Research Notes

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:

Much better.

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 Avenues.

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 16, 1855:

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 Library—Brooklyn Collection

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 Association) Grounds.

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.


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, 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, 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. is brought to you by
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