Posts tagged Memorial Stadium

A Serendipitous Al Kaline Deadball Moment

It is not every day that you come across a previously unpublished photograph of a 16 year old future baseball Hall of Famer. This is especially true when considering that the picture was taken in Baltimore and depicts that future Hall of Famer wearing the uniform of a local sandlot company team.

A few months back, serendipity brought that picture to me, providing yet another Deadball Moment. Since 1998, I have been a Sunday-Plan Baltimore Orioles Season Ticket Holder, first in section 84, then section 78, and then, beginning in 2012, section 76. My move to section 76 introduced me almost immediately to the Sunday Mayor of Section 76, Rob Noel, who just happens to sit one row in front of me. As luck would have it, Rob likewise shares a passion for the Orioles, baseball stadiums, and lost ballparks, hosting, a website devoted to panoramic photos of ballparks.

As with any true politician, Mayor Rob has a cadre of friends dispersed throughout section 76, including Mark Tharle, who just happens to be married to Kathy Kaline. Which brings me back to the previously-unpublished, future-Hall-of-Famer-photograph. Turns out Kathy’s father George was the cousin of Westport/Baltimore native Al Kaline. After having read my post about Al Kaline’s boyhood home, Mark forwarded to me a family photo of Cousins George and Al Kaline donning their Gordon’s Stores baseball uniforms. After doing a bit of research, here is what I have found out about that photo. In 1951, the cousins played for a local team financed by Gordon’s Quality Dry Cleaning and Laundry and coached by one of Al Kaline’s Baltimore mentors, Sterling “Sheriff” Fowble .

Cousins George and Al Kaline (original photograph and image owned by Mark Tharle and Kathy Kaline - used by permission)

Cousins George and Al Kaline (original photograph and image owned by Mark Tharle and Kathy Kaline – used by permission)

The Gordon’s Store jersey worn by Al Kaline is now on display at the Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore.

Al Kaline's Gordon's Store Jersey on Display at the Sports Legends Museum

Al Kaline’s Gordon’s Store Jersey on Display at the Sports Legends Museum

According to Kathy Kaline, the picture of her father and Al Kaline was taken at Carroll Park, which is located in Baltimore just north of Interstate 95 at the intersection of Bush Street and Washington Boulevard. Carroll Park originally was part of Charles Carroll’s 2,000 acre Mount Clare Estate situated along the Patapsco River.

Mount Claire Estate with Montgomery Park Building (formerly Montgomery Wards) in Background

Mount Claire Estate with Montgomery Park Building (formerly Montgomery Wards) in Background

In the northeast section of the park, approximately two miles west of Oriole Park at Camden Yards are four youth baseball fields. Presumably the picture was taken somewhere in this section of the park.

Youth Baseball Fields at Carroll Park in Baltimore

Youth Baseball Fields at Carroll Park in Baltimore

The Kaline family home still stands in Westport, just two and a half miles south of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. According to Mayor Rob, Al Kaline’s father, Nicholas Kaline, worked at the Atlantic-Southwestern Broom Company. Al Kaline purportedly played on a baseball field located near that building as well. The building still stands at 3500 Boston Street in Baltimore and is known now as the Broom Factory, which has been repurposed to include restaurants, retail, and office space. 

Former Atlantic Southwest Broom Company Building, Just a long fly ball from the old Natty Boh Factory on Brewery Hill

Former Atlantic Southwestern Broom Company Building, just a long fly ball from the old Natty Boh Factory on Brewery Hill

Al Kaline was a baseball phenomenon at Southern High School, once located in south Baltimore  near the Inner Harbor on Warren Avenue between William Street and Riverside Avenue (thanks to Bob Neal for the clarification!), across the street from Federal Hill Park.

Former Southern High School Building at Intersection of Warren and Battery

Former Southern High School Building on Warren Avenue across from Battery Avenue

The three buildings that once comprised the high school are now apartments.

Former Southern High School Building at Warren Avenue and William Street

Former Southern High School Building at Warren Avenue and William Street

A new Southern HS building was constructed nearby at 1100 Covington Street – years after Kaline graduated – and is currently Digital Harbor High School.

Digital Harbor High School in Baltimore, formerly Southern High School

Digital Harbor High School in Baltimore, formerly Southern High School

In 1953, two years after the Kaline Cousins photo was taken, Al Kaline signed a contract out of high school to play for the Detroit Tigers, never spending one day in the minor leagues before making his professional debut. As fate would have it, the American League Baltimore Orioles returned to the city the following year, but by then Kaline already had established himself as the Tiger’s every day center fielder.  Perhaps because of his Baltimore connection, serendipity came into play on September 24, 1974, as well, when Kaline made his 3,000 hit at none other than Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

Thanks to Mark and Kathy for sharing your family photo with me. Thanks also to serendipity and Mayor Rob.

Paul Blair – Centerfielder Extraordinaire

Paul Blair and Boog Powell, Memorial Stadium, 1970

I am saddened by the passing of Paul Blair, one of my all-time favorite Orioles, who died on Thursday December 26, 2013, in Pikesville, Maryland, where he was playing in his Thursday night bowling league.

I was fortunate enough to have seen Mr. Blair play center field for the Orioles. In my book Deadball, I recount a story (as a remembrance of the protagonist, Byron Bennett) that actually happened to me when I met him outside Memorial Stadium after a game in 1973:

“One of Byron’s most treasured childhood memories was standing in a crush of fans  outside Memorial Stadium after a game as Paul Blair, the Orioles’ fleet-footed center fielder, towered above him, signing his program.  Excited and not wanting the moment to end, Byron handed the program back to Blair, which the center fielder dutifully commenced signing again, until he realized he already had autographed the item, thus leaving half a signature – a second “Paul” – just below his fully signed name.  Although the memories of that day remained with Byron regardless of Memorial Stadium’s ultimate fate, the idea of the Grand Old Lady of 33rd Street becoming another lost ballpark saddened him nonetheless.”

Mr. Blair passed away too soon, but the memories of his grace on the field, and his kindness off the field, will stay with his fans as long as we are around to recall them.

Touring the Lost Ballparks of Baltimore With Author Burt Solomon

Burt Solomon and Terry Hartzell Touring the Former Site of Union Park

As a die-hard Baltimore Orioles fan and amateur  historian, one of my all-time favorite books is Burt Solomon’s Where They Ain’t, The Fabled Life and Untimely Death of the Original Baltimore Orioles, the Team That Gave Birth to Modern Baseball, ranking right up there with James Bready’s Baseball in Baltimore, The First Hundred Years. Thanks to Terry Hartzell, a fan of both Burt’s book and my book Deadball, A Metaphysical Baseball Novel, I had the opportunity to take both Burt and Terry on one of my Lost Ballparks of Baltimore Tours. Our first stop was the former site of Union Park at the corner of East 25th Street and Guilford Avenue, followed by a walking tour up Barclay Street to East 29th Street and the former site of American League Park, which is now a McDonald’s.

Burt Solomon and David Stinson Standing in Front of Memorial Stadium's Former Infield, Now a Youth Baseball Park Courtesy of the Ripken Foundation.

Next we walked across East 29th Street to the former site of Terrapin Park/old Oriole Park, where we confirmed that the 16 original row houses that sat behind what was once right-center field all remain at the site. After walking back to the car, we drove less than a mile from Union Park to the former site of Memorial Stadium, where pieces of brick and concrete from the stadium still can be found amongst the dirt, exposed by the weather.

After bidding adieu to Burt, Terry and I continued on to New Cathedral Cemetery, where four Hall of Fame Orioles are interred (John McGraw, Joe Kelley, Ned Hanlon, and Wilbert Robinson). Our final stop for the day was the former site of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, where a young Babe Ruth was raised as a ward of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.  The historic baseball site includes the field where Babe Ruth learned to play the game, a building from St. Mary’s dating back to Ruth’s time at the school (the former Industrial Arts Building), and the former St. Mary’s Chapel, which was converted into a school building prior to Cardinal Gibbons High School arriving there in 1962.

I hope to conduct another Lost Ballparks of Baltimore Tour some time this spring. If you are interested in coming along, just send me a comment to this post.


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

Touring The Lost Ballparks of Baltimore

Looking for a baseball fix this off-season? Can’t get enough of the Baltimore Orioles? Read on.

While conducting research for my book Deadball, A Metaphysical Baseball Novel I became quite familiar with the lost ballpark sites of Baltimore, including Union Park, home of the 1890’s world champion National League Baltimore Orioles, and American League Park, home of the 1901-02 American League Baltimore Orioles and the 1903-1914 International League Orioles – including Babe Ruth (a previous ballpark known as Oriole Park once sat at the same location as American League Park and was where the American Association Baltimore Orioles played from 1890 until May 1891). Union Park and American League Park were located just four blocks apart, Union Park at the southwest corner of East 25th Street and Guilford Avenue, and American League Park at the southwest corner of East 29th Street and Greenmount Avenue.

Baltimore's Union Park

In addition to Union Park and American League Park, two other ballparks were once located nearby. Terrapin Park (also known as Oriole Park), home of the 1914-15 Federal League Terrapins, the International League Orioles, and the 1938-1944 Negro American League Baltimore Elite Giants, was located directly across the street from American League Park at the northwest corner of East 29th Street and Greenmount. Memorial Stadium (and its earlier incarnation known as Municipal Stadium) home of the International League Orioles (1944-1953) and the “new” American League Orioles (1954-1991) was located .7 miles north and east of American League Park on 33rd Street.

Over the past few years, I occasionally have given tours of the old ballpark sites to die-hard Orioles fans and history buffs. This fall, I continued that tradition. In October, Bruce Brown, a friend and fellow SABR member toured the sites of Union Park, American League Park, and Terrapin Park.

Bruce Brown Standing in the Approximate Location of American League Park's Home Plate

And most recently, this past November, I made the same trek to Baltimore with friend and fellow author Austin Gisriel (Safe at Home, A Season in the Valley). Austin and I also toured the former site of Memorial Stadium, which Austin chronicled on the SABR blog Seamheads (see

Author Austin Gisriel at the Former Site of Union Park. The Building in the Background Once Sat Just To the Right of Union Park's Third Base Side Grandstand (see above picture of Union Park)

If you are interested in a tour of these sites, let me know. Just send me a comment to this posting (you may need to click on the title to this post – “Touring The Lost Ballparks of Baltimore” and scroll to the bottom of the page for the reply option) or send me a note on my facebook page – David B. Stinson. If there is enough interest, I’ll arrange a tour. With winter soon upon us, a tour of Baltimore’s lost ballpark sites could provide that much needed off-season baseball fix. In the meantime, below are four entries from my companion blog with pictures and information about these lost ballpark sites. Enjoy!

Union Park

American League Park

Terrapin Park/Oriole Park

Memorial Stadium

Go O’s!

My Interview With Brett Hollander WBAL Radio

WBAL's Brett Hollander

My interview with Brett Hollander on WBAL radio was broadcast before the Orioles/Angels game a week ago Saturday.  Mr. Hollander is the host of WBAL’s Sportsline, which is broadcast weeknights from 6 to 9 pm on 1090 AM.  Brett also runs feature stories during the weekend before Orioles games, which is when my interview originally aired. The interview aired a second time during one of  his shows last week.

We covered a lot of ground – talking about Deadball, how I came up with story line for the novel, the history of baseball in Baltimore, the World Champion National League Orioles of the 1890s, and many of the famous lost Baltimore Ballparks such as Union Park, old Orioles Park (American League Park), and Memorial Stadium.

In case you missed it, here’s the link to the interview posted on

My Interview With WBAL’s Brett Hollander

Man am I a fast talker!

Thanks for the opportunity, Brett!

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