The Swampoodle Grounds


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Earlier this week I was reading through “This Day in All Teams History” at Nationalpastime.com, when I stumbled upon this entry for September 11, 1886:

“At Washington’s Swampoodle Grounds, backstop Connie Mack makes his major league debut when the Nationals, in a rare victory, edge the Philadelphia Quakers, 4-3. The journeyman catcher will post the most big league wins and losses as a manager, compiling a 3731-3948 (.486) record with the Pirates and A’s during his 53-year managerial career.”

Having lived and worked in the Washington, DC, area for years, I was surprised I’d never heard of the Swampoodle Grounds. After all, “Swampoodle” is not a name one easily forgets (note: see my disclaimer below). So, I did my research.

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Swampoodle (See larger map of the area below)

Swampoodle was a neighborhood in northeast Washington, DC (now part of the so-called NoMa District). The term is actually a contraction of the words “swamp” and “puddle” and is a reference to the fact that the nearby Tiber Creek often overflowed in that area. The neighborhood was originally settled by Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine in the mid-1800s.

Located in the neighborhood was the Swampoodle Grounds, more officially known as Capitol Park. Home of the Washington Nationals baseball team from 1886 to 1889, the ballpark was bounded by Delaware Avenue (first base side), G Street (right field), North Capitol Street (left field), and F Street (third base side). Today, Union Station stands near the site of the former ballpark. The name will once again be used for a new playground and dog park to be located 3rd and L Streets.

~ baseballrebecca

 

Postscript: Naturally, as I did my research, I also discovered that the Swampoodle Grounds was featured in the blog Archived Innings earlier this year and I had, in fact, read the post and liked it. Obviously, I have a terrible memory. (Next year at this time I probably rediscover the Swampoodle Grounds all over again!)

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Swampoodle area of Washington, DC, in 1893 (image courtesy of Wikipedia)
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Films on Friday: The Queen of Soul Was a Beacon of Change


39277142_239494960041828_8086135774287757312_nBaseball and the rest of the planet mourned the lost of Aretha Franklin yesterday.

In 2013, Willie Horton accepted the Beacon of Change Award on behalf of Aretha Franklin. Check out his speech below:

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday –

~ baseballrebecca

Hank Aaron Stadium


dscn7572.jpgA little over week ago, I began writing about my recent trip to Alabama, where I visited the Negro Southern League Museum and the Mobile BayBears. But that was before the trade deadline, before they traded Jonathan Schoop, another of my favorite Orioles and the other half of the Machado-Schoop bromance. (Obviously, I’m still not over it.)

Today and tomorrow, I’ll finally finish my tale of baseball in Alabama and my visit to the Mobile BayBears, who will be relocating to Madison, AL, in 2020. They’ve done a phenomenal job of preserving baseball history at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile. Not only did they move Hank Aaron’s childhood home from Toulminville, AL, to the stadium grounds, but they have several historical exhibits around the stadium.

For starters, check out the pictures of Hank Aaron’s childhood home:

Throughout the stadium concourse, there are actual stadium seats from current and former baseball stadiums around the country. First, there’s Fulton County Stadium, where Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record:

Next, we stumbled upon seats from Wrigley Field, although it’s unclear exactly why they were there:

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Finally, there are seats from Milwaukee County Stadium, where Hank Aaron started his career with the Milwaukee Braves and ended it with the Milwaukee Brewers:

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Stay tuned for more about the Mobile BayBears tomorrow!

~ baseballrebecca

Baseball in Alabama


IMG_2225Since we were traveling to Georgia to attend a family event, we decided we may as well make a few stops in Alabama as well and check out some baseball history. It did not take long as we stumbled upon a cool exhibit almost as soon as we deplaned and walked through the airport. The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Museum has a small exhibit and a gift shop at the intersection of concourses B and C in Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The exhibit highlights Hank Aaron, Frank Thomas, Ozzie Smith, and Bo Jackson, as well as some non-baseball folks. The ASHOF was not on my itinerary this trip, as I had been there several years ago. Nonetheless, its a must-see for any Alabama baseball pilgrimage.

After the unexpected baseball exhibit in the airport, we made our way downtown toward Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons. I’d visited this stadium a few years back as well, and was extremely impressed.

DSCN7558Our primary objective for this trip, however, was the Negro Southern League Museum, which is just down the street from Regions Field. We parked the car near Railroad Park, a recreational area downtown, and made our way toward the museum. On our way, we noted that a portion of 1st street, which borders the park, is dedicated to Willie Mays.

Just down the street from the park is the Negro Southern League Museum, which is is absolutely awesome! Tomorrow’s post is dedicated to my visit to this must-see baseball museum.

~ baseballrebecca

 

Films on Friday: Wally Yonamine


In honor of Wally Yonamine’s birthday on Sunday, and to celebrate the 24th anniversary of his induction into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, I’ve posted a video of him discussing introducing the aggressive American-style of play to Japanese baseball:

 

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

Rockford Peaches v. Peoria Redwings


Recently, the Louise Pettus Archives at Winthrop University uploaded videos from their collection to their YouTube channel, including the one I’ve posted below. The Pettus Archives maintains several resources related to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including videos, photos, and the papers of several AAGPBL players. If I’m ever in Rock Hill, South Carolina, I’ll have to stop by and check out their collection!

~ baseballrebecca

Pepper Street


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Robinson home at 121 Pepper Street, Pasadena, CA (photo courtesy of Hulton Archive via Getty Images)

The city of Pasadena, CA, is alive with memories of Jackie Robinson – if you know where to look. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, GA, on January 31, 1919. A year later his family moved to Pasadena. Along with another family, Jackie’s mother purchased a home at 121 Pepper Street. She would become sole owner a few years later.

Unfortunately, the house at 121 Pepper Street was torn down in the 1970s. In its place now stands a contemporary house built in 1977 on 123 Pepper Street (which is img_1638currently on the market for a mere $649,000). Outside the house, if you look down on the sidewalk, is a small plaque marking the location as the place the Robinsons once lived.

But that’s not the only place in Pasadena where you can find Jackie’s influence. Tune in on Thursday for more info!

~ baseballrebecca

 

Views of 123 Pepper Street, Pasadena, CA (February 2018)