most valuable resource, local newspapers, have been made available to anyone in the world with an internet connection. What I am about say isn't meant to degrade the existing sources, but much of the information published has been proven to be inaccurate. I don't blame this on the researchers. When looking at data on obscure facts, such as ballparks of the Negro Leagues in the 1920s, there isn't a lot out there. So often times, if one person gave a bad account, it has been published and republished and eventually taken as gospel.
In my quest for accurate information, I am going to make a few changes to my Negro League pages. First and foremost, I am going to stop updating them until I do a lot of research. This includes everything from changing dates on certain ballparks to visiting sites. I am going to invest this time into pouring over electronic newspaper clippings to create an accurate description of where the teams played.
My goal, is to have a list of the individual Negro League team's "home park" and where they played other LEAGUE games. (Negro League teams are notorious for barnstorming and playing a lot of local semi-pro teams in exhibitions. I am not going to cover this now.) In addition, I want to bring historical snapshots of each of these parks to you.
As I update this site, league by league, I will make a note here, as to which information is accurate and which is incomplete. Currently I am working on the Eastern Colored League.
For the last year, I have spent an awful lot of time at libraries and on the computer, looking at old newspapers. I have decided to release this information through a seperate website that I have not put up yet. I have decided not to attempt to photograph all the sites and provide historical snapshots for these parks. Why you may ask? Well, it isn't fun. There are literally over 300 parks. I have attempted to photograph some, and all I do is run from site to site. That has destroyed why I set out to do this park. I want to take in the location, enjoy the scenery, and contemplate the history. Attempting to photograph these sites would force me to run from site to site and defeat my purpose for this, which is a wonderful excuse to travel. For "lesser" major leagues (and let us be honest, when baseball integrated, there were a lot of players on Negro League teams that could not cut it in the bigs), such as the All American Girls Professional Baseball Association and the Pacific Coast League for a spell, I have not sought out alternate sites.
Now, there are some parks that are special. These parks were used repeatedly and frequently by Negro League teams. I decided to include them. Also there were some cities that saw an awful lot of games (Chester, PA, the Virginia Beach area, and Wilmington). I put up these parks. This isn't meant to short change anyone. You can see the list for yourself. It it just something I need to do, for me, to keep my site going. Thanks for understanding.
I was 21 when I started this project, almost 20 years ago. Since then I have gotten married and started a family. For those of you that have children, you know the two biggest things they cut into are your money and your time. I don't make any money off of this site, so I self fund all of my trips. However, with the changes in my life, I am finding this harder and harder.
In 2017, Major League Baseball and the Player's Association jointly made some organizational changes. The one that affects me the most is that the number of "marketing games" has increased drastically. Since the start of 2017, there have been official games played in Puerto Rico, Monterrey, Mexico, Williamsport, PA and Fort Bragg, NC. There is also pretty strong talk of having a game in London next year. Unfortunately, I don't have the funds or time to hit all of these "neutral sites". I have decided to update my site with pages for all of these sites and noted at the bottom if I have never actually been there. If for some reason, I find myself in Tokyo, Sydney or Fort Bragg, sure I'll snap a photo, but I can't keep up. I am still going to make trips to all of the home parks and the Negro League "home away from home" parks.
Thanks for reading.
© 2002-17 Paul Healey.