Braves Field

Braves Field Braves Field "The Wigwam" - Home of the Boston Braves - 1915 - 1952

Braves Field was a ballpark that formerly stood on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. The stadium was home to the Boston Braves, National League franchise from 1915–1952, when the team moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Significant portions of the original structure still stand in place, and make up part of the Nickerson Field sports complex.

Boston Braves

Boston Braves

The Rajah on the cover of Time in 1928

Boston Braves

Boston Braves


Boston Braves pitcher Joe Oeschger and Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Leon Cadore each pitched 26 innings in a 1-1 tie at Braves Field in what has to be one of the most weird and amazing games in major league history. Darkness halted the game and both pitchers slept for a least a full day following their marathon feat. What was going through their manager's minds as they kept trotting out for inning after inning? No pitch count but I'm guessing both men had to have thrown at least 400 pitches apiece as they pitched nearly three complete games in one mind bending outing.

Boston Braves Historical Association

Boston Braves Historical Association

Did you know that today was the 150th Anniversary of the Boston Braves?

We have a little treat for you ...

150th Anniversary Tribute
By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson was a weak hit, weak field second baseman for the Lawrence Academy JV team in Groton Ma
who has been lucky enough to channel his love for the game as Curator of The Sports Museum in Boston
since 1982 and has also authored, co-authored, or edited 24 books on a variety of topics including histories of all of
Boston's major league franchises including our beloved Boston Braves. He also edited a revised edition
of Harold Kease's classic Boston Braves history, originally published in the Putnam series and re-issued by
University Press of New England.

May 5th marks the date of the 150th anniversary of the team, once known as our Boston Braves, who began play as the Red Stockings in the old National Association in 1871. Like several pro teams such as the Canadiens as well as the Knicks and Celtics who played in the Basketball Association of America prior to the NBA, their history predates the league in which they play. They’re the oldest continuously operated pro sports franchise in North America.

Over the years I’ve come to love the history of this band of underdogs. They survived ballpark fires, terrible owners, the arrival of their American League rivals and the fact that their rare successes always came at almost the exact same time and were overshadowed by the successes of the Red Sox. Only the heroics of Cleveland’s Gene Bearden and Lou Boudreau in the single game 1948 American League pennant playoff game kept us from witnessing what would have been Boston’s only streetcar World Series.

So here is my poem, a tribute to the team that called Beantown home from 1871-1952.

The roster of former players is now down to only two. Fittingly it’s the battery of catcher Del Crandall (1949-50) and pitcher Bert Thiel (1952).

This one’s for them.

Boston’s Braves

The Braves have hit one fifty
As our continent’s oldest team
Yes, their Beantown days were nifty
As they oft were baseball’s cream

For ages Boston had two teams
Two ballparks hosting separate leagues
From Op’ning day to season’s close
We cheered our tribe, as well the hose

Never did we have a day
In summer where they didn’t play
At Fenway where poor pitchers yield
Not so at spacious vast Braves Field

To cheer those Braves some thought irrational
The nation knew them as the Nationals
Compared to Fenway and fair Ted
Their star, a Mathews known as Ed

Once many stars lit Boston’s night
It started with the brothers Wright
Radbourn’s curves were often fickle
Their Knothole Gang just paid a nickel

AG Spalding, Deacon Wright
Cal McVey would lead the fight
Tim Murname and Jim O’Rourke
Pleased their fans from County Cork

Tommy Bond and Ezra Sutton
Smacked the horsehide on the button
John Morrill and Dan O’Leary
Made opponents sad and weary

Moriarty, Burdock, Hackett
Stirred the crowds to make a racket
Likewise, Kelly was their king
Decades before Johnny Kling

Cranks would gladly pay their cash
To see left fielder Billy Nash
Though many others had their druthers
Cheering Clarkson and Dan Brouthers

Herman Long and Bobby Lowe
Billy Hamilton on the go
Marty Bergen and Kid Nichols
Kept opponents in a pickle

Skipper Selee, quite the gent
His Heavenly Twins helped pay the rent
Lewis, Lake and Charlie Hickman
Stahl and Tenney, quite the stick men

The nineties saw them tall world beaters
Boston’s bold and brash Beaneaters
Stared down Keeler and McGraw
Foe Ned Hanlon watched in awe

In ’14 Stallings raised his lash
Led his boys to first from last
With Rabbit, Tyler, Rudolph, Mann
Perdue, Gowdy and Paul Strand

Davis, Crutcher, Long Tom Hughes
Possum Whitted paid his dues
Devore, Luque, Hess and James
Led their team to wealth and fame

When Braves Field soon came off the griddle
Its team had slumped to second fiddle
As crosstown fans cheered Ruth and Hooper
Our Braves were flat and rarely super

The twenties played a ball yard dirge
So bad, their play defied mere words
Though Marquard, Hornsby and John Cooney
Kept their fans from going looney

Shanty Hogan, Bunny Hearn
The “Great” Art Shires bridges burned
In ’35 Babe Ruth did come
But soon was treated like a bum

Wally Berger, Elbie Fletcher
Saw their team placed on a stretcher
Moore, McKechnie at the ready
As were Urbanski and Lou Fette

Soon they would be known as Bees
Continued drawing nigh but fleas
Then Stengel came to save the day
Left fans to swear and cry Oy Vey

Though post war fortunes eased some pain
With Spahn and Sain we prayed for rain
Southworth’s boys soon reached their peak
As Tommy Holmes achieved a streak

In ’48 they were a smash
While itching for a crosstown clash
A classic played out in the Fall
The Red Sox simply dropped the ball

WIth Feller vanquished in game one
We thought their tribe was on the run
Soon Boudreau, Doby and Ken Keltner
Had the Bostons seeking shelter

A sixth game loss was tough to take
While fireworks soared above their lake
Never would our Boston team
Rekindle fourteen’s title dreams

Soon Stanky and Al Dark were traded
As fans sat stunned and somewhat jaded
Shoun, RIckert, Barrett, “Mr. Team”
Bickford snared his no-hit dream

Torgy, Sibby heard the cheers
Sam Jethroe, Rookie of the Year
Surkont, Reiser, Emil Verban
Reminded fans of old Luke Urban

Despite cheap tickets and fried clams
Their lousy play forced fans to scram
A park share deal turned down by Yawkey
Helped pave the highway to Milwaukee

Now all’s that left of all those years
Are memories, trinkets, and fresh tears
A battery is all that’s left
With Del and Bert we aren’t bereft

They gave us victories, joy and fun
Their legacy, The Jimmy Fund
Though now in Georgia they do thrive
Our boys, our team, our pride, our Tribe

Lost Ballparks

Lost Ballparks

This beautiful section of Braves Field, Boston (home of the Braves from 1915-1952) still stands on the campus of Boston University and is now apart of Nickerson Field. Photo Credit: Mike Jardin (Thanks for sending this one in Mike!) Well worth the visit next time you are in Mass.! The 1936 All-Star Game was played here featuring 20 future MLB Hall of Famers, including Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Carl Hubbell, Lefty Grove, Dizzy Dean, Luke Appling and Mel Ott.

An outstanding patriot and great player.

An outstanding patriot and great player.

Johnny Sain returned to baseball in 1946 after serving three years in the United States Navy. He had a 2.21 ERA and no strikeouts in 104 plate appearances at bat.

Old-Time Baseball Photos on Twitter
Old-Time Baseball Photos on Twitter

Old-Time Baseball Photos on Twitter

“Braves Field, Boston, Oct 7, 1948 - A man sits on roof watching Game 2 action of 1948 World Series between Cleveland Indians and Boston Braves. The Tribe won 4-1 to tie series at one game apiece in front of the near sellout crowd of 39,633. Cleveland would win series in 6 games”

Old-Time Baseball Photos

Old-Time Baseball Photos

Another Edition of "Baseball Forgotten Stars"

All-Star Third Baseman Bob Elliott

“Bob Elliott made the 1948 Braves. He’s the old-time type who hits and plays his best in the clutch.” –Rogers Hornsby

Before I highlight the career of forgotten star Bob Elliott, here’s something that happened involving Elliott that I think you’ll find amusing.

In a game played at Sportsman’s Park on August 23, 1952, Elliott was ejected by umpire Augie Donatelli after Elliott kicked dirt on the umpire’s shoes protesting a called strike two. The Giants’ third baseman was replaced by Bobby Hofman to finish up the at-bat.

And guess what? In what may be a “baseball first,” – or better yet, a baseball “one-and-only" - Hofman was also thrown out of the game by Donatelli after he vehemently disputed the called strike three! Two players ejected in the same at-bat!

Bob Elliott definitely falls into the category of “good but not great.” He may be one of the best players most fans have never heard of. The 6-foot, 185-pound San Francisco native played 15 years in the major leagues (1939-1954) for the Pirates, Braves, Giants, Browns, and White Sox. Most of his success came with the Pirates and the Braves.

Over his career, the seven-time All-Star third baseman batted .289 with 170 home runs, 2061 hits, 1195 RBI, a .375 on-base percentage, and a .440 slugging average. His career OPS+ of 124 places him well above his major league contemporaries (100 being the major league average). Along with Pie Traynor, he was the second major league third baseman to have five seasons of 100 RBIs and he retired with the highest career slugging percentage (.440) of any National League third baseman.

Elliott contributed some of the greatest memories to the Braves' final years in Boston, winning the 1947 National League MVP Award while earning the nickname of "Mr. Team” for his clutch hitting. That year, he hit .317, with 22 home runs, and 113 RBIs, .410 on-base percentage, and .517 slugging average.

The following season, 1948, the Braves’ star led them to their second National League pennant of the 20th century, the first in 34 years, hitting .283 with 23 home runs, 100 RBIs .423 on-base percentage, and .474 slugging average. Known for his outstanding batting eye, he also led the league in walks with 131 while striking out only 57 times. Over his career, he struck out only 604 times in 8204 plate appearances. In the 1948 World Series, he hit .333 with two home runs and five RBIs.

He’s the holder of one of the greatest moments in Braves’ franchise history when his three-run home run off the Giants’ Larry Jansen clinched at least a tie for the 1948 National League pennant. A converted outfielder, he developed into a fine third baseman and led the league in assists three times and in putouts and double plays twice each. He ended his career among the league’s leaders in games played (8th), assists (7th), total chances (10th) and double plays (4th) at third base.

Following his major league career, he played and later managed the San Diego Padres in the Pacific Coast League. He also managed the Sacramento Solans, and in 1960 managed the Kansas City Athletics, his only major league managing opportunity. He was fired by new owner Charley Finley after a last-place finish and replaced by Joe Gordon. Elliott also coached for the expansion Los Angeles Angels in their first season.

For those of us who never saw him play, we can use Baseball Reference’s “Similarity Scores” to compare him with players we’re more familiar with. Bob Elliott’s career statistics compare favorably to Amos Otis, Minnie Minoso, Ken Griffey, Bobby Doerr, Cesar Cedano, and Carney Langsford.

Third base is the most underrepresented position in the Hall of Fame. A case can be made that Bob Elliott at least deserves consideration. Before you dismiss this notion out-of-hand, consider this: Of the 14 primarily third basemen already in the Hall, his stats compare favorably. If he was selected, out of the 14, he'd rank 10th in batting average, fifth in on-base percentage, 11th in slugging average, tenth in hits, eighth in home runs, ninth in RBIs, and tenth in runs. He'd be a very respectable middle-to-lower-tier member of the Hall among third basemen.

Bob Elliott passed away in 1966 aged 49 after suffering a ruptured vein in his windpipe. Let's take a moment to salute a fine ballplayer whose on-field accomplishments have largely been lost over the passage of time, Bob Elliott.

Gary Livacari

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Information: Excerpts edited from Bob Elliott Wikipedia page; and the Bob Elliott SABR Bioproject article by John McMurray:

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Lost Ballparks

Lost Ballparks

When built, the dimensions at Braves Field (Boston) were: 402 to left, 530 to center and 395 to right. The old box office and RF stands still exists on the campus of Boston University.

Boston Baseball History

Boston Baseball History

November 9, 1950: Sam "The Jet" Jethroe, Boston Braves centerfielder (1950-1952) and the first African American to play professional baseball in Boston, is named the National League Rookie of the Year; at age 31, two months and 150 days, he remains the oldest player to be named Rookie-of-the-Year in either league.

Boston Braves

Boston Braves

"Boston, Oct 1915 - Record crowds of over 40,000 for Games 3 & 4 of 1915 World Series showed why the Red Sox moved the games vs Philadelphia Phillies from Fenway Park to a more roomy Braves Field and this photo showed why you didn't starve if you were a hat maker back in the day." ~ Old-Time Baseball Photos on Twitter

Boston Braves

Boston Braves



August 15, 1947, Braves Field. Connie Ryan of the Braves is safe at home on a wild pitch by Joe Beggs of the Giants. Umpire Artie Gore makes the call. Boston wins the game 8-7 to improve to 60-52 on their way to 86 wins and a third place finish for the NL pennant.

Photo by the AP’s Abe Fox.

May 11, 1946: Braves Field hosts its first game under the lights | Society for American Baseball Research
May 11, 1946: Braves Field hosts its first game under the lights | Society for American Baseball Research

May 11, 1946: Braves Field hosts its first game under the lights | Society for American Baseball Research

In their ongoing struggle to outdraw the Red Sox, their team's longtime rivals for the affections of New England baseball fans, owners of the Boston Braves usually finished on the losing end. Cavernous Braves Field, situated just off an unexciting stretch of automobile dealerships on Boston’s Comm...

When We Wore Fedoras

When We Wore Fedoras

April 23, 1950 - At Braves Field, in the second of two games, the Boston Braves and Philadelphia Phillies start the match in daylight and finish under the lights, a first in the majors. The Phillies win, 6 - 5. Johnny Sain hurls the Braves to a 4 - 3 victory in the opener.



70 years ago today.

The Braves Left a Trail in Boston
The Braves Left a Trail in Boston

The Braves Left a Trail in Boston

The President of the Boston Braves Historical Association leads us on a walk down memory lane and demonstrates that while the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953, they left a legacy in Boston that li…

Opening Day line up for Boston Braves
Opening Day line up for Boston Braves

Opening Day line up for Boston Braves

(l to r:) Boston Braves Opening Day lineup for the 1951 season - Roy Hartsfield, Sam Jethroe, Earl Torgeson, Bob Elliott, Sid Gordon, Ebba St. Claire, Bob Addis, Johnny Logan, and Vern Bickford on the dugout steps at Braves Field.

When We Wore Fedoras

When We Wore Fedoras

March 20, 1915 - The Boston Braves break ground on Commonwealth Avenue and begin construction of Braves Field. Owner James E. Gaffney wants a large enough park so that inside-the-park homers can be hit in three directions. The field will open on August 18th

When We Wore Fedoras

When We Wore Fedoras

March 18, 1953 - The Boston Braves are moving to Milwaukee .The Braves have been in Boston, MA for 77 years. In a related move, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers move to Toledo, Ohio, where they become the latest incarnation of the Toledo Mud Hens.

A sad day!

A sad day!

"On this day in 1953, the Boston Braves are up on the New York Yankees 3-0 at Al Lang Field when in the 5th inning word comes to ballpark that the Braves transfer to Milwaukee has been approved. The next inning the Yankees rally for five runs and end up beating the Milwaukee Braves 5-3." ~ via Old-Time Baseball Photos

A sad day!

A sad day!

"On this day in 1953, the Boston Braves are up on the New York Yankees 3-0 at Al Lang Field when in the 5th inning word comes to ballpark that the Braves transfer to Milwaukee has been approved. The next inning the Yankees rally for five runs and end up beating the Milwaukee Braves 5-3." ~ via Old-Time Baseball Photos


285 Babcock St
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