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
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Images

Audio

The End Of League Park
Bob Dibiasio of the Cleveland Indians organization discusses League Park history
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Ballgames At League Park
former sports reporter Jacob Rosenheim compare the atmosphere of League Park in the 1940s with today's modern stadiums
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The Death Of Ray Chapman
Bob Dibiasio recounts the 1920 death of Cleveland baseball player Ray Chapman
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