Chicago’s Lakefront Park 1878–The First Game

23 May

The Chicago White Stockings left Twenty-Third Street Park and relocated to Lake Front Park near the corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.  The old Union Baseball Grounds had stood at the same spot, but was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871.

Lakefront Park

Lakefront Park

The ballpark opened on May 14, 1878 with a 3:45 pm “game between the Indianapolis nine (Blues) and the home nine.”  The Chicago Inter Ocean said:

“Although the day was very chilly and exceedingly unpleasant for out-door sports, fully 2,500 people assembled to witness the game and listen to a very ‘queer’ band, provided by President (William) Hulbert to officiate at the opening and funeral services of his white-hosed boys.”

——

“The game was not particularly interesting except from the fact that from the first inning until the twenty-seventh man had been retired it was extremely doubtful which club would win.  The play of (Joe) Quest of the Indianapolis (sic) was by far the most brilliant of the game.  He covered the position of second base with greater ease and accuracy than any player that has been seen for many a day.  He won the game for his club by a very clever double play in the ninth inning.  The game stood 3 to 5 in favor of Indianapolis with one man out and all the bases full.  (Jimmy) Hallinan came to the bat and hit a high ball to the right of second base which Quest succeeded in catching, and by very fast running reached the base before (Terry) Larkin

Edward “The Only” Nolan got the victory for Indianapolis but “did not particularly distinguish himself in the field,” making three errors.

Of the White Stockings, The Inter Ocean said:

(Frank) Hankinson played third without an error, and received very (sic) deserved applause for a number of excellent plays.  Hallinan was brilliant in the left field, and (Cap) Anson was remarkably stupid at second.”

None of the newspaper accounts of the game elaborated on Anson’s play at second.

The Inter Ocean did elaborate on Hulbert’s band:

“(T)he dismal music furnished by the band appeared to affect almost to tears the Chicago ball-players.  Another game will be played tomorrow afternoon at the same hour, and a far different result is expected.  There will be no band.”

The Box Score

The Box Score

The White Stockings would go on to win three straight National League Championships 1880-82) at Lakefront Park (sometimes referred to as Lakeshore Park).  The ballpark was expanded after the 1882 season and remained the White Stockings’ home until they moved to West Side Park in 1885.

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8 Responses to “Chicago’s Lakefront Park 1878–The First Game”

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