Solution to the April Puzzler

Your April Puzzler dealt with the home of the Chicago White Stockings, predecessor of both the White Sox and the Cubs in the 1870’s and 80’s. That ball field was known as the Union Base-ball Grounds.

The Puzzler Question:

The Union Base-ball Grounds was located on the spot of  what is now a highly popular attraction in the city. What is that area called today?

Congratulations to you who answered: Millennium Park. We had one entry for Grant Park, which you could say was correct on the technicality that Millennium Park is itself a part of the larger Grant Park. We are broad-minded, so consider yourself a winner as well.

Aerial view of Chicago in 1874. 

Below  is an enlargement in which you can see the Union Base-ball Grounds.

Union Base-ball Grounds at Michigan Ave and Randolph St, Chicago.

Reference: Wikipedia. the free Encyclopedia:

Union Base-Ball Grounds was a baseball park located in Chicago, Illinois. It was very  visible downtown, bounded on the west by Michigan Avenue, on the north by Randolph Street, and on the east by railroad tracks and the lakeshore, which was then much closer than it is today.

The outfield fence was especially short in right field. It was less than 200 feet away, so anyone hitting the ball over that fence was awarded only a ground rule double. Batters would aim for the fence, and during their years at the park the Chicago club regularly led the league in doubles.

In what would be their final season on the lakefront, the White Stockings decided to make the entire outfield fence home run territory. Thus the team slumped in number of doubles while boosting their home runs from typically a dozen or two to 142, and easily outdistanced second place Buffalo, which had 39 for the season. The entire league’s home run totals were up, thanks to the change to the Chicago ground rules.

After 1884, the city reclaimed the land, and the White Stockings became a road team for the first couple of months of 1885 while awaiting construction of West Side Park.

Thanks for joining in!

Larry

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About Chicago Stories

I'm a Chicagoan, have been for fifty years. I've had a consulting business in the city for thirty-eight years, working with many Chicago companies and organizations and others around the world. Before that, I worked the city's race relations agency for five years.I am a volunteer tour guide for Chicago's Greeter Program and introduce visitors from around the world to this beautiful city. I'm also a writer of several professional books as well as poetry, essays and fiction. The city has become my inspiration, education and entertainment. View all posts by Chicago Stories

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