St. Paul, MN
|Team: St. Paul Saints||League: Western League|
|AKA: Dale and Aurora Grounds, St. Albans Field|
The below article is from Stew Thornley's Twin Cities Ballparks.
"A new minor league, the Western League, was formed in 1894. It was a league whose president, Ban Johnson, hoped would eventually become a major league. Minneapolis was a charter member in 1894 but St. Paul didn't get a team until the next year. The Sioux City franchise was dropped from the league, and a new team, in St. Paul, was granted to Charles Comiskey, one of the greatest first basemen of his time who finally retired as an active player and decided to try his hand at ownership.
Comiskey needed a place for his team to play. In early April 1895, he began the process to build a ball park in the block between Dale and St. Albans streets and Aurora and Fuller avenues.
The grandstand and two sets of bleachers provided 3,000 seats within the ballpark. During some exhibition games played before the regular season, though, Comiskey discovered that another 1,000 people were able to watch the game from a hill along St. Albans Street. Of course, these were not paying fans, and Comiskey moved to put an end to their freeloading by erecting additional stands on that side of the field. On the morning of the first regular-season game, Tuesday, May 7, 1895, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, 'The advantageous position on the hill has been blocked by a high row of seats on that corner of the park, and that congregation of person who would otherwise probably not pay their half-dollar to see the game will be disappointed.'
Prior to the first official game, the Saints and the Milwaukee team toured the city in a couple trolley cars, headed by a car containing a band. The parade ended at the ballpark, where the teams worked out for a couple hours before the game began at 3:30. Tony Mullane started on the mound for the Saints and also homered in the game, which was delayed by rain for about a half-hour in the third inning. Despite rain that caused a 30-minute delay in the third inning, the attendance was 3,000, and the Saints won 18 to 4.
Although Comiskey eliminated the free view from St. Albans, he quickly discovered another problem, according to the article 'When Charlie Comiskey Came to St. Paul' by the Junior Pioneer Association (on file at the Minnesota Historical Society): 'Within a few weeks the small fry had bored more than 200 peep-holes in the fence. Comiskey merely grumbled, 'Boys will be boys,' and created a second fence six inches inside the other.'
This ball park was called, alternately, the 'Dale and Aurora Grounds' or, more simply, 'Comiskey Park.' In addition to owning and managing the Saints, Charles Comiskey played 17 games as a first baseman, which marked the end of his career as an active player.
The Saints had another problem with this park than just fans getting a free peek at the game. Some people in this neighborhood objected to Sunday baseball and got a judge to grant an injunction prohibiting games on Sunday. Comiskey arranged to have the Saints play a couple of Sunday games at the Minnehaha Driving Grounds in Minneapolis."
© 2015-17 Paul Healey.