This is a page for things we have found that we are pretty sure had been lost in the mists of time, and
also for thanking those people who helped us find things not lost in the mists of time.
What's on this page
How we found the Long Island Grounds
When we started this endeavor, we feared that we'd never see the Long Island Grounds. Granted, the
park only saw two major league games in 1890, and one of those was forfeited, but still, the fact
that no-one could answer the question better than "somewhere in Maspeth" bothered us. In fact,
one email correspondent went so far as to say "I believe no human being knows the location."
So, we went to the best source for locating anything: Sanborn fire insurance maps. A Maspeth map
from 1891 didn't cover anything beyond the center of the village. But a Queens map from 1903 had
this tantalizing fragment:
That racetrack-ballpark looking thing there is Feldman's Park, which has an interesting history of its own. Was this also the Long Island Grounds?
Worth a shot. So we searched for Feldman's in the Brooklyn Eagle archive, and found this fabulous piece:
So, the Long Island Grounds were on the other side of the street. Looks like that would be Grand Street,
probably. But just where? We guessed that maybe it was closer to the intersection on the right (then
Flushing Avenue, now 57th Street) but how could we know for sure? We looked around on the web, and
found this on a survey map from 1891:
Well, that looks like a racetrack- Feldman's. The locale looks right. And there was only one street to
be across back then, and there's all that swamp, and you can't play ball in a swamp, which pretty much solves the case. The Long Island
Grounds were on the block north and west of Grand Street and Flushing Avenue (now Grand Ave and 57th Street). Let's modify that
first map a little:
How many Ridgewood Parks?
For the longest time, it's been recorded that Byrne's Brooklyns played Sunday games at Ridgewood
Park from 1886 to 1889, and the Gladiators played most of their home games there in 1890. When we
tried to find the right location to photograph, we were quite confused by the addresses we found,
though. Myrtle and Seneca. Irving and Halsey. These are somewhat nearby, but that would be a hell of a huge
ballpark. Then we quite accidentally saw this in the Brooklyn Eagle of April 4, 1887:
So, two Ridgewood Parks were used for major league games. It's nice to find a little lost history.
The Satellite Ground?
This was a new one to us. Just when we thought we knew every ballpark in town, we read in Long Before the Dodgers, by James L. Terry,
a little about the Satellite Ground, home to many early games of baseball between black teams in Brooklyn. Cutting a long story short, ie:
not mentioning the many shaky conclusions reached on the way here, let's take a stab at sorting out the location of two places at once.
Terry mentions in the book that the Manor Grounds (early home to the Eckford Club before they moved to the Union Grounds) probably became
the Satellite Ground, and gives the
vague address "north of Meeker Avenue." Not much is given to back this up, so we went searching for some association between the two, and
a specific address. First, we found this from Spirit of the Times, March 31, 1860:
Well, that associates a Manor House with a Satellite ground of sorts. Odd that a team from Williamsburgh should
play in Bushwick, but it could be a different Manor House. Or the reporter could just be wrong. Or the boundaries were
a lot more fluid then. Then, confirming that Eckford did indeed play at a Manor House ground, we saw this in the NY Times, July 9, 1859:
Greenpoint is where Eckford is supposed to be, so that's good. Now we have a tangle of Eckford, Manor House, and Satellite all associated
in some way. But here are the Eckfords in Bushwick, from the NY Times of September 1, 1858:
We are assured by George Miller, at the Queens Borough Public Library, that Bushwick was once a far
larger entity that is reasonably mixed with Greenpoint, an entity that was never officially defined.
So, we come to this smoking gun from the NY Times of June 15, 1868:
That's smack in the middle of Williamsburgh, south of Greenpoint and definitely not north of Meeker Avenue. And real estate ads have very good
reason to be very accurate with their addresses. There's no point holding an auction no-one can find. This also gives us
an end date for the Satellite Ground. So how did it get its name, if not from the cricket club? Well,
the Capitoline Grounds, Union Grounds, and Washington Park all took their names from skating ponds
on the exact same sites. What of the Satellite Ground? Brooklyn Eagle, October 15, 1893:
A google maps check will show that fits very nicely with also being at Broadway and
Rutledge. Further, we found a later article in the New York Tribune declaring the Satellite Pond to
have been "across the street" from the Union Pond. Finally, we stumbled on this in the Brooklyn
Daily Eagle of March 30, 1896:
So we have found the Manor House at Meeker Avenue- with a much more specific address, too, which is most definitely in Greenpoint,
about a mile and a quarter north of Broadway and Rutledge in Williamsburgh. So, here is our hypothesis for now:
Update: George Miller helped a lot here, and we may have found the exact site of the Manor House
Grounds. The Manor House was originally built in Greenpoint in 1749 on Woodpoint Road at what is
now Monitor Street and Engert Avenue very near Meeker Avenue.
By the 1840s it was very run down, but was restored to be a road house. According to historian
Eugene Armbruster, innkeeper Bob Clarkson opened up the grounds for sporting activity, and the grounds became known as
Clarkson's Grounds. Later, the Eckford Club played on a strip
of land opposite the Manor House owned by the Backus estate
from their beginning until moving to the Union Grounds in 1862. It is unclear whether the two
grounds were the same, or were separate and simply nearby. The Manor House itself was demolished
in 1892, but an establishment called the Manor House Cafe was built at nearby Meeker and Kingsland
- The Eckford's Manor House Ground was on or near to the grounds of the Manor House at Meeker and Kingsland in Greenpoint.
- The Satellite Cricket Club's grounds were at a Manor House which is probably the one in Greenpoint,
since the Greenpoint/Bushwick mixup happens for both clubs, but since we are looking for baseball fields, we don't
mind for now if that remains uncertain.
- The Satellite Base Ball Ground was a whole different entity over a mile south of there in Williamsburg, at Broadway
- Further, the confusion of Satellite names led James Terry (and us, for a while) to erroneously conclude that
the Manor House and Satellite base ball grounds were the same thing.
So that Euchre Club clue was a slight red herring. But, we have a new trail. On the labels of an old
map reproduced at the Greenpoint, USA website we read:
On the site now known as Winthrop Park was the Backus Farm. Here, locals enjoyed the winter snow
where "the sledding was fine."
Winthrop Park, now known as McGolrick Park, is bounded by Driggs Avenue to the south, Russell Street
to the west, Nassau Avenue to the north, and Monitor Street to the east, according to Wikipedia- which
puts it right opposite the real Manor House and near the cafe. That's
certainly a ballpark sized block. It seems fair to conclude that the Eckford Club played right there,
or very close to it.
The earliest Atlantic game
The first recorded competitive game of the Atlantic Club was against the Harmony Club on October 22, 1855. But how did they
select a nine for that game? They must have practiced. The Spirit of the Times was there to record one such game, on August
X marks the... what?
When we looked at the Atlantic
game book, we thought we basically understood early scoring systems. It started like cricket,
with just runs and outs recorded. In this case, a number to say if the player was the first, second,
or third out, and a dot for each run they scored in the inning. Gradually (as shown on that card)
more detail was added about how people got out, then, later, how they got on base. But we also saw,
over some dots, the occasional X marked.
We had competing theories, now put to the test by comparing Chadwick's very complete match report
from the Brooklyn Eagle to the card from the library.
So there are X marks for Pearce in the second inning, C.J. Smith in the second, and Start in
the second and third. What can we see in the match report?
Second inning: Charlie Smith got a clear home run from a ball to centre field. Start followed
suit, and in the same spot got a home run. [...] Pearce got a home run on a splendid hit to
centre field, bringing Sprague home.
So X seems to mean a home run. Or a hit to CF. Let's bet on the former. But just to make sure...
Third inning: Start got a home run on a splendid hit to centerfield.
Dammit. Trust us, it means a home run. Really. And yes, either Chadwick or the Eagle's typesetter
really was that inconsistent in spelling "center."
An exercise in photo identification
The Brooklyn Public Library site has a bunch of lovely 19th century pictures by the photographic pioneer
and Brooklyn resident George Brainerd. Some of them are stereopticons. Most of them are well
documented. Unfortunately, this one is not
so well documented. Of course, being a sporting photo, we wish to know where it is.
The mysterious George Brainerd photo
Photograph courtesy Brooklyn Public
We can find references to two well used, enclosed grounds with cinder running tracks in the
1880s when Brainerd was still taking pictures - he died in 1887. One was the Williamsburgh
Athletic Club Grounds, later the Brooklyn Athletic Association Grounds, at Dekalb and Classon
Avenues. The other was the Brooklyn Athletic Club Grounds, at 9th Avenue (now Prospect Park West)
and 9th Street.
So, an excursion was organized, and buildings inspected in the area of those two locations,
in the faint hope that the ones in the picture might still be intact. Since the buildings shown
go downhill, away from the camera on the left, then we are either looking at 10th Street from
near Prospect Park West or Classon Avenue from Dekalb. Both of those blocks have a gentle grade
in the correct direction.
First up, we visited 10th Street. No joy, alas. The buildings look quite different, with elaborate
cornices on top, all uniform and therefore clearly original to the development. They are also
mainly 2.5 storeys rather than 3, which the ones in the photo mostly appear to be.
Next up, after a trip on the F and G trains, was Classon Avenue. There was a bigger problem here -
the buildings no longer exist. That block has long been part of Pratt Institute's campus, and was
in fact the site of Pratt Field (III). It now features an iron fence, lots of trees, and nothing
resembling an apartment building. At least we confirmed the grade looked about right.
So, what next? Sanborn maps, as ever, save the day.
That's part of the west side of Classon Avenue, between Dekalb and Willoughby, in 1888. Check the
heights of the buildings from left to right. Three storeys, five times. Four storeys. Three storeys,
five times. A small gap, then another three storeys.
Now check the photograph. Three storeys, four times, cut off to the left. Four storeys. Three storeys,
five times. A small gap, then something that may be 2.5 or 3 storeys depending on grade. A striking
similarity to the map, we think. In fingerprint jargon, we'd call that a ten point match. So we are
very confident in labelling this photograph: Williamsburgh Athletic Club (later Brooklyn Athletic
A list of Dodger nicknames
It is our contention that the Brooklyn Dodgers have been granted more nicknames than any sports
team in history. Even if that's not true, they must be very near the top of the list. Here is a list
of the ones we were able to track down, with early examples of usage:
In many places, there are two more nicknames mistakenly listed that were never associated with the team.
Brooklyn Eagle, April 7, 1883 - There are now seven clubs in the Inter State arena, viz.:
the Brooklyns, Harrisburg, Trenton, Active, of Reading; Quickstep, of Wilmington, Anthracite, of
Pottsvile, and Albert Merritt, of Camden.
- Byrne's Men
Brooklyn Eagle, July 5, 1887 - Twelve innings left the contest still a tie - Byrne's Men lose the
Brooklyn Eagle, September 13, 1889 - The ground keeper, Mr. Windram, at Washington Park received a call
yesterday from a 12 year old lad, who was deputed by a number of his comrades to ask Mr. Windram
for permission to store a number of barrels in his cellar. When asked what the purpose was to be
the lad said: "Well, you see, Mr. Windram. we's swipin' de barrels ter have a big bonfire when der
Brooks win de champeenship, and beside we's going' to have a percession wid torches dat'll make
Mr. Byrnesy proud of his friends."
- Goo Goos
Brooklyn Eagle, May 28, 1895 - The Goo Goos, as a fair enthusiast recently christened the Brooklyns,
arrived in town this morning and hurried to Eastern Park.
The Brooklyn Eagle of April 6, 1888 noted that eleven of the Brooklyn team
were married, and that most of these were "yearling bridegrooms." A simple note soon became a name.
Brooklyn Eagle, June 3, 1888 - Cincinnati again lowers its colors before the unconquerable
- Ward's Wonders
This name had been commonly applied to the Brooklyn team in the Players
League, which was managed by John Montgomery Ward. After the 1890 season, the P.L. club merged with
Byrne's club, and Ward was retained as manager. The nickname hung on, too.
Brooklyn Eagle, April 21, 1892 - I do not see how team work is to be expected if
the leading paper of Brooklyn sees only one man in the whole Brooklyn team and dubs them as
- Trolley City Nine
New York Times, May 5, 1895 - Baltimore ball players shut out the Trolley
- Trolley Dodgers
The cruel game of Trolley Dodger was one played by children to scare trolley
car drivers. A human effigy would be lifted by strings in front of the car, so the driver would think
he was about to hit someone.
Brooklyn Eagle, 18 August, 1896 - The lead secured by the Bostons through timely hitting, some
costly misplays and a yellow decisions by Umpire Sheridan, proved too much for the
Obviously a contraction of Trolley Dodgers, this is the name that stuck eventually.
Brooklyn Eagle, May 9, 1897 - In his old time form McMahon ought to stand off Payne as regards the number
of games he can land for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers inherited manager Ned Hanlon from the Baltimore Orioles when the
two clubs merged prior to the 1899 season. At the same time, a theater act called Hanlon's Superbas
was in operation, and a nickname was born.
Brooklyn Eagle, April 29, 1899 - Superbas made a rally in the last inning, but
fell short one run.
Brooklyn Eagle, August 12, 1899 - The advance agent of the Hanlon's "Superba" Company, a well
known theatrical firm, has written a letter to Manager Hanlon of the Brooklyn Club, complimenting
him on the fine showing of the team to date. The firm considers that the name given to the
Brooklyn team has been an advertisement for its show and in order to show its appreciation,
promises to present a banner to the team at the end of the season.
Wilbert Robinson was appointed manager in 1914, and the Robins nickname soon followed.
New York Times, June 3, 1914 - Braves win in the 13th.; Split Double Header with Robins Despite
- Flatbush Flock
Brooklyn Eagle, October 11, 1916 - Robbie Red Face, the recognized leader of the Flatbush Flock,
sang loudest and with the most cheer.
- Daffiness Boys
Rochester Democrat, September, 1930 - The St. Louis Cardinals beat Uncle Wilbert
Robinson's "Daffiness Boys" today for the second time in their current series of three games which
the loose-thinking element believe will effect a decision in the matter of the National League
Another contraction of an earlier nickname.
Brooklyn Eagle, August 13, 1933 - The expected Dodger rally did arrive in the ninth inning, had Brandt on
the run for a while, and though the Flock scored two runs, it didn't mean a thing.
- Flatbush Fusileers
Presumably a riff on the still popular Bronx Bombers nickname for the Yankees.
Brooklyn Eagle, February 20, 1937 - Henshaw, a cunning
southpaw, was traded along with infielder Elwood English to the Flatbush Fusileers at the minor
league meetings in Montreal.
- Dem Bums
Brooklyn Eagle, August 27, 1941 - When he isn't pitching for "dem bums" - the Brooklyn Dodgers - Whitlow
Wyatt is a Southern gentleman, suh.
- Boys of Summer
Roger Khan's classic 1972 book bestowed this nickname in retrospect
on the Dodgers of the 1950s, and the moniker soon became legendary.
The Brooklyn Base Ball Club was formed by George Taylor, Charles Byrne,
and partners as a wholly new entity. It was in no way related to the old Atlantic Club, the 1880s one run by
Billy Barnie, or any other Atlantic team. The confusion may have been caused by Barnie's Atlantic team
playing regular matches against the Metropolitans of the American Association.
In 1887, Byrne arranged for two snappy new uniforms for his men, one white
with a blue stripe, and one in a bluish gray, "the same worn by the famous Providence Grays." In
1888, 1889, and possibly other years, the team split into separate nines in pre-season games, and
dressed accordingly, playing matches of Grays versus Whites. The nickname was never applied to the
This page will be updated if and when we find more lost facts. Anything else on the site is something
someone else already figured out. We're just organizing it all in one place, and trying to give credit.
If they're not mentioned on individual pages, credit goes out to: Neil deMause, Phil Lowry, Jane and Douglas
Jacobs, Wayne Stivers, Paul Healey of Project Ballpark, Paul Luchter of The Amazing Sports Lists Page,
Mark Rucker whose pictures are here, Brian Merlis of brooklynpix.com, Jeff Suntala of Evolution of the
Ballpark, Bill Cahill, Ken "Trolley Car" Schlapp, John "Stacks" Hyslop at the QBPL, Irvin Matus,
the Brooklyn Eagle archive, the
Library of Congress and New
York Public Library digital collections, Anna Isaacson at the Brooklyn Cyclones front office,
Jerry Kuntz, Margaret McNally,
Susan Price of the BFS Alumni,
Alan F. Stein of the Erasmus Hall Alumni,
Ed Meyer, John Maher, Bernie Noonan, John Calamia, and Tom Smith of the Brooklyn Prep Alumni,
Steve Baldwin of BrooklynParrots.com, Richard Cox of
the Harbor Defense Museum at Fort Hamilton, Ron Doswell of the Negro
Leagues Baseball Museum,
George Miller of the QBPL and the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society,
Amy Peck of the Prospect Park Archives, all
of the people at retrosheet, Kevin Tulley, Richard Hershberger, Paul Wendt, Ron Selter, Craig Waff,
Tom Shieber, SABR in general, Baseball
Reference, Tom Bossen at College Gridirons, the very helpful librarians at the
New York, Brooklyn,
and Queens libraries, Eric Miklich of the 19th
Century Base Ball site, the amazing Fulton History newspaper archive,
sandlot star Bernie Spiro, Dodger historian and collector Allen Schery, the descendants of Ambrose Hussey,
Samantha Berkley and Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project,
Kim Maier at the Old Stone House, Artie Anderson,
and anyone else we've probably forgotten. If your name should be here, let us know.
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