Touring the Lost Ballparks of Baltimore With Author Burt Solomon

Burt Solomon and Terry Hartzell Touring the Former Site of Union Park

As a die-hard Baltimore Orioles fan and amateur  historian, one of my all-time favorite books is Burt Solomon’s Where They Ain’t, The Fabled Life and Untimely Death of the Original Baltimore Orioles, the Team That Gave Birth to Modern Baseball, ranking right up there with James Bready’s Baseball in Baltimore, The First Hundred Years. Thanks to Terry Hartzell, a fan of both Burt’s book and my book Deadball, A Metaphysical Baseball Novel, I had the opportunity to take both Burt and Terry on one of my Lost Ballparks of Baltimore Tours. Our first stop was the former site of Union Park at the corner of East 25th Street and Guilford Avenue, followed by a walking tour up Barclay Street to East 29th Street and the former site of American League Park, which is now a McDonald’s.

Burt Solomon and David Stinson Standing in Front of Memorial Stadium's Former Infield, Now a Youth Baseball Park Courtesy of the Ripken Foundation.

Next we walked across East 29th Street to the former site of Terrapin Park/old Oriole Park, where we confirmed that the 16 original row houses that sat behind what was once right-center field all remain at the site. After walking back to the car, we drove less than a mile from Union Park to the former site of Memorial Stadium, where pieces of brick and concrete from the stadium still can be found amongst the dirt, exposed by the weather.

After bidding adieu to Burt, Terry and I continued on to New Cathedral Cemetery, where four Hall of Fame Orioles are interred (John McGraw, Joe Kelley, Ned Hanlon, and Wilbert Robinson). Our final stop for the day was the former site of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, where a young Babe Ruth was raised as a ward of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.  The historic baseball site includes the field where Babe Ruth learned to play the game, a building from St. Mary’s dating back to Ruth’s time at the school (the former Industrial Arts Building), and the former St. Mary’s Chapel, which was converted into a school building prior to Cardinal Gibbons High School arriving there in 1962.

I hope to conduct another Lost Ballparks of Baltimore Tour some time this spring. If you are interested in coming along, just send me a comment to this post.

 

20 Responses to 'Touring the Lost Ballparks of Baltimore With Author Burt Solomon'

  1. Avatar Matt Fogelson says:

    David – I would be very interested on taking the tour if you do another one in the spring. I grew up on 30th street between Barclay and Abell avenues. My childhood bedroom looks out over the Barclay School’s playground. I’m a lifelong O’s fan and I’ve always been fascinated by the history of the old stadiums, one of which was almost literally in my backyard.

    Matt Fogelson

    • David Stinson David Stinson says:

      Hello Matt – Glad to hear you are interested in a tour. I will make sure I keep you in the loop. It won’t be until some point after opening day. In the meantime, be sure to check out my companion website – deadballbaseball.com, which is a then and now lost ballpark site. DBS

  2. Avatar Terry L. Hartzell says:

    Well of course I love the article, because I’m in it! Apart from the shameless self-promotion, I wanted to go on record as thanking you, David, for giving up a Sunday afternoon (and a beautiful one at that) to show Burt and me around. It was the best trip to Baltimore I’ve ever had that didn’t involve a baseball game. Actually, it tops many of those as well. Go Os!

  3. Avatar Rob Noel says:

    I would love to take a tour as well, or any other baseball adventure you go on. As a huge fan of the history of baseball you definitely have a great website to feed my brain! Thanks

    • David Stinson David Stinson says:

      Hello Rob

      Thanks for the kind words. I will be sure to let you know the next time we schedule a tour. Should be some time this Spring.

      DBS

  4. Avatar Charlie Vascellaro says:

    Yes please count me in for your next Lost Ballparks tour.

  5. Avatar Mark McGrath says:

    Please let me know when you’re doing this again-would enjoy the tour.

  6. Avatar Rick Agran says:

    Little known Fact : The first playing field in Baltimore is located at what would now be the lake area of Druid Hill Park.

    • David Stinson David Stinson says:

      Hello Rick

      Very interesting. Thanks for the information.

      Who played there and when? I take it the lake in Druid Hill Park is man made?

      DBS

      • Avatar Rick Agran says:

        Looking forward to learning more about the history in Balto. and will connect with you when the “Time gods” bring forth that opportunity. Yes, I believe the Bready book may have been the source of that info I shared,but will confirm when I track it down.

  7. Avatar Teddie Arnold says:

    Hi David,

    I may be too late, but I would love to take part in the ballpark tour. I am a SABR member and huge fan of Baltimore baseball history. Keep me in the loop. Thanks.

    Teddie Arnold

    • David Stinson David Stinson says:

      Hello Teddie

      Thanks for the post. We have not yet had that tour, I am hoping to do so after the college wooden bat season comes to an end in August (I am GM of a team in Silver Spring and it takes up most of my free time). I will be sure to let you know.

      DBS

  8. Avatar Jim Scott says:

    Also hope I’m not too late. I’d also love to take this tour. I’ve had a fascination with 19th century baseball for years.

    Thanks
    Jim

    • David Stinson David Stinson says:

      Hello Jim

      I will be certain to send you an email letting you know when our next tour will be. Hopefully soon.

  9. Avatar Robert Coleman says:

    I have seen a quote from Burt Solomon about A. S Abell being Ferdinand “Gus” Abell’s uncle. They are my great, great, great and great, great, great, great uncles. A. S. left the same home town before Gus was born. I have no evidence of any contact between A. S. or his children and Gus. A, S worked at NY Sun while Bennette owned the NY Herald. Gus and Bennett.Jr. had caninos in Rhode Island. Don’t know if they had a business relationship

  10. Avatar Tim Flaherty says:

    David, if you plan one of the Lost Ballpark tours for 2015, I am very interested in coming. Love the Orioles and all their colorful history.

    • David Stinson David Stinson says:

      Hello Tim

      I am planning on another Lost Ballpark tour this off season. I will be certain to let you know. Thank you for your interest and you are right, Baltimore has a colorful baseball history.

      DBS