Early Columbus baseball teams played all around the city.
Joe Santry, director of communications and historian for the Columbus Clippers, moved his office from Cooper Stadium to Huntington Park in 2009.
The move was not Columbus baseball’s first, though, 10TV’s Kurt Ludlow reported.
“The first professional game was played where the Convention Center is today,” Santry said. “It was played on the lawn of the railroad station.”
From there, Columbus baseball moved a few blocks away near Whittier Street and Jaeger Avenue in German Village.
“It had the first concession stand in baseball,” Santry said. “It had our first locker rooms.”
The locations where the teams would play kept changing, Ludlow reported.
“We had a park called Western League Park, which was out at Parsons and Moler,” Santry said.
The Western League Park was there for four or five years and then the park was moved to Neil Park, Santry said.
“What they did is they took Western Park, tore it all down and numbered the boards, put them all on a trolley cart, brought it up to Cleveland Avenue and rebuilt it in a day,” Santry said. “About five years later, they decided to build one of the very first concrete and steel double-deck stadiums in America, which was a pretty cool thing at the time.”
From there, stadium names changed from Red Bird Stadium, which was later Jet Stadium, Franklin County Stadium and finally Cooper Stadium. It was one of the very first ballparks ever built with lights.
The team names changed throughout the years, too. Columbus baseball first was the Buckeyes.
“It was an extremely good team, and we lost it because our team was arrested,” Santry said.
Santry said the arrest was made because the team played on a Sunday.
“Because there used to be old Blue Laws, which was that you couldn’t work on Sunday in Columbus,” Santry said. “So the team was traded en mass to Pittsburg. They would become the Pirates, and it was the first trade in baseball history.”
The city also lost a team right around the start of the 20th century, Ludlow reported.
“Long story short, that winter, they changed that league’s name from the Western League to the American League, and they moved Columbus to Cleveland, and they are now the Indians,” Santry said.
Until 1954, the city had the Senators, the Reds and then the Red Birds, which moved to Omaha.
Then Harold Cooper stepped in, Santry said.
“Cooper bought the club, came back, and we became the Columbus Jets,” Santry said.
The Jets left for West Virginia because of an insurance issue after the 1970 season, and the city was left baseball-less until 1977, when the Columbus Clippers arrived.
The Clippers have stayed for the past 35 years and has won back-to-back Governors’ Cups.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for more 200Columbus information.