MUSIC - Roll with the changes by REO Speedwagon
Bush Stadium - Built in 1931, closed in 2001 but still standing. As of February 2012, Bush Stadium is, believe it or not, being turned into an apartment complex.
Known as Perry Stadium 1931 - 1942, Victory Field 1942 - 1967, Bush Stadium 1968 - 2001.
Location: 1501 W. 16th St. Indianapolis, Indiana -- Bounded by E. Riverside Dr., N. Harding St., and Waterway Blvd.
If someone mentions Indianapolis, thoughts usually turn to the old brickyard, the Indianapolis motor speedway. Just about 3 miles due east of the speedway on 16th Street is the former AAA home of the Indianapolis Indians. Bush stadium is that venue, and is located at 1501 West 16th Street, just to the northwest of downtown Indianapolis. Bush stadium is a park from a bygone era.
Bush stadium started out life in 1931 as Perry stadium, named after team owner Norm Perry who had the park built. In 1942 it was renamed Victory field in reference to World War II. The city of Indianapolis bought the park in 1967 and renamed it Bush stadium in honor of Donie Bush. Bush was a native of Indianapolis and played in the major leagues for 14 years. His playing career was with the Detroit Tigers, and Washington Senators. After he retired as a player, he became a manager. He managed in the majors for 15 years, guiding the Washington Senators, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox, and the Cincinnati Reds. In 1939, Bush became part owner of the Louisville Redbirds. Two years later, he bought his hometown Indianapolis Indians, which he was part owner of for 10 years. All in all Bush had a 65 year career in baseball. In 1972 he was working as a scout for the Chicago White Sox. He was down in Florida for spring training. Bush became ill and returned to Indianapolis. Three weeks later, on March 28, 1972, Bush passed away at the ripe old age of 84.
Bush stadium had its quirks about it. They had a teepee in centerfield, manually operated scoreboards, and like Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Wrigley Field in Chicago, ivy grew on it's walls. It was by all means a ballpark. It took you back to a simpler time of baseball. I swear if you went inside the park right now, you would still smell the hot dogs, beer, peanuts and fresh cut grass.
Bush stadium saw it's share of great players. Thru out it's life, it was a AAA ballpark. The Indians won 9 league titles at Bush stadium. They also had their fair share of hall of famers play there too. Grover Cleveland Alexander, Old aches and pains Luke Appling, Gabby Hartnett, Harmon Killebrew, Nap Lajoie, Al Lopez, Rube Marquard, Joe McCarthy, Bill McKechnie, and Ray Schalk all played or managed in Indianapolis. They had a future hall of famer too. Some pitcher called the Big Unit, Randy Johnson. Other stars played in Indianapolis, most notably when it was a triple A team for the Montreal Expos. The likes of Delino DeShields, Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Andres Galarraga, Ken Griffy, Sr., Filepe Alou (as a manager) and his son Moises Alou and Bernie Carbo, were all players in Indianapolis. Bush was also home to the Indianapolis Clowns of the old Negro leagues. They had a player you may have heard of.....Hank Aaron. The "hammer" played for the Clowns for one season in 1952, and they went on to win the Negro world series. Later on that year, Aaron was sold to the Boston Braves for $10,000. And the rest is history.
The Indians moved out of Bush stadium on July 11, 1996. The team moved downtown into a brand new ballpark called Victory Field. The park was built right in back of the RCA dome, which was the home of the Indianapolis Colts up until the end of the 2007 season. Victory field has all the comforts of a new park. Good site lines, concessions, restrooms et al. but like just about all the other parks and arenas I have seen, it doesn't have that old time ballpark feel. You can't get it with the new parks.
After the Indians left in 1996, the park was turned into of all things, a dirt track. The same thing happened to Baker Bowl in Philadelphia after the Phillies left in 1939. Just like Baker Bowl, this incarnation of the park failed after two years. Today, the park sits basically abandoned. There is talk about tearing it down, or renovating it. Costs could run around 10 million dollars for renovation.
On June 26, 1995, Bush stadium was placed on the national register of historic places. Let's hope that they can preserve this shrine and bring it back to life in some capacity as what it was MEANT to be ..... a BALLPARK!
Sunset at Bush stadium in October of 1994. Baseball would be played here only thru the midway point of the 1996 season. 10/94
The front of a no longer used Bush stadium. 4/04
The front of the park with weeds and rust everywhere. Photo from internet, date unknown.
April of 2004 and spring is in the air. Unfortunatly, no baseball will be played here anymore. 4/04
October 1987 and the front of the park is getting ready for winter. Inside however is a different story. I was in town when they were filming the movie 8 men out. 10/87
Inside Bush stadium and you can see how the movie company has put fake tape over the plastic seats to make them look like wood.
The movie company during filming of 8 men out. The Black Sox scandal. 10/87
Looking straight out to centerfield, you can see the teepee behind the centerfield wall. And YES that is ivy growing on the outfield walls, ala Wrigley field. 10/94
Inside the Indians clubhouse. Not the most luxurious of rooms. 10/94
The main concourse inside the stadium.. You can see all the Indianapolis greats on the wall. From Hal McRae to Al Lopez. 10/94
Another view of the main concourse and a concession stand in the middle. 10/94
The old manually operated scoreboard in right center. 10/94
The bleachers were condemned in the 90's and no longer used. 10/94
The view from the roof. You can see downtown Indianapolis in the distance. 10/94
The visitors dugout. 10/94
The cramped Indians dugout. 10/94
A view of the ivy covered walls. Fall is here and the ivy is going dormant for the winter. 10/94
Winter has come to this ballpark's life. The parks department of Indianapolis owns it now, and they are unsure what to do with it. It was a great old "ballpark" and many people miss the old days here. Unfortunatly, it is just rusting away now. Who knows what will happen. 1/96