MUSIC - There used to be a ballpark by ol blue eyes, Francis Albert Sinatra
Photographed in 1976, 1986, 1987, 1991 and 2003 using film.
Comiskey Park - Opened July 1, 1910 and closed September 30, 1990. Comiskey Park was demolished in 1991. The site is now a parking lot for U.S. Cellular Field, which is directly across the street.
Known as White Sox Park 1910 - 1912 and 1962 - 1975, Comiskey Park 1913 - 1961 and 1976 - 1991. Home of the Chicago White Sox 1910 - 1990, Chicago Cardinals (NFL) 1922-1925 and 1929-1959.
Location - 324 W. 35th St. Chicago, Illinois -- Bounded by S. Shields Ave., Wentworth Ave., W. 33rd St.
Comiskey Park stood at the corner of 35th street and Shields Ave. for over 80 years. It was demolished 1991. The "Baseball Palace of the World" was home to the Chicago White Sox from July 1, 1910 till its closing on September 30th 1990. It was built on the site of a former garbage dump. Legend has it that Luke Appling was playing short for the White Sox and a ground ball hit something in the dirt and went over his head. He unearthed a copper pot. The White Sox lost the first game at Comiskey 2-0 to the St. Louis Browns. They won the last ever game at Comiskey by beating the Seattle Mariners 2-1.
The old Chicago Cardinals of the NFL also called Comiskey park home. They played here from 1922 - 1925 and then from 1929 thru 1959. In 1960 the Cardinals moved to St. Louis.
Contrary to most opinion, Comiskey park was not located in the Bridgeport section of Chicago. In fact, it was located in a small enclave area called Armour Square. The Dan Ryan expressway ran directly parallel to the right field stands. Across the Dan Ryan was the notorious Stateway Gardens housing project. They were located in the Bronzville section of Chicago. Crime, assaults, drug dealing, you name it, was common at Stateway. This went on until 2001 when the projects were demolished, and replaced by low income affordable housing.
Comiskey Park was known by only 2 names. From 1910 - 1912 and then again from 1962 - 1975 it was known as White Sox park. It was the site of the very first All-star game in 1933. Arch Ward, a sports editor of the Chicago Tribune came up with the idea. Fittingly the greatest baseball player of all-time, Babe Ruth, hit the first all-star home run. In the 50th anniversary of the all-star game, the first ever grand slam was hit. Fred Lynn of the California Angels connected off Atlee Hammaker of the San Francisco Giants. Comiskey hosted the all-star game in 1950 also. In this game, Ted Williams collided with the outfield wall and suffered a broken elbow, ending his season.
Comiskey hosted 4 world series, with 3 being played by the White Sox. The first one was in 1917 when the White Sox defeated the New York Giants. In 1918 the Chicago Cubs played the Boston Red Sox in the fall classic. The Cubs used Comiskey Park due to its larger seating capacity. In 1919, the infamous "black sox scandal" took place. Allegedly eight members of the White Sox fixed the series due to their dislike of penny-pinching White Sox owner Charles Comiskey. The eight players banned for life were, Eddie Cicotte, Claude "Lefty" Williams, Oscar "Happy" Felsch, Chick Gandil, Charles "Swede" Risberg, Buck Weaver, Fred McMullin and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. The famous "Say it ain't so Joe" quote was uttered to Jackson by a tearful young fan as he left the Cook County courthouse. It was never proven that Jackson ever took any money. In fact, he hit hit .375 in the 1919 series. Still, due to Kennesaw Mountain Landis banishing him forever from baseball, he was never inducted into the hall of fame.
Home to White Sox greats, Early Wynn, Ted Lyons, Ed Walsh, Ray Schalk, "Ol Aches and Pains" Luke Appling, "Little Looie" Luis Aparicio, his double play partner Nellie Fox, Wilbur Wood, Dick Allen, Eddie Collins, Red Faber, Frank Thomas and Carlton Fisk.
The White Sox have retired 10 numbers in their history. Number 2 was worn by hall of fame second baseman Nellie Fox. Harold Baines had his number 3 retired WHILE he was still an active player with the Texas Rangers. He was traded back to the White Sox, and they had to "un retire" his number 3. Number 4 was worn by Luke Appling, number 9 by Minnie Minoso, number 11 by Luis Aparicio, 16 was worn by Ted Lyons, 19 belonged to Billy Pierce, 72 was worn by Carlton Fisk. Fisk has had his number retired by both the White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. And 42 for Jackie Robinson, was retired by MLB. No one has worn number 6 since long time hitting coach Charlie Lau passed away in 1984. I am sure that Frank Thomas will have his number 35 retired when he hangs em up.
Comiskey Park was the site of the infamous "disco demolition" night. On July 12th, 1979 a DJ from radio station WLUP, Steve Dahl, staged his "disco sucks" night. In between games of a double header between the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, Dahl proceeded to "blow up" thousands of disco records in center field. Fans stormed the field during the melee. After order was restored, it was discovered the field was torn to shreds. The White Sox had to forfeit the second game to the Tigers.
From 1960 thru 1990, Comiskey was home to the unofficial mascot, Andy "the clown" Rozdilsky. Dressed in his bowler hat, black rimmed glasses, and polka dotted costume, he roamed the stands cheering on his beloved Sox. "GOOOOO YOOOOOOUUUU WHIIIITE SOOOOOOOX!" was his rally cry. When the Sox moved to new Comiskey, they informed Andy he would not be allowed to wear his trademark costume in the new park. Sadly, Andy passed away on September 21, 1995 at the ripe old age of 77.
The old lady of the South side may be gone, but will NEVER be forgotten.
"There used to be a ballpark"
by Frank Sinatra
And there used to be a ballpark
Where the field was warm and green
And the people played their crazy game
With a joy I’d never seen.
And the air was such a wonder
From the hot dogs and the beer
Yes, there used a ballpark, right here.
And there used to be rock candy
And a great big fourth of July
With fireworks exploding
All across the summer sky
And the people watched in wonder
How they’d laugh and how they’d cheer
And there used to be a ballpark, right here.
Now the children try to find it
And they can’t believe their eyes
`cause the old team just isn’t playing
And the new team hardly tries
And the sky has got so cloudy
When it used to be so clear
And the summer went so quickly this year.
Yes, there used to be a ballpark, right here.
My first ever view of Comiskey Park. The famous exploding scoreboard. 7/76
Map of where Comiskey Park was and U.S. Cellular Field, directly across the street.
The left field stands from first base. Here you can see a great view of the famed arched windows which were dominant at Comiskey Park. July 1976
The old football pressbox down the third base line, July 1976
The pressbox where Harry Caray initiated the fans to sing "take me out to the ballgame", and where longtime organist Nancy Faust played "Na na na na hey hey hey goodbye" when an opposing pitching change was made. July 1976
The first base upper deck, July 1976
A view from the upper deck in center, looking towards home plate. July 1976
Another scoreboard view. July 1976
The third base upper deck, July 1976
The first exploding scoreboard in baseball. July 1976
The right field roof. Babe Ruth was the first person to hit a ball over the roof. He hit it on August 16, 1927 off the White Sox Tommy Thomas. July 1976
The Comiskey infield. From 1969 thru the 1975 season, the infield was (GAG) astroturf, and basically it sucked. July 1976
Another view of the right field roof. July 1976
The left field roof. Ron Kittle of the White Sox hit 7 over the left field roof. Greg "The Bull" Luzinski was second with 4, and Carlton Fisk hit 3. George Bell of the Toronto Blue Jays hit roof shots in consecutive games in 1985. All in all there were a total of 44 roof shots hit over both the left field and right field roofs. Some legendary pitchers gave up the long balls. Tom Seaver gave up 3, Billy Pierce gave up 2. The last ever roof shot was hit by Ron Kittle on a frigid mid 40's rainy night, April 17, 1990. He hit it off Rob Murphy of the Boston Red Sox.
Another view of the scoreboard and light standards in centerfield. July 1976
The right field stands from the Dan Ryan expressway. July 1976
Another Comiskey view. July 1976
The scoreboard from the Dan Ryan. July 1976
The view from the parking lot. Here you can see the arched windows that Comiskey was famous for. July 1976
My first and only game at Comiskey Park 1. June 5th, 1986 White Sox vs. the Oakland A's. It was a cold, rainy, miserable night.
Looking down the left field line on a cold miserable night at Comiskey.
The view from under the left field stands in the picnic area.
Looking at home plate from centerfield.
The left field lower stands.
The bullpen in centerfield and the right field stands.
Panoramic view from the upper deck.
The view from behind home plate.
Another home plate view. June 1986
Comiskey Park from the Sears tower downtown Chicago. May 1987.
Getting ready for a game. May 1987
Entrance to Comiskey Park from 35th Street and Shields Ave. May 1987
The exploding scoreboard. May 1987
Long abandoned ticket windows in back of the left field stands. May 1987
Left field entrance. May 1987
Looking towards the Dan Ryan and left field stands. May 1987
The right field stands again.
Ticket booths at the corner of Shields and 35th street. Check out the prices for seats!!! How times have changed. May 1987
Looking down 35th Street towards the Dan Ryan. The tall building in the distance is the notorious Stateway Gardens housing project. One of the most dangerous areas in Chicago. You can also see in the distance, McCuddys tavern. The local bar that Babe Ruth used to frequent in between games of a double header. May 1987
Comiskey looking up 35th street.
Inside Comiskey May 1987.
My last view of Comiskey from the inside. Seats behind home plate. May 1987
Looking thru the demolition fence at the new Comiskey park. September 1991.
The following 7 photos were sent to me by my friend George. Taken during the 1961 season.
The last pieces of Comiskey. The famous scoreboard awaiting demoliton. September 1991
The wrecking ball does its work on the last part of the bleachers in center field. September 1991
The death of the scoreboard. You can see where they have cut into the scoreboard to make it easier to pull down. Sept. 1991
Looking at what was the first base side from Shields street, later renamed Bill Veeck drive. September 1991
The last corner of old Comiskey awating its inevitable fate. September 1991
The wrecking ball wreaking havoc. September 1991
Work has stopped for the day. September 1991
Another piece falls to the wrecking ball. September 1991
Getting ready to knock some more of the bleachers down. September 1991
A mangled mass of concrete and steel. September 1991
Thru the fence. September 1991
A piece of concrete hangs, waiting to fall. September 1991
Looking at what was the first base stands towards centerfield. September 1991
A twisted pile of rubble by 1st base and new Comiskey Park in the background. September 1991
From the ramp of new Comiskey. Looking at where the right field stands were. September 1991
The last part of Comiskey standing at dusk. September 1991
Dusk falls over what is left of Comiskey Park. September 1991
Another view of the right field stands where they once stood. September 1991
Piles of rubble waiting to be hauled away. The ghostly shell of the scoreboard stands silently in the September dusk.
More holes inside the giant scoreboard, never again to explode when the Sox hit a home run. September 1991
The ramps leading to the upper deck and center field bleachers. September 1991
The crane waiting to do its dirty work on the scoreboard. September 1991
You can see where Comiskey stood. September 1991
Gate 16 in left field, chewed up, abandoned and never to be used again. September 1991
This is the spot where home plate was at old Comiskey Park. It's now a parking lot. July 2003
The view from homeplate. A sea of blacktop where a sea of green used to be. July 2003
The view looking towards right field. July 2003
From 35th St., and Shields Ave., You can see the ramp to the left, it contours the first base side of old Comiskey. July 2003
The following 19 photos are courtesy of Barbara P. O'Toole. I met Barbara at Comiskey in 1991 when they were demolishing the park. She sent me several photos. 16 years later, we re connected, and she sent me a few more. Sadly, Barbara passed away in September of 2013. The first blow. The right field corner
The following 19 photos are courtesy of Barbara P. O'Toole. I met Barbara at Comiskey in 1991 when they were demolishing the park. She sent me several photos. 16 years later, we re connected, and she sent me a few more. Thanks again Barbara! The first blow. The right field corner
The pressbox area being chewed up. 1991
The first base side of Comiskey park is now gone. 1991
Looking at home plate and the main entrance half gone. 1991
The main entrance being torn to shreds. 1991
Whats left of the third base stands. You can see the luxury boxes in the upper deck, right below the roof. 1991
The right field stands disappear. 1991
The crane pulls down the foul pole. 1991
The removal of the foul pole in right field. You can see the roof coming down too. 1991
The view from the demolished left field corner. 1991
The left field stands being reduced to rubble. 1991
The wreckers ball does its job in right field. 1991
More of left field coming down in 1991.
The start of demolition in left field. 1991
The last remaining stands in left field. Demolition started in the right field corner and worked its way to home plate, up the third base line, then to left field. 1991
Looking at the left field stands and the kingsford party area. 1991
The stands silent and empty awaiting their fate. 1991
The final blow for Comiskey park. The demolition of the scoreboard. 1991
The end of the line for the old lady. The scoreboard falls. 1991. Again, thanks to Barbara P. O'Toole for her great photos.