Hilltop Park, New York (2)

Opening Day at Hilltop Park on April 14, 1908, when the New York Highlanders took on the Philadelphia Athletics. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.

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The same location in 2014:

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Hilltop Park wasn’t much of a Major League stadium, and the 1908 Highlanders weren’t much of a Major League team.  Although they would defeat Philadelphia 1-0 in this Opening Day game, they would only win 50 more games, finishing the season with a franchise-record 103 losses that still stands today.  The park was closed following another 100-loss season in 1912, and the team, no longer located on the highlands of New York City on Washington Heights, was renamed the Yankees.  The park was demolished in 1914, and the site remained vacant until the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center was built in the late 1920s.

Hilltop Park, New York (1)

The view outside the main entrance to Hilltop Park, at the corner of Broadway and 165th Street, on April 21, 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.

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The same scene in 2014:

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The New York Yankees have long called the Bronx their home, but during the first park of their existence they were in the extreme northern part of Manhattan.  The team was moved from Baltimore to New York in 1903, and Hilltop Park (officially given the more bland name of American League Park – this was in the days before corporate sponsorship) was hastily built along Broadway, between 165th and 168th Streets, on high ground overlooking the Hudson River.  It was not a particularly glamorous park, but neither was the team that played there: in ten seasons, the Highlanders lost 100 games twice.  These have been the only two 100-loss seasons in the history of the Yankees franchise.  In this particular photo, it shows fans arriving for the home opener against the Washington Senators.  New York lost the game 1-0, and went on to have a .500 season, with a 76-76 record.  After the 1912 season, the Highlanders moved into Polo Grounds, renting from the Giants until 1923, when Yankee Stadium was completed.  Today, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center is located on the site.

Fenway Park, Boston (4)

The exterior of Fenway Park in 1914. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.

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The same view in 2006:

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This is probably the only part of Fenway Park that is virtually unchanged since it opened nearly 102 years ago.  Several fires, a massive reconstruction in 1934, and a number of smaller changes along the way have left very little remaining from the original park.  However, the Yawkey Way facade (called Jersey Street in 1914) hasn’t changed much, aside from the addition of various championship banners that the team has won since they first made Fenway their home.

Cy Young at Huntington Avenue Grounds, Boston

Cy Young, warming up at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds in 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Finding the precise location of this photo is tricky, since nothing in the 1908 photo still exists.  The top photo was taken of Cy Young, the winningest pitcher in baseball history, during his last year with the Red Sox.  At the time, the Sox played a few blocks south of what would become Fenway Park, at the Huntington Avenue Grounds.

The site of the field is today part of the Northeastern University campus, and in this courtyard is a tribute to Cy Young and the old baseball field.  In the foreground is a granite home plate marker, and 60 feet away in the distance is a statue of Cy Young.  The Cy Young statue is on the approximate location of the pitcher’s mound (which can be seen behind and to the left of Cy Young in the 1908 photo), but home plate would have actually been further to the right of where the 2014 photo was taken (which is now a building).

Because of that, it is likely that the 2014 photo was taken from approximately the same location, looking in roughly the same direction, as the 1908 photo, although the lack of any landmarks makes it difficult to be exact.

Fenway Park, Boston (3)

Fenway Park as it appeared in 1912, the year it opened. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.

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Roughly the same view, in April 2006:

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For the first 35 years of its existence, the Green Monster wasn’t green – it was essentially a giant billboard.  And the original Green Monster seats weren’t on top of it – they were at the base, atop Duffy’s Cliff – a steep incline leading up to the wall that was usually in play and was mastered by Boston left fielder Duffy Lewis.  For this particular photo in 1912, the bleacher seats were temporarily constructed to handle the increased crowds for the 1912 World Series.  The original wooden 1912 wall is gone – it was replaced in 1934 by the present-day wall, and the incline was eliminated, making left field several feet below the level of Landsdowne Street, which is located directly behind the Monster.  The other major feature in the 1912 photo – the wooden left field bleachers – are also gone.  They burned in 1926, and since fans weren’t exactly clamoring to get through the turnstiles at Fenway in the 1920’s, they were not replaced until Tom Yawkey purchased the team and extensively renovated the park to its current configuration in 1934.  See posts #1 and #2 to see similar views from 1912 and the present-day.

Fenway Park, Boston (2)

Another view of Fenway Park from 1912, the year that it opened. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.

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The same view in July, 2011:

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One of Fenway Park’s many quirky features is “Pesky’s Pole,” the right field foul pole that stands a mere 302 feet from home plate, making it the shortest possible home run distance in any MLB park.  Much of this is due to the piecemeal way in which the park was built and modified over the course of 100 years.  See this post for the view of the park from the same spot but looking further to the right.