This Day In Dodgers History: Announcement To Build Ebbets Field In Brooklyn

On January 2, 1912, Brooklyn Dodgers president and majority owner Charles Ebbets announced his intention to purchase 4.5 acres of land in the Pigtown section of Brooklyn, New York for a new stadium.

Up to that point, the Dodgers were playing at Washington Park, which was named due to the land’s usage as a headquarters for General George Washington during the Battle of Long Island in the Revolutionary Ward.

Prior to playing at Washington Park, the Brooklyn baseball club used four other fields from 1862-1897, including Eastern Park.

Ebbets believed Washington Park, or any of their other fields, would not be suitable for the game of baseball he wanted his team to play. It was a wooden structure and subject to significant maintenance and fire risks.

The new stadium would be built with concrete and steel, along with 23,000-seats. Although the stadium did not have that may seats when it opened, it was later expanded and changed multiple times, peaking at 35,000 seats, and sitting 32,000 in the ballpark’s last season.

The construction for the stadium began on March 14, 1912 and took just more than one year to complete. Ebbets also announced the ballpark would be named after himself, giving it the name Ebbets Field.

The stadium, which was designed by Clarence Randall Van Buskirk and built by Castle Brothers, Inc., cost $750,000 to build at the time, which is more than $22 million today.

Ebbets Field hosted its first game on April 5, 1913 against the New York Yankees with an overcapacity of 30,000 fans in attendance. An estimated 5,000 more fans arrived to see the park, but could not get in.

In addition to hosting the Brooklyn Dodgers, it also served as a stadium for other entertainments events, as well as football, hosting NFL, AFL, AAFC and NCAA games.

The park’s first night game was played on June 15, 1938, drawing a crowd of 38,748 when the Dodgers hosted the Cincinnati Reds.

It featured a historic moment as Reds’ pitcher Johnny Vander Meer threw his second consecutive no-hitter, a feat that has never been duplicated in MLB history.

Ebbets Field remained the home of the Dodgers until 1957, their final season in Brooklyn before moving to Los Angeles in 1958.

Ebbets Field following Dodgers move to L.A.

After the Dodgers left Brooklyn, Ebbets Field sporadically hosted soccer, along with baseball at various levels from high school to college, and a handful of Negro league games, featuring a team formed by Dodgers legend Roy Campanella.

The demolition of Ebbets Field began on Feburary 23, 1960. It was replaced by an apparent structure named the Ebbets Fields Apartments, which opened in 1962 and still stands today under the same name.

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