Houston Ballpark Site from 1870s at Travis and McGowen to be Marked by Historic Plaque in Public Ceremony, This Sat., Feb. 20th at 11 AM

Copyright Art by Patrick Lopez

Copyright Art by Patrick Lopez

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Come on out, Houston! This is a big deal in the rich history of Houston Baseball – and do as your invited to do – wear vintage base ball uniforms – or any kind of baseball attire – or 19th century clothing for the occasion.

Mike Vance, Executive Director of Houston Arts and Media and active member of the Harris County Historical Commission, will be on hand to serve as Master of Ceremonies and also talk about our reasons for honoring the physical block that is now occupied by a restaurant and other commercial interests.

Built in the early 1870s, the Fair Grounds Base Ball Park served as home to the first professional baseball team in Houston from 1888 to 1904. It was replaced by West End Park, nearer downtown Houston, and that site was honored in 2015 with an historical plaque for its service as the home of Houston baseball from 1905 to 1927.

Buffalo Stadium, about 4 miles southeast of downtown Houston at the site of the old now closed Finger Furniture Store on the Gulf Freeway at Cullen, took Houston the rest of the way through its minor league history from 1928 to 1961.

1962 marked the start of Houston’s major league history. The original name for the Houston MLB club was “Colt .45s” and these Houston MLB pioneers played their games at a temporary venue on the grounds of the future Astrodome from 1962 to 1964 in a place called (guess what?) Colt Stadium. Then when the MLB club moved into the first indoor air-conditioned multiple purpose home, the club name changed to “Astros” as the Eighth Wonderland park became even more famous as the “Astrodome.” The “dome” was home to Houston MLB from 1965 to 1999, when the Astros moved to their current retractable roof downtown park at Crawford and Texas. From 2000 to the our 2016 present, this same downtown venue has been, and remains, the home of Houston big league baseball. The current park started as Enron Field, became Astros Park while the Enron scandals were going on, and then, finally, settled into squeezable OJ comfort as “Minute Maid Park.”

And all of this started with the Fair Grounds Baseball Park some 145 years ago.

Two other very, very good reasons to attend:

Limited Edition Prints of the Old Houston Baseball Parks by Patrick Lopez will be for sale – as will the magnificent 368-page hard cover, with artful dust jacket, history researched and written by members of the Larry Dierker SABR Chapter, and published in 2014 by Bright Sky Press as “Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861-1961.” Income from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) book sale go to the support of other local research, historic enactment, and preservation activities chosen by the non-profit Larry Dierker chapter.

Come join us. Think of it as another day of celebrating the fact that spring and the 2016 baseball season are just around the corner. They are already getting closer with our wishful sighs and internal smiles, but the time passes even sweeter in the close company of others who also care about baseball and the active preservation of Houston history!

Hope to see you Saturday.

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 eagle-0range Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

https://bill37mccurdy.com/

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2 Responses to “Houston Ballpark Site from 1870s at Travis and McGowen to be Marked by Historic Plaque in Public Ceremony, This Sat., Feb. 20th at 11 AM”

  1. Anthnony Cavender Says:

    Mike Vance and the Texas and Harris County Historical Commissions are performing a valuable service in commemorating our city’s rich history.

  2. Bill McCurdy Says:

    You hit the sweet spot with that comment, Tony. Mike and his groups have done what needed to be done.

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