Filed Under Sports

League Park

The construction of the massive, 70,000 seat Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the 1930s spelled the end for a much older stadium: League Park. Constructed in 1891 east of downtown in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood, League Park – despite renovations in 1910 that replaced the original wood with concrete and steel, expanding capacity to over 20,000 – was deemed to be too small and antiquated for professional sports after Municipal Stadium opened. The Indians played their last game at League Park in 1946, but for ten years prior to that they had been playing weekend and holiday games at the bigger stadium on the lakefront.

League Park was the site of the 1920 World Series, in which the Indians beat the Brooklyn Dodgers for their first ever championship. In the 1940s, the park also housed the Cleveland Rams – the last of a series of Cleveland professional football teams predating the Browns – and the Negro League's Cleveland Buckeyes, Negro League champions in 1945. Much of the stadium was demolished in the early 1950s, when the site became a public park. However, a few remnants – including the baseball diamond itself – still remain in place today.

The Indians initially achieved success after departing League Park, but the team's fortunes soon declined. The last thirty years or so of the Indians' tenure at Municipal Stadium was marked by losing seasons and tens of thousands of empty seats.

Video

The History of a Neighborhood Ballpark Baseball historian Scott Longert describes the history of League Park. Bob DiBiasio of the Cleveland Indians organization describes the end of the League Park era. Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

Audio

The End Of League Park Bob DiBiasio of the Cleveland Indians organization discusses League Park history Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Ballgames at League Park Former sports reporter Jacob Rosenheim compares the atmosphere of League Park in the 1940s with today's modern stadiums. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
The Death Of Ray Chapman Bob DiBiasio recounts the 1920 death of Cleveland baseball player Ray Chapman Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Sneaking a Peek Boys sneaking a peek of a game at League Park Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Stadium Dimensions Architects made League Park fit snugly into the small city blocks of the Hough neighborhood. To make up for the short distance from home plate to right field, the right field wall was over 40 feet tall. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
1920 World Series Crowds line the streets outside League Park during the 1920 World Series. This World Series was one of baseball's most memorable. It included the first triple play, first grand slam, and first home run by a pitcher in World Series history. The Indians beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in five of seven games to win their first title. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: 1920
Boxing, ca. 1920s League Park hosted other sports besides baseball, such as boxing and football. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: ca. 1920s
Gehrig and Ruth at League Park, 1927 Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run at League Park on August 11, 1929 Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: 1927
League Park, ca. 1911 League Park was constructed in the heart of a residential neighborhood. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: ca. 1911
Ticket Line at League Park, 1940. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: 1940
Satchell Paige and Bob Feller, ca. 1948 Feller pitched his first major league game at League Park in 1936. Although Paige never played at League Park as an Indian, it is likely that he played there often during his days in the Negro Leagues. League Park was home to the Negro League's 1945 champs, the Cleveland Buckeyes. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: ca. 1948
Old Timers Game, 1921 Posing are the participants in an "Old Timers Game" at League Park (then known as Dunn Field) on July 29, 1921. Source: The Library of Congress Date: 1921

Location

Metadata

Michael Rotman, “League Park,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 28, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/16.