Early Polo Grounds, The (Images of Baseball)

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Some sources state that center field was feet from home, but that was probably the distance to the big scoreboard atop the clubhouse. The second-floor clubhouse hung about ten feet over the center field wall, where there was a monument to Edward Grant, a Giants player who was killed in World War I.

Polo Grounds – History of New York City

Along the sides of that "nook" were stairways leading up to each team's locker rooms. The grandstands and bleachers in center field were so far away that it's hard to imagine how the poor fans sitting out there could have ever seen what was going on at home plate. As if the extreme dimensions weren't enough, both teams' bullpens were actually in play in the right and left center field corners.

Just about any ball hit that far would probably be an inside-the-park home run anyway, but still, you'd think they would at least try to avoid needless controversies by putting up a small fence around the bullpens like they did at Washington's Griffith Stadium. Or they could have simply put the bullpens in that spacious foul territory!

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Without a doubt, the most dramatic event in the Polo Grounds' history was Bobby Thomson's game-winning home run in the playoff game when the Giants beat the Dodgers. The most spectacular defensive play was Willie Mays' incredible catch of the long drive to center field hit by Vic Wertz of the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, which turned the momentum in the Giants' favor. Only four people ever hit home runs into the center field bleachers, and the last two came on consecutive days in , by Lou Brock and Hank Aaron.

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  • Throughout its history, advertisements were a key aspect that defined the Polo Grounds' ambience. From the very earliest days the turn of the 20th Century , the outfield walls were full of commercial ads, which also adorned the back sides of the bleachers. This continued until the s, more or less, when the outfield walls were painted solid green and distance markers were posted for the first time.

    It was at that time that a huge advertising sign was place on the front side of the office building in center field: From the s through , it was for Chesterfield cigarettes, from through it was for Knickerbocker beer, and in and it was for Reingold beer. Note that in the final two years advertisements once again filled the outfield walls, which had a powder blue background color.

    Polo Grounds (New York)

    Dark, creepy, archaic, bizarre, and ill-suited for baseball viewing, the Polo Grounds offered fewer and fewer incentives for the Giants to stay there as the years passed. There were some protests from Giants fans, but the move ultimately caused much less emotional anguish compared to what Brooklynites suffered. The center field distance marker was changed from "" to "," but it turns out that diamond was not moved eight feet forward. I base this conclusion on the fact that multiple photos show that the foul lines extended intersected the dugouts at the same point as they had when the Giants played there in the s.

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    The foul poles did not move, either. New distance markers were placed on the right and left field walls, but not as many as before. NOTE: The diagram thumbnails have been continually replaced since , so the images seen in the older blog posts do not reflect how the full-size diagrams looked at that time. Roll your mouse over the adjacent thumbnail to see a pre version. Have you been to this stadium? If so, feel free to share your impressions of it with other fans!

    Registration is required. Also, I welcome submissions of original stadium photos that fans have taken, and will make sure they get properly credited. Just send me an e-mail message via the Contact page. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your agreement to the Terms of Use.

    Polo Grounds IV

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