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Memories of Crosley Field.

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  • LouRugani
    My memories of Crosley Field Written by Bob Carpenter Friday, 24 June 2011 I have often found it somewhat amazing that certain events, certain people, certain
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 26, 2011
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      My memories of Crosley Field

      Written by Bob Carpenter

      Friday, 24 June 2011

      I have often found it somewhat amazing that certain events, certain people, certain places, and even certain scents can trigger that portion of your brain where all the memories of life are stored and bring them once again to the forefront of one's thoughts.

      I experience this phenomenon quite often. Last week I was watching the Ken Burns documentary on baseball and one of the scenes from that TV show was that of Crosley Field.
      There it was. I had not seen a picture of Crosley Field for over 50 years. I had almost forgotten that it once existed.

      The memories that I had stored in the corners of my mind of that old ballpark came rushing back. I could not concentrate on the remaining parts of the documentary for thinking about all the experiences that I had in my youth of this place where baseball was played in the 1940s.

      Unfortunately the number that can have any recollection of this grand old ballpark are diminishing. I doubt if anyone under the age of 50 has any remembrance of it at all. For those, Crosley Field was the home of the Cincinnati Reds back in the early 1900s until the concrete monster River Front Stadium was built.
      It was located on the west side of Cincinnati on the corner of Finley Street and Western Avenue. It was located in what we would today call "Over the Rhine." It was named after a brilliant Cincinnati entrepreneur by the name of Powel Crosley Jr. who purchased the Reds team in order to keep them from leaving Cincinnati.

      Powel Crosley was also noted for owning radio station WLW and manufacturing the first massed produced radio, along with home appliances of which the Crosley refrigerator was the most noted and was in the kitchen of almost every home in America. He also manufactured Crosley automobiles. During World War II, Crosley was involved in the invention of the radar technology that we have today.

      Around the age of 10, my goal in life was to attend a baseball game at Crosley Field. In 1940 that was a dream more than a reality. In 1940 we just did not get in the car and drive to the ballpark. My parents did not own a car, and even if they did I doubt if, given the economy at that time, driving to a ballgame would have been a priority.

      My first trip to Crosley Field came as a result of a friendship that I had with a childhood chum by the name of Alan Linn. His parents happened to be friends of the major league umpire Larry Goetz. It so happened that when in Cincinnati Mr. Goetz would occasionally invite the Linns to a ball game at Crosley Field. On this particular occasion the Linns invited me to attend the game with them. It was a day that I will never forget. We had the best seats in the park. I could reach out and touch the players.

      Before the game we were allowed on the field and after the game we were allowed to sit in the dugout. There I was, a dream come true, as I was able to reach out and touch such players as Frank Mc Cormick, Eddie Miller, Billie Weber, Lonnie Frye, Bucky Walters and Paul Derringer. For a kid of 10 who loved baseball, it didn't get any better than that.

      After the game we were invited to the Goetz's home for dinner. Me, having dinner with a major league umpire, what's the chances of that ever happening? Mr. Goetz, sensing my fascination with the game, brought a supply of official major league baseballs which had been used in the game, and gave them to me to take home!

      The park itself was charming. It was only two levels high and when you first entered the park from the front entrance you were awestruck by the sight of the brightly colored seats, the lush green grass, and the outline of the base paths. Is there anything more striking than a manicured big league baseball field?

      There was this unique raised terrace that ran along the perimeter of the outfield wall. I had heard Waite Hoyt call the Reds game and many times he would speak of an out fielder running up the terrace to catch a fly ball. I now knew what he was talking about.

      There was this gigantic scoreboard in left field. All the numbers posted on the scoreboard were done by an individual behind the score board. No jumbotron here!

      The outfield walls were covered with advertising. Two I can remember well, the Young and Bertke Company and the Schearer/Bauer Box Company. Little did I know, at the time, that I would later have a close association with the Schearer Box Company. While in the shoe business I purchased thousands of shoe boxes from them. They also supplied me with baseball tickets throughout those years.

      Part of the enjoyment of the park was the scent of popcorn, hot dogs, and beer all mixed together. The scents would be wafting through the air blocks from the park.

      Mr. Crosley had come up with the idea of night baseball, and it was first played at Crosley Field. As I grew into my teenage years, I, along with several of my friends, would hitchhike to the park. The experiences we shared in those adventures would fill volumes!

      The old ball park, much to my dismay, was finally demolished to make way for I-75. I personally would have preferred that the ball park stay.

      Crosley Field, "Like the corners of my mind, scattered pictures of the times we left behind!"
    • Geoff and Luan Male
      Thanks for sending this Lou, it brings back a lot of memories for me too. Especially the hot dogs and the sun/ moon deck. What a great place that was! My Dad
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 26, 2011
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        Thanks for sending this Lou, it brings back a lot of memories for me too. Especially the hot dogs and the sun/ moon deck. What a great place that was! My Dad always told me they started cooking the hot dogs on opening day, and they just simmered in the same water all season. I wasn't old enough to drink beer, but man, those were the best hot dogs I've ever had. Wally Post, big Ted Kluszewski, Gus Bell, Johnny Temple, great teams. Thanks again.
        At 09:06 PM 6/26/2011, you wrote:
         

        My memories of Crosley Field

        Written by Bob Carpenter

        Friday, 24 June 2011

        I have often found it somewhat amazing that certain events, certain people, certain places, and even certain scents can trigger that portion of your brain where all the memories of life are stored and bring them once again to the forefront of one's thoughts.

        I experience this phenomenon quite often. Last week I was watching the Ken Burns documentary on baseball and one of the scenes from that TV show was that of Crosley Field.
        There it was. I had not seen a picture of Crosley Field for over 50 years. I had almost forgotten that it once existed.

        The memories that I had stored in the corners of my mind of that old ballpark came rushing back. I could not concentrate on the remaining parts of the documentary for thinking about all the experiences that I had in my youth of this place where baseball was played in the 1940s.

        Unfortunately the number that can have any recollection of this grand old ballpark are diminishing. I doubt if anyone under the age of 50 has any remembrance of it at all. For those, Crosley Field was the home of the Cincinnati Reds back in the early 1900s until the concrete monster River Front Stadium was built.
        It was located on the west side of Cincinnati on the corner of Finley Street and Western Avenue. It was located in what we would today call "Over the Rhine." It was named after a brilliant Cincinnati entrepreneur by the name of Powel Crosley Jr. who purchased the Reds team in order to keep them from leaving Cincinnati.

        Powel Crosley was also noted for owning radio station WLW and manufacturing the first massed produced radio, along with home appliances of which the Crosley refrigerator was the most noted and was in the kitchen of almost every home in America. He also manufactured Crosley automobiles. During World War II, Crosley was involved in the invention of the radar technology that we have today.

        Around the age of 10, my goal in life was to attend a baseball game at Crosley Field. In 1940 that was a dream more than a reality. In 1940 we just did not get in the car and drive to the ballpark. My parents did not own a car, and even if they did I doubt if, given the economy at that time, driving to a ballgame would have been a priority.

        My first trip to Crosley Field came as a result of a friendship that I had with a childhood chum by the name of Alan Linn. His parents happened to be friends of the major league umpire Larry Goetz. It so happened that when in Cincinnati Mr. Goetz would occasionally invite the Linns to a ball game at Crosley Field. On this particular occasion the Linns invited me to attend the game with them. It was a day that I will never forget. We had the best seats in the park. I could reach out and touch the players.

        Before the game we were allowed on the field and after the game we were allowed to sit in the dugout. There I was, a dream come true, as I was able to reach out and touch such players as Frank Mc Cormick, Eddie Miller, Billie Weber, Lonnie Frye, Bucky Walters and Paul Derringer. For a kid of 10 who loved baseball, it didn't get any better than that.

        After the game we were invited to the Goetz's home for dinner. Me, having dinner with a major league umpire, what's the chances of that ever happening? Mr. Goetz, sensing my fascination with the game, brought a supply of official major league baseballs which had been used in the game, and gave them to me to take home!

        The park itself was charming. It was only two levels high and when you first entered the park from the front entrance you were awestruck by the sight of the brightly colored seats, the lush green grass, and the outline of the base paths. Is there anything more striking than a manicured big league baseball field?

        There was this unique raised terrace that ran along the perimeter of the outfield wall. I had heard Waite Hoyt call the Reds game and many times he would speak of an out fielder running up the terrace to catch a fly ball. I now knew what he was talking about.

        There was this gigantic scoreboard in left field. All the numbers posted on the scoreboard were done by an individual behind the score board. No jumbotron here!

        The outfield walls were covered with advertising. Two I can remember well, the Young and Bertke Company and the Schearer/Bauer Box Company. Little did I know, at the time, that I would later have a close association with the Schearer Box Company. While in the shoe business I purchased thousands of shoe boxes from them. They also supplied me with baseball tickets throughout those years.

        Part of the enjoyment of the park was the scent of popcorn, hot dogs, and beer all mixed together. The scents would be wafting through the air blocks from the park.

        Mr. Crosley had come up with the idea of night baseball, and it was first played at Crosley Field. As I grew into my teenage years, I, along with several of my friends, would hitchhike to the park. The experiences we shared in those adventures would fill volumes!

        The old ball park, much to my dismay, was finally demolished to make way for I-75. I personally would have preferred that the ball park stay.

        Crosley Field, "Like the corners of my mind, scattered pictures of the times we left behind!"

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