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Oldest Baseball Field In Houston


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I kinow there was an older stadium that the Buffs used before the one on the Gulf Freeway. The reason I ask is on an old map of the city maybe around 1913 there is a baseball park located a few blocks west of the current YMCA location. Anyone have any pics of thsi field?

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I don't think Gonzo was suggesting it was, but West End Park wasn't the first baseball park in the city. West End Park was built around the turn of the century, and baseball had been played in Houston for many years before that. The Texas League formed in the 1880's, with Houston as one of the original members. As far as early baseball park locations go, I know that, in 1887, the Houston Heralds baseball team had a park located "at the head of" Travis Street. And, in 1896, a Houston baseball team played a Chicago baseball team at a "new baseball park at the end of" Travis Street.

Still, West End Park, which was built by the Houston Electric Street Railway Co., near what is now the intersection of Andrews and Heiner, was undoubtedly among the city's earliest baseball parks. It hosted UT/A&M football games in addition to baseball games.

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West End Park, which was built by the Houston Electric Street Railway Co., near what is now the intersection of Andrews and Heiner, was undoubtedly among the city's earliest baseball parks. It hosted UT/A&M football games in addition to baseball games.

Some time back, in a discussion of the old red light district, someone was kind enough to post a very old map of downtown Houston that showed the location of that old baseball field. I recall that it was just east of Heiner, on the other side of the Pierce Elevated, where it does that big long dog leg curve around that Hotel. My best calculation, looking at that old map, is that the ground where those old teams once played baseball is now covered by that hotel and the Leland Federal Bldg.

Edited by FilioScotia
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Some time back, in a discussion of the old red light district, someone was kind enough to post a very old map of downtown Houston that showed the location of that old baseball field. I recall that it was just east of Heiner, on the other side of the Pierce Elevated, where it does that big long dog leg curve around that Hotel. My best calculation, looking at that old map, is that the ground where those old teams once played baseball is now covered by that hotel and the Leland Federal Bldg.

I think this might be the map (1913) to which Filio referred. I've cropped to the area of the ball park. The picture that gonzo posted is in my History of the Texas League book and is dated 1890.

post-873-1214011362_thumb.jpg

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I think this might be the map (1913) to which Filio referred. I've cropped to the area of the ball park. The picture that gonzo posted is in my History of the Texas League book and is dated 1890.

post-873-1214011362_thumb.jpg

I stand corrected, but only by a little bit. Thanks for finding that old map Tbird. On closer inspection we can clearly identify the spot of the present day Dallas St overpass, which is a good landmark for this discussion. It's at the intersection of Heiner and San Felipe, which is now West Dallas. Heiner is now a short service road for I-45 and it ends a short distance away at Brazos and Bagby.

Remembering that I-45 is on the east side of Heiner, we can see that 45 goes south from San Felipe straight through the spot once occupied by the ball park. At about where 45 begins that dogleg curve and becomes the Pierce Elevated. You can trace a curved line south from San Felipe around to the east to overlay Pierce Street.

So the old ball park was in a spot now occupied by a hotel, a federal building, and a freeway. Ah. Progress.

Edited by FilioScotia
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The Bu8ff's would draw 25,000 fans at West End Park according to the boo Houston, The Forgotten City. It makes one think that had The Astrodome been Downtown or has retractable roofs been an option would teh crowds have been better in the 70's and 80's.

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That capacity sounds high for West End Park. I doubt that even Buff Stadium could hold 25,000.

The Bu8ff's would draw 25,000 fans at West End Park according to the boo Houston, The Forgotten City. It makes one think that had The Astrodome been Downtown or has retractable roofs been an option would teh crowds have been better in the 70's and 80's.
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That capacity sounds high for West End Park. I doubt that even Buff Stadium could hold 25,000.

Judging from that old photo, I don't think West End Park could hold much more than a couple of thousand people. And, according our favorite local history buff, Gonzo, old Buff Stadium could pack them in.

Here's his report on the opening of Buff Stadium. "The stadium opened on April 11, 1928, with a 7-5 victory over the Waco Cubs. Up to 15,000 turned out for that game, the largest single gathering for a baseball game in Houston at that time. The previous record was 8,300, set in 1925, according to the Houston Chronicle."

And by the way, in my Googling for more on this, I found this: "Before Buffalo Stadium, Texas League games in Houston were played in West End Park, which was built in 1905. West End Park was located at the north corner of Bagby and Jefferson on the southwest edge of downtown."

That puts it right in the middle of the area now occupied by the Pierce Elevated, that hotel, the Leland Federal Building and some others.

Edited by FilioScotia
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West End Park opened on 4/1/1905, but there was another baseball park around McGowan and Travis before that. From the Galveston paper:

3/1/1904 - Houston Electric Co. subdivided and sold parts of "the baseball park property" located somewhere on McGowan to purchasers planning to build residences on the property.

6/19/1904 - Because of the sale of the old ballpark, including recently the "corner [lot] facing on McGowan avenue opposite Travis street," the Houston team made plans to play temporarily at a baseball park constructed at the Houston Driving Park Association's race park "on the Harrisburg Road in the lower part of the city," but was planning construction of a new ballpark to be ready no later than 1905 "near Westmoreland." The article noted that the old park had difficulties with complaints about noise and "shattered glass and blinds caused by flying balls." "Another year, or possibly this season, may see a new park with new stands and a fine diamond, better and more commodious than any in the State."

8/29/1904 - Report of game at Harrisburg road park

4/1/1905 - "The Houston baseball team for 1905 . . . will open the new baseball park on the San Felipe car line Saturday afternoon."

4/2/1905 - Reported new Houston ballpark opened on Saturday (4/1/1905).

4/17/1905 - Houston's "new baseball park" would be named "West End Park" (there was a competition to come up with a name).

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I stand corrected about the date of West End Park. I have a copy of a streetcar company document from 1897 referring to the "Ball Park" being leased for five years to the "Ball Ball Association", but no specific name or location is given. It makes sense that this would have been at Travis & McGowan because the streetcar company did indeed own a parcel of land there, and this was the terminal of the South End line at that time.

Also, I noticed that the 1900 map of Houston shows the future site of West End Park as "Andrews Estate".

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The information in my previous post that I quoted from my book, The History of the Texas League, was obviously incorrect. It said that the photo was from about 1890, but also stated that the scoreboard in that photo was provided by the Houston Chronicle. The Chronicle didn't come into being until 1901, so their date was incorrect. The book mentioned that Buffalo Stadium was contructed in 1928 on an 18 acre tract on St. Bernard Street (now Cullen Blvd) beside the interurban tracks. Previously the Buffs had played at an unfenced park and, later, at centrally located West End Stadium which seated just 4,000. Buffalo Stadium would seat 14,000 and land and contruction costs totaled $400,000.

I got out an old tape of mine on Baseball in Houston and uploaded a video with some more info and pictures of the old West End Stadium and Buff Stadium. It is in two parts bcause of file size uploading restrictions.

Part 1

Part 2

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