Posts tagged Baltimore

Baltimore Ravens and Memorial Stadium Circa 1996

Ravens Preseason Game August 3, 1996

In honor of the Baltimore Raven’s second Super Bowl Championship, I’ve posted a photograph I took at their very first game ever played. It was a preseason game at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore on August 3, 1996 versus the Philadelphia Eagles. It also was Ray Lewis’s first game as a Raven (he recorded a sack in his preseason debut). Baltimore lost to Philadelphia 17 to 9.

For more pictures of this game and other pictures of old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, see deadballbaseball.com.

John McGraw and St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Baltimore

Three miles north of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, at the intersection of Greenmount Avenue and East 22nd Street, is St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church.

St. Ann's Catholic Church, Baltimore, Maryland

The church is forever tied to Baltimore baseball history as the place where former Oriole and baseball Hall of Famer John McGraw married his second wife, Blanche Sindall, on January 8, 1902.

Interior View of St. Ann's Church Where John McGraw Married Blanche Sindall

St. Ann’s plays a prominent role in two of the latter chapters of my book Deadball, A Metaphysical Baseball Novel. However, in the interest of not spoiling the the story line, I will leave it at that. For those of you who already have read my book, here is a look at the church described in Deadball.

The Gothic-revival church is constructed of grey stone and white marble.

Side View of St. Ann's Church

The church has two steeples, one soaring high above the church to the right of the front entrance and a second, of lesser height, behind and to the left of the entrance.

The Two Steeples of St. Ann's Church

A pointed stone archway made of alternating blocks of marble and stone frames a set of red painted doors decorated with ornate iron hinges. A simple, yet elegant rose window, framed by a similar stone archway centered above the entrance adds an understated flourish to the front of the church.

Front Entrance to St. Ann's Church

The white plastic lettering of the church’s marquee sign next to the sidewalk announces that the church is “Anchored In Faith.”

Marquee Sign, St. Ann's Church

The reference to “anchored” is a pun, for resting alongside the cornerstone to the right of the entrance way is a large, gold-painted, allegorical anchor once belonging to Captain William Kennedy.

Captain William Kennedy's Anchor

Commander of the Baltimore clipper ship “The Wanderer,” Kennedy prayed for safe return when caught in a storm off the coast of Vera Cruz. He promised to build a church should his prayers be answered. They were, and Kennedy kept his promise, providing the land and money to build St. Ann’s. The good Captain is buried beneath the main floor of the church, along with his wife, both of whom died in 1873, the year the church was built.

Final Resting Place of Captain William Kennedy and his Wife

Behind the church on East 22nd Street is the rectory.

St. Ann's Rectory - The Anchorage

Next door to the rectory is  a three story tan brick row house with a first floor stone. It is the former home of Oriole Hall of Famer Joe Kelley.

Former Home of Hall of Famer Joe Kelley

Joe Kelley and several of McGraw’s teammates were in attendance at his wedding that day, including Wilbert Robinson, Willie Keeler, Steve Brodie, and Hughie Jennings.

Willie Keeler, John McGraw, Joe Kelley, and Hughie Jennings

In her memoir The Real McGraw, Blanche McGraw noted that St. Ann’s was overflowing with people for the 6 pm wedding, which was conducted by St. Ann’s Pastor, Father Cornelius Thomas, who himself was a big baseball fan.

A “church of baseball” or at least a “church with a baseball connection,” St. Ann’s can be visited on the web at anchoredinfaith.com.

New Cathedral Cemetery and the Four Hall of Fame Baltimore Orioles

Less than five miles west of Orioles Park at Camden Yards on Route 40 is New Cathedral Cemetery.  The cemetery holds the distinction of being the final resting place of four Baseball Hall of Famers.   In Chapter 20 of  Deadball, Byron Bennett visits New Cathedral in search of the ghosts of the former players, all of which were once members of the 1890’s world champion National League Baltimore Orioles.

Entrance to New Cathedral Cemetery, Baltimore

As you enter the cemetery, there is to the left a white, clapboard building that houses the cemetery’s office.  Available inside is a 8″ by 14″ handout entitled “Baseball Hall of Famers” which includes a map of the cemetery. The map’s legend includes symbols identifying the final resting place of each Hall of Famer.

McGraw - Van Lill Mausoleum

McGraw – Van Lill Mausoleum

The final resting place of former Orioles’ third-baseman John McGraw “ is located in Lot 197, Section L.”

Entrance to McGraw - Lill Mausoleum

Entrance to McGraw – Lill Mausoleum

McGraw is entombed in a stately granite mausoleum with an oxidized, green copper roof.  “J.J. McGraw” is carved into the granite above the front door along with “S. J. Van Lill, Jr.,” whose family shares the space with McGraw and his wife, Blanche. Mrs. S. J. Lill and Mrs. McGraw were sisters.

John McGraw Inscription Above Mausoleum Door, New Cathedral Cemetery

Just over the hill behind McGraw’s mausoleum is the grave site of Joe Kelley, former right fielder for the Orioles.  A set of marble stairs at the base of a small hill leads to Kelly’s grave.

Stairway Leading To Internment Site of Joe Kelly, New Cathedral Cemetery

Kelley is  buried alongside his wife and son.

Joseph J. Kelly, Hall of Fame Baltimore Oriole, New Cathedral Cemetery

Ned Hanlon, the Orioles’ former manager, is interred just a short walking distance from Kelly’s grave.

Ned Hanlon Family Plot, New Cathedral Cemetery

Hanlon’s wife is buried alongside Foxy Ned.

Edward Hanlon, Hall of Fame Baltimore Oriole, New Cathedral Cemetery

A matching block of granite honors the memory of Hanlon’s son: “Joseph Thomas Hanlon, Born March 3, 1893, Died July 31, 1918, Killed In Action, Buried At Thiaucourt, France.”

Joseph Hanlon, son of Ned Hanlon, New Cathedral Cemetery

The grave site of Wilbert Robinson, former Orioles catcher, and his wife, is situated in the northeast section on the opposite side of the cemetery.

Wilbert Robinson Family Plot, New Cathedral Cemetery

A large chunk of black granite is missing from the corner of Robinson’s headstone.

Wilbert Robinson, Hall of Fame Baltimore Oriole, New Cathedral Cemetery

New Cathedral Cemetery is just one of the many examples of Baltimore’s rich baseball history.  Given its close proximity to Camden Yards, the cemetery certainly is worth a stop for any true Orioles fan.

Babe Ruth Field At The Old St. Mary’s Industrial School

One would think that, given how important Babe Ruth is to the sport of baseball, more would made of the fact that the baseball field where Ruth honed his skills as a child still remains to this day a baseball field in an area just west of downtown Baltimore.

The Infield at Babe Ruth Field, Baltimore, Maryland

Near the corner of South Canton Avenue and Route 1 just a half mile north of Interstate 95 is a ball field known as “Babe Ruth Field.”

Babe Ruth Field Scoreboard, Baltimore, Maryland

In 2007, as part of my research for Deadball, I visited the site, which at the time was still Cardinal Gibbons High School.  Formerly, the school had been the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, an orphanage and reform school run by the Catholic Church.

Dugout at Babe Ruth Field, Baltimore, Maryland

In addition to the cinder block dugouts and the chainlink backstop, one major difference between the field that Ruth played on and the field as it exists today is the orientation of home plate, which in Ruth’s day, was located in what is now centerfield.

Center Field at Babe Ruth Field, Baltimore, Formerly Location of Home Plate

Babe Ruth spent the majority of his formative years as a ward of the school, his parents having signed him over to the Xaverian Brothers out of desperation when he was just eight or nine years old.

Babe Ruth At St. Mary's Industrial School For Boys (Huggins & Scott Auctions image)

Brother Matthias Bouttlier, the school’s disciplinarian,  helped harness Ruth’s natural abilities.

Home Plate at Babe Ruth Field, Baltimore, Maryland

In Deadball, the protagonist, Byron Bennett, then a member of the Cardinal Gibbons varsity baseball team, thinks he sees a game being played on the old St. Mary’s configuration of the field wherein George Herman Ruth hits a home run into the crowd of students sitting beyond right field.

Left Field at Babe Ruth Field, Formerly Right Field

With Cardinal Gibbons High School now closed and the facility no longer in use, the future of Babe Ruth Field is uncertain.  Hopefully the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which owns the field, will continue to preserve the historic ballpark so future generations can stand where the Babe once stood and play ball.

The Stone Tavern – Baltimore Little Tavern No. 4

Part of my writing process for developing the story line in Deadball involved several trips to Baltimore, seeking inspiration.  On my first trip I discovered the Stone Tavern Restaurant, located two blocks east of the former site of Union Park at the corner of East 25th Street and Greenmount Avenue in the Harwood section of Baltimore.

The Stone Tavern Restaurant in Baltimore circa 2007

Given its close proximity to Union Park and what I believed was its former life as a Little Tavern shop, the Stone Tavern Restaurant was a perfect time piece to include in the book.

The Stone Tavern Restaurant Baltimore circa 2011

According to Dinerhunter.com, the Stone Tavern was once Little Tavern Baltimore No. 4. It opened in 1931 and promptly closed a year later.

Stone Tavern Restaurant Lunch Counter circa 2008

In Chapter Two of Deadball, Byron Bennett stops by the Stone Tavern for a cup of coffee after having visited the former site of Union Park.  Once inside he meets Mac, a kindred spirit who, like Byron, believes he can see the past.

Stone Tavern Restaurant Booth Seating

In Deadball, I exercise creative license and describe the Stone Tavern as being covered in Formstone, “that plaster-based, counterfeit rock unique to East Coast cities  like Baltimore and Philadelphia.”  As is apparent from the photograph below, the Stone Tavern’s facade is, well, real stone.

The Stone Tavern - Covered In . . . Stone

The Stone Tavern Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch.  From experience, I can tell you it’s the kind of place you’ll want to wash your hands before and after you eat.  Although the restaurant no longer offers “Buy ’em by the bag” hamburgers, I highly recommend the  tuna salad on rye.  So on your next visit to Union Park, be sure to stop by the Stone Tavern.  You never know who you might meet there.

Deadball – Anatomy of a Book Cover

If you’ve read the first chapter of my book, Deadball, A Metaphysical Baseball Novel, you know that Union Park, home to the 1890’s National League Baltimore Orioles, was once located at the corner of Guilford Avenue and East 25th Street in the Harwood section of Baltimore.  The original design for the book cover contemplated superimposing an 1897 picture of the old Union Park playing field over a picture of what has been built in its place.  Taking that picture, however, from one of the roof tops of houses located on East 24th Street, proved difficult to recreate, so we opted to use the picture of Union Park that now appears on the front and back covers of Deadball.

That picture of the front entrance to Union Park on East 25th Street, circa 1895, was provided to me courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society and appears in this blog, also courtesy of the MHS.  In March 2011, my brother and I made one of my many pilgrimages to the former site of Union Park on East 25th Street to take pictures of the houses built in place of Union Park’s old, wooden grandstand and main entrance.  We brought with us a copy of the 1895 Union Park photograph in an effort to recreate the shot.

East 25th Street, Baltimore, former site of Union Park

As you can see, there is a red brick building that appears in both the present-day photograph of East 25th Street and in the background of the1895 Union Park photograph.  That building, at 321 East 25th Street, currently houses the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center.  The building provided us the necessary reference point for taking our photograph for the book cover.  In an attempt to get the proper vantage point, I took a picture of East 25th Street with the 1895 photograph also in the shot.  The actual picture that graces the cover of Deadball is set forth below.

Deadball Book Cover Photograph, East 25th Street, Baltimore MD

Huntington Park Publications’ graphic designer extraordinaire, Jim Morris, among other things, superimposed the 1895 photograph over the above picture, creating a ghostly image of the ballpark and the spectators on the sidewalk.

Because of differences in the photographic equipment used to take the two pictures, I was unable to recreate the exact 1895 shot.  As such, Jim Morris pieced together additional shots of the tops of the buildings and elongated the sidewalk to create the picture as it appears on the book.  For aesthetics, the shot of Union Park was placed a little bit to the east of its actual, former location.

DBS