Opening Day

In honor of Opening Day, I’ve changed my desktop background at the office (which was the Rock of Cashel in Ireland) to this image of Swampoodle Grounds, a 19th-century baseball field that, as you can see, was quite close to the Capitol Building, roughly (about a block away) from where Union Station stands now. Here, in a single image, are three of my passions combined — baseball, politics, and history.

Swampoodle was Washington’s Irish neighborhood, and the ballpark was open for four seasons 1886 to 1889. (My great-grandfather Allyn and his family moved from Washington, DC to Baltimore during that period.) It could hold about 6,000 people, about the capacity of a decent minor league park. (York’s baseball field and Harrisburg’s FNB Field each hold about 6,000.) I know of one other image of Swampoodle Grounds, and baseball scholars believe that Connie Mack, who would be associated with the Philadelphia A’s, is in the photo.

I don’t know of any images of the grandstand. Ballparks of that era had an interesting feature — pavilion turrets — such as in Boston (South End Grounds), Pittsburgh (Exposition Park), and Brooklyn (Eastern Park). I’m not saying Swampoodle did, but it’s certainly an intriguing possibility.

For more on Swampoodle Grounds:

The House History Man
The White House Historical Association

Opening Day! Play ball!

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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