Posts tagged Orioles

A Room With A View Overlooking Baltimore’s Union Park

stambroseprogramIt was March 31, 1894, and the National League Baltimore Orioles soon would begin their 1894 campaign, which ultimately brought Baltimore it’s first baseball championship. The Orioles opened at home that year on April 19th with a game against the New York Giants.

A mere 120 years later, on March 31st – Baseball’s Opening Day 2014 – that Championship Season was celebrated by St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center at the former site of Union Park, where the National League Orioles once played.

St. Ambrose's Green Room

St. Ambrose’s Green Room

St. Ambrose, whose offices are located at 321 East 25th Street, held an open house  celebrating the reopening of its “Green Room.” Named after one of its founders, the Green Room is located in the basement of the building and provides community space for the furthering of St. Ambrose’s worthy mission.

The building at 321 East 25th Street has great historical significance to our National Pastime as it was once located adjacent to Union Park’s grandstand and its parking lot was once part of the actual playing field. 

The back of the building can be seen in the 1897 photograph below – it is the house with the distinctive pitched roof just to the right of Union Park’s grandstand.

Union Park Grandstand (detail from The Winning Team, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Union Park Grandstand (detail from The Winning Team, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Here is that building today:

325 East 25th Street, Baltimore

321 East 25th Street, Baltimore

I had the pleasure of attending St. Ambrose’s open house as a guest speaker. After the event , I took a tour of the  building, heading to the third floor for a panoramic view of Union Park’s former playing field as seen through the two windows located just below the tip of the roof.

Interior of 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore

Interior of 321 East 25th Street, Baltimore, Third Floor

For nine seasons, from 1891 to 1899, the view through those windows was one of the finest in all of baseball, providing witness to the feats of some of the game’s greatest ballplayers, including Orioles Hall of Famers Dan Brouthers, Hughie Jennings, Wilbert Robinson, Willie Keeler, John McGraw, Ned Hanlon and Joe Kelley. Indeed, on that spot, the Orioles won three consecutive National League pennants, from 1894 to 1896.

Site of Union Park's Former Playing Field, as seen from 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore

Site of Union Park’s Former Playing Field, as seen from 321 East 25th Street, Baltimore

Today that field is a parking lot, surrounded by row houses and brick garages. But 120 years ago, it was the center of baseball in Baltimore. St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center is proud of its connection to Baltimore baseball history and there is talk of honoring Union Park and the old Baltimore Orioles with a wiffle ball game to be played in the parking lot where Union Park’s infield once sat. Should those plans come to fruition, I will post information on this site.

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.