League Park is an historic baseball park at the northeast corner of E. 66th Street and Lexington Avenue in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland. It was built in 1891 and was home to a number of professional sports teams such as the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Spiders and Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro American League.
College and other football teams also played there including the Cleveland Rams of the NFL played at League Park in 1937 and for much of the early 1940s. Later in the 1940s, the Cleveland Browns used League Park as a practice field.
Although Cleveland Stadium opened in 1932 and had a much larger seating capacity and better access by car, League Park continued to be used by the Indians through the 1946 season, mainly for weekday games. League Park became the last stadium used in Major League Baseball never to install permanent lights.
Most of the League Park structure was demolished in 1951, although some remnants still remain, including the original ticket office built in 1909. After extensive renovation, the site was rededicated on August 23, 2014, as the Baseball Heritage Museum and outdoor recreational baseball facility.
Today the site is a public park. A small section of the exterior brick facade (along the first-base side) still stands, as well as the old ticket office behind what was the right field corner. As part of the renovation, the Baseball Heritage Museum (housing artifacts from baseball history as well as many specifically from the history of League Park) was relocated from downtown Cleveland to the restored ticket house.
Some historic events that took place at League Park include the following:
- May 1, 1891: The ballpark opens. Cy Young delivers the first pitch.
- October 17,18,19, 1892: The ballpark hosts the first three games of the first “split season” in the history of the National League. The opposing Boston Beaneaters will eventually win the series over the Cleveland Spiders.
- 1900: The new American League, nominally a minor league, returns professional baseball to Cleveland after the National League contracted following the 1899 season.
- October 2, 1907: The debut of female pitching sensation Alta Weiss
- October 2, 1908: Addie Joss’ perfect game against the Chicago White Sox.
- October 10, 1920: Game 5 of the 1920 World Series against the Brooklyn Robins, includes several World Series “firsts”: In the bottom of the first inning, Cleveland right fielder Elmer Smith hits the first grand slam home run in the history of the Series.
- In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cleveland pitcher Jim Bagby hits the first home run by a pitcher in a World Series game.
- In the top of the fifth inning, Cleveland second baseman Bill Wambsganss executes the first (and only, so far) unassisted triple play in Series history.
- October 12, 1920: The Cleveland Indians win their first World Series.
- August 11, 1929: Babe Ruth hits his 500th career home run, the first player to achieve that milestone.
- July 16, 1941: The final game of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. The streak would be snapped the following night, at Cleveland Stadium.
- 1945: The Cleveland Buckeyes win the Negro Leagues World Series.
- December 2, 1945: The Cleveland Rams play their last game at League Park by topping the Boston Yanks, 20-7. Two weeks later, at Cleveland Stadium, they defeat the Washington Redskins, 15-14, to win the NFL championship. A month later the franchise moved to Los Angeles.
- September 13, 1946: The Boston Red Sox clinch the American League pennant, the game’s only score coming on a first-inning, home run by Ted Williams.
- September 21, 1946: The final game at League Park. The Indians round out their 1946 home season with 3 games at Cleveland Stadium.
6601 Lexington Ave, Cleveland, OH 44103