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Thread: Braves Field Sale to Red Sox ?

  1. #1

    Braves Field Sale to Red Sox ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calif_Eagle
    In 1952, The Boston Braves gave up the city of Boston to the Red Sox and moved off to Milwaukee. A Brilliant move financially as the large new County Stadium would be packed for most of the decade to come. This success would be followed by moves of 2 the other 2 team "small market" cities teams. The Browns left St. Louis for Baltimore (sort of creating another 2 team metro area at least, in the process) and the Athletics moved from Philadelphia (not really a "small market") to Kansas City. When the latter 2 teams moved, the Browns sold their ballpark, Sportsmans Park, to the Cardinals. A logical move as both teams had been sharing the park for years. The Athletics sold Shibe Park to the Phillies, or at least leased it to them, as the Phillies had also been sharing the park since they left Baker Bowl in 1938. However, in Boston, each team had its own park. The Red Sox of course in Fenway Park and the Braves in Braves Field. My question is, since Braves Field was the larger of the two parks, why didnt Lou Perini sell it to Tom Yawkey or other wise make a deal for its use. It seems to be a natural thing for both men to have thought of and to have wanted to do. Was a deal attempted by either man? Yawkey would have gained roughly 12-15,000 seats in the deal. Any good season by the Sox would have brought Yawkey a nice premium at the gate. It seems so logical to me that I am wondering why it never happened. Does anyone have any insight?
    I posted this on the Stadium Forum and got only 1 response. I was wondering if any old-line Boston Braves followers or experts had any insight. Did Lou Perini and Tom Yawkey ever talk about a deal? Was it suggested in the media ? There was no way to know in 1952 that the Red Sox were about to embark on a 15 year cruise of mediocrity. Had the Red Sox remained strong like in the 1946-1950 period, there would have been a huge paid attendance premium to be had. Had Yawkey bought Braves Field he would have been assured of a 12-15,000 paid attendance premium on Opening Day, on holidays like Memorial Day, the 4th of July, & Labor Day, in any tight pennant race the team participated in (1948 & 1949), & in any playoff (ala' 1948) or World Series (ala' 1946) that they played in. It seems like there should of at least been a proposal to do a deal. My question is... was there?
    Last edited by Calif_Eagle; 03-17-2007 at 03:33 PM.

  2. #2
    The only advantage Braves Field had over Fenway was seating capacity, period. By the early 1950's Braves Field was run down and in great need of repair. I have heard stories of how pigeons would roost in the grandstand and leave the seats below covered with droppings, which would _not_ be cleaned up. Yawkey had no reason to want Braves Field for the Red Sox. Fenway had been renovated less than 20 years previously and was a far superior place to see a game. The seats were closer to the action. There was no constant wind blowing in, and no smoke from the adjacent railroad tracks. If fact, Perini had met with Yawkey about the Braves moving into Fenway, and Yawkey turned him down flat. Yawkey wanted the Braves out of town as soon as possible. It's a shame they didn't wait a couple more years before leaving town. There were plans to renovate Braves Field sometime in the late fifties. It could have ended up the Atlanta Red Sox.

  3. #3
    Thats an interesting take for sure. I never knew that Lou Perini had approached Tom Yawkey about moving to *Fenway Park* !! That seems incredible to me, but perhaps a 1950's civil engineer would have been able to attest to the rundown condition of the park. Still, it seems to me that with some simple maintenance re: the pigeon problem, and an investment into renovation of the park that its useful life might have been prolonged, & the benefit of those 12-15,000 extra seats might have been realized by *someone*. I am not a Bostonian or even a New England native & was not aware (until Beantown55's post) of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the 2 ballpark's respective sites. Had Perini renovated the park and stuck it out, perhaps the Braves strong run of 1956-1961 or so; of champions & strong contenders would have forced the Bosox off to Milwaukee or Atlanta, like Beantown55 suggests... how different it all might have been!

  4. #4
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    Beantown is exactly right, Perini went to Yawkey and asked to move the Braves in to Fenway. He was turned down quickly. As for a renovation of Braves Field, you have to remeber, times were different. The City of Boston was on it's knees economically for most of the 50's into the mid 60's. Boston was on the verge of becoming a minor league city. The Braves were losing thier shirt financially during their last few seasons in Boston. Perini and his partners just could not hold on and defeinitely could not afford any major renovation. Braves Field was a dump. They went to the city asking for a new stadium and were turned down. They were truly ahead of their time in looking for a publically funded stadium and then moving west.

    You are right to lament that the Braves couldn't have held on for a couple of more years. They might have chased the Sox out of town. Think of it, Mathews, Aaron, Adcock, Burdette and the rest might have had a nice run in Boston while the Sox went through a 15 year stretch worse than mediocre. The Sox didn't draw anyone in the early 60's. Remember too, that by the mid 60's, Yawkey was putting the arm on the city to build him a new stadium, a multi-purpose cookie cutter type ala Philly, Pittsburgh, Cincy and Atlanta for the Sox and Patriots (who were owned by former Braves PR guy Billy Sullivan). Fenway was (and still is) a dump just like sister stadium Braves Field. Check out pictures of both. They were both designed by the same architect. The similarities of the grandstand are striking. Braves Field is a lot more spread out becuase they had more land to work with. It was built on a golf course. Fenway is more compact and the seats are closer to the action because of the constraints of the parcel of land.

    There were 500 people at Fenway the day that Dave Morehead threw his no-hitter in '65. During the early part of the '67 season, Yawkey was being courted by San Diego. People don't realize how close that deal was but the Sox went on a 10 game winning streak and all of a sudden Fenway was jammed. Red Sox Nation was born during that July.

    Oh what might have been. Just picture how many home runs Hank Aaron might have hit if he had Fenway for his home ballpark for much of his career. Maybe we wouldn't be talking about that cheater in SF these days.

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    dual occupancy

    I am kind of wondering why dual occupancy wouldn't work today. (All you need is the franchise). Now that none of the stadiums are "multipurpose" .. I don't know how the owners can keep all those luxury boxes and party rooms vacant for all but 81 games per year. It would seem like a good use of a perennial second-division franchise .. move them to a city with a new stadium. When the Devil Rays franchise was faltering, we tried to talk to MLB about moving them to St. Louis and having them co-tenant with the Cardinals.

    It's too bad that MLB went to inter-league play because now the league mystique is gone. Every city could have used a team of the opposite league to provide a little competition. That was Ban Johnson's original idea with the A.L.

    Maybe they'll open up a better-than-Triple A "Continental League" to help fill some of these expensive "baseball only" stadiums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Knockahoma View Post
    Beantown is exactly right, Perini went to Yawkey and asked to move the Braves in to Fenway. He was turned down quickly. As for a renovation of Braves Field, you have to remeber, times were different. The City of Boston was on it's knees economically for most of the 50's into the mid 60's. Boston was on the verge of becoming a minor league city. The Braves were losing thier shirt financially during their last few seasons in Boston. Perini and his partners just could not hold on and defeinitely could not afford any major renovation. Braves Field was a dump. They went to the city asking for a new stadium and were turned down. They were truly ahead of their time in looking for a publically funded stadium and then moving west.

    You are right to lament that the Braves couldn't have held on for a couple of more years. They might have chased the Sox out of town. Think of it, Mathews, Aaron, Adcock, Burdette and the rest might have had a nice run in Boston while the Sox went through a 15 year stretch worse than mediocre. The Sox didn't draw anyone in the early 60's. Remember too, that by the mid 60's, Yawkey was putting the arm on the city to build him a new stadium, a multi-purpose cookie cutter type ala Philly, Pittsburgh, Cincy and Atlanta for the Sox and Patriots (who were owned by former Braves PR guy Billy Sullivan). Fenway was (and still is) a dump just like sister stadium Braves Field. Check out pictures of both. They were both designed by the same architect. The similarities of the grandstand are striking. Braves Field is a lot more spread out becuase they had more land to work with. It was built on a golf course. Fenway is more compact and the seats are closer to the action because of the constraints of the parcel of land.

    There were 500 people at Fenway the day that Dave Morehead threw his no-hitter in '65. During the early part of the '67 season, Yawkey was being courted by San Diego. People don't realize how close that deal was but the Sox went on a 10 game winning streak and all of a sudden Fenway was jammed. Red Sox Nation was born during that July.

    Oh what might have been. Just picture how many home runs Hank Aaron might have hit if he had Fenway for his home ballpark for much of his career. Maybe we wouldn't be talking about that cheater in SF these days.
    A friend of mine from Boston got bleacher seats at Fenway in the 60s for 50 cents, which supports your facts about poor economics and low fan support. To me it's almost sad that today's Red Sox spend so much money and gouge their fans to be able to compete with the Yankees.

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    Interesting how one of the Braves Field bleacher sections survived! It's now part of the Boston University football stadium.

    I have thought about this issue myself: how many people in Boston sat and wondered, as they watched the Braves celebrate their 1957 World Series victory on the field, if the wrong team had left town.

  8. #8

    Fenway a dump?????

    I just read the ridiculous comment from Chief Knock...about Fenway being a dump. Has he ever been there? I have maybe a hundred times and I assure one and all it's a GEM. I have taken a few diehard baseball fans from other parts of the U.S. to games at Fenway and they sat there, shaking their heads, commenting at how close they were to the action and the beauty of the field. I think the Chief may need therapy.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PlayJay View Post
    I have thought about this issue myself: how many people in Boston sat and wondered, as they watched the Braves celebrate their 1957 World Series victory on the field, if the wrong team had left town.
    True enough.

    According to reports at the time (gotta love the New York Times online archives), when the Braves left Boston the NY Times reported in the article that "Braves Field will be sold as real estate to a college or high school."

    What's really amazing is that the 1953 All-Star Game was scheduled to be held at Braves Field!

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    Smile

    My father took me to my first ball game at old BRAVES FIELD. But midway during the game I became very sick and an usher took us down to the BRAVES training room to have the BRAVES team doctor look at me and see if he could help. He suggested that my father take me home to see our family doctor. Now in '52 the trip home was about 50 miles south of Boston and no freeways yet. Anyway I was sick for several months and as we we leaving the stadium my dad told me that he would bring me back to BRAVES FIELD the next season. Well, we all know what happened in 1953. Since then I have had a strong attaction the Boston Braves of old. Someday I would love to get a photo of the park to hang in my home.

  11. #11
    Ironically, Braves Field was probably the better spot for a modern ballpark and the OP is right that it would be better from a purely economic perspective if the Red Sox had moved to Braves Field or the Braves had stayed in town and played there if whichever team played in that park was committed to renovating it and keeping it up properly.

    Fenway may be a gem but its low seat capacity is a problem for the Red Sox and will continue to be one no matter what they do.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imgran View Post
    Ironically, Braves Field was probably the better spot for a modern ballpark and the OP is right that it would be better from a purely economic perspective if the Red Sox had moved to Braves Field or the Braves had stayed in town and played there if whichever team played in that park was committed to renovating it and keeping it up properly.

    Fenway may be a gem but its low seat capacity is a problem for the Red Sox and will continue to be one no matter what they do.
    Nice idea but I don't believe they would have moved out of Fenway- bigger space would have meant more rent and a bad neighbor who wanted the land for their own use: BU.

    A better spot would have been down on the waterfront, Fort Point Channel, or South Boston like the proposed domed stadiums were going to go.
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  13. #13
    In 1952 Fenway was still a modern ballpark, having been extensively renovated only 20 years before. Braves Field was in bad shape and had poor design and worse location. It's a no brainer.

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    But think of this in 1952 the cost of upgrading Braves Field would have been less expensive to upgrade given the costs back then. After all did not the owner of the Braves own a construction company ?

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    Here's a curiosity: back in 1933, when Tom Yawkey arrived on the scene, there was speculation that the Sox might shift from Fenway to Braves Field! Even back then, seating constraints at Fenway were an issue.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...s-field+yawkey

    Also, both in 1935 and 1953, there were plans to hold dog racing (!) at Braves Field, but they were squashed.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by VIBaseball View Post
    Here's a curiosity: back in 1933, when Tom Yawkey arrived on the scene, there was speculation that the Sox might shift from Fenway to Braves Field! Even back then, seating constraints at Fenway were an issue.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...s-field+yawkey

    Also, both in 1935 and 1953, there were plans to hold dog racing (!) at Braves Field, but they were squashed.
    If you read the article it becomes clear that the dilapidated condition of Fenway Park (since Quinn was so broke he spent virtually nothing on upkeep) is the problem, not the seating capacity. As it shouldn't have been - 30,000 was plenty adequate for a city of Boston's size for many years.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitter Fan View Post
    If you read the article it becomes clear that the dilapidated condition of Fenway Park (since Quinn was so broke he spent virtually nothing on upkeep) is the problem, not the seating capacity. As it shouldn't have been - 30,000 was plenty adequate for a city of Boston's size for many years.
    It was more than that it was about 35,000 maximum capacity roughly during that time...which would put it about average in capacity among all 16 teams.

    The teams that came in ahead of the Red Sox in attendance were pretty decent teams with larger stadiums: Chicago, Cleveland, and New York. And having a bigger stadium and better teams aren't necessarily going to draw in fans, the Giants drew over 1 million in their cavernous stadium despite being NL and World Series champs around that time- averaging about 13,750 and 15,000 in a 55,000 capacity stadium.
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by efin98 View Post
    Nice idea but I don't believe they would have moved out of Fenway- bigger space would have meant more rent and a bad neighbor who wanted the land for their own use: BU.

    A better spot would have been down on the waterfront, Fort Point Channel, or South Boston like the proposed domed stadiums were going to go.
    Wasn't there once a proposed dome stadium for all 4 teams (Sox, Pats, Briums, and Celtics) I remember reading Pat Sullivan (old Pats owners son) saying something about it but it didn't go becuase the Bruins wouldn't sign.

    Anyone have any idea what I am talking about?

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