Posts Tagged ‘Baseball in Brooklyn’

When Brooklyn teams played baseball on ice

December 28, 2015

The history of sports includes lots of nutty ideas. One of the strangest took off big in Brooklyn in the 1860s and 1870s: baseball on ice.


The game was huge in Brooklyn in the decades after the Civil War. Ice skating was trendy too. Why not combine the two into the ultimate winter activity, right?

Local papers covered the games enthusiastically. “Today a grand match at base-ball on ice will be played on the Capitoline Pond, Brooklyn, 2 pm., the contestants being the best players of the Mutual and Atlantic Clubs who are also good skaters,” wrote the New York Times in January 1871.


[Capitoline Pond (photo below) was at the Capitoline Grounds, a baseball park on Fulton Avenue]

Problems cropped up though. First, regular skaters complained that the ballplayers messed up the ice. Then there was the freezing cold.


On January 5, 1879, the New York Times wrote about a game at the Prospect Park Lake, which attracted a “half-dozen shivering spectators.”

The game “was anything but interesting to the scorer and umpire, who became so thoroughly chilled by the fifth inning that they refused to act longer, and thus the game was brought to an untimely end.”

What took the place of Ebbets Field after 1957

April 10, 2013

Ebbetsfieldopeningday1913Everyone knows the story: At the end of the 1957 baseball season, the Dodgers moved out of their Crown Heights ballpark and decamped to Los Angeles.

But the 45-year-old stadium on Bedford Avenue didn’t sit empty.

It was used by semipro leagues and college teams before the wrecking ball, painted to resemble a baseball, finally arrived in February 1960.

Following two years of construction, the Ebbets Field Apartments—beige, monolith buildings rising 20 stories—opened to the public as rentals.


The apartments are still there, looking worn. And somewhere on the property this plaque also exists, a small commemoration of the fabled ballpark that opened 100 years ago this month.

Ebbets Field wasn’t the only city stadium to get the ugly apartment building makeover. The Polo Grounds, former home of the New York Giants, is now the Polo Grounds Towers, a public housing complex.

One small, faded plaque marks the former site of home base.