Return to Honors! Page 16
This section was copied from Polo Grounds at
Image below is from the FindaGrave website
  • Google search: "Polo Grounds"+"Brush Stadium"
  • John T. Brush Bibliography | 
  • Polo Grounds Trivia
    (It was) Originally named for owner John T. Brush.

    The phrase "Hot Dog" was coined by NY Journal sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan when he couldn't remember how to spell the word "dachshund" in describing the "red hot dachshund sausages" served at a game here in April 1901.

    Second deck in right had 9-foot photographer’s perch overhang, 60 feet from the foul pole out into right-center.

    Bullpens in fair territory in left-center and right-center.

    The Polo Grounds Towers (four 30-story apartment buildings) now stand where the field used to be. Willie Mays Field (an asphalt playground with 6 basketball backboards) is where center field used to be; a brass historical marker notes the spot. There was no line on the 60-foot-high center-field clubhouse above which a ball would be a home run.

    The outfield was slightly sunken. A manager, standing in his dugout, could see only the top half of his outfielders. At the wall, the field was 8 feet below the infield.

    The left-field second-deck overhang meant that a homer to left was easier than a homer to right, even though the wall in left was 279 feet and the wall in right was 258. The overhang was 21 feet, but it effectively shortened the distance required for a pop-fly homer to the second deck in left to 250 feet because of the angle involved.

    The overhangs here and at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium and Philadelphia’s Shibe Park have more significance than one might suspect, according to research published by the American Physical Society, the professional society for physicists. The batted ball’s trajectory consists of two component vectors: horizontal and vertical. The vertical deceleration is constant over time because of gravity, but the horizontal deceleration increases over time because of wind resistance and atmospheric drag. Near the end of its flight, the ball comes down sharply rather than arcing down in the way that it arched up, as would occur in a vacuum. Therefore, many outfielders have watched helplessly as a ball they thought they could catch dropped into the second deck.

    Hitter’s background extended beyond the end of the bleacher wall, several feet into the clubhouse gap.

    The field sloped in a "turtle back" shape just beyond the infield dirt. It sloped down 1½ feet to drains about 20 feet into the outfield, then back up again.

    Right-center wall sloped gradually from 11 feet at pole to 12 feet at the bleachers.

    Left-center wall sloped from 16 feet, 9.75 inches at the pole to 18 feet in left center, then abruptly fell to 16 feet and then to 14 feet and sloped gradually to 12 feet at the bleachers.

    When billboards were removed in the 1940s, the abrupt changes in height in left-center disappeared.

    Fred Merkle's blunder occurred here on September 23, 1908, resulting in the infamous Cubs-Giants October 8, 1908 replay of the game. The Cubs protested on September 23rd that Harry McCormick should not have been allowed to score from third base because Fred Merkle, who was on first, had not touched second base on Al Bridwell's game-winning single to center. Umpire Han O'Day had witnessed infielder Johnny Evers recover the game ball and stand on second base to record a force-out. Late that night, O'Day upheld the Cubs' protest, and NL president Harry Pilliam upheld O'Day's ruling. The game became, in effect, a National League pennant playoff because the teams were tied and the season was over. An estimated 250,000 people showed up, but only about a fifth that many could get in because of the limited number of seats. Pandemonium ensued as a mob of irate fans tried to storm their way into the stadium. Most of the people were dispersed, but about 40,000 remained throughout the game and watched from Coogan's Bluff and from the tops of telephone poles, trees and subway platforms. A fireman by the name of Henry T. McBride fell from a pillar on the elevated train platform and was killed.

    In 1914 there were two bends in the wall in right-center.

    In 1917 the fans exited the field through gates under the center-field bleachers.

    Morris Jumel Mansion, on Coogan’s Bluff, overlooked the ballpark. Brush Stairway led down from Coogan’s Bluff to the Speedway and the ticket booths behind home plate.

    Coats of arms of all the teams in the National League were displayed on the top of the grandstand until they were removed in the 1920s.

    Eddie Grant
    Dedicated on May 30, 1921, to a former Giants player killed in World War I, the Eddie Grant Memorial stood in center at the base of the clubhouse wall. It was 5 feet high.
    The Memorial reads:
    In Memory of Capt. Edward Leslie Grant 
    307th Infantry-77th Division A.E.F. 
    Soldier - Scholar - Athlete Killed in action /
    Argonne Forest / October 5, 1918 
    Philadelphia Nationals 1907-1908-1909-1910 
    Cincinnati Reds 1911-1912-1913 
    New York Giants 1913-1914-1915 
    Erected by friends in Baseball, Journalism, and the Service.

     More from The Great War Society

    In the winter of 1922-23, the concrete double decks were extended all the way to either side of the new concrete bleachers in center, housing the clubhouse. Unfortunately, the Roman Coliseum facade frescoes were removed during that winter also. The bleachers in center were remodeled in 1923.

    In 1929 the first attempt was made to wire umpires for sound and connect them to the PA System. It didn’t work very well. A speaker was placed above the Grant Memorial in 1931.

    Field raised 4½ feet in 1949 to help with drainage. On 1609 and 1874 maps, the location is shown to be underneath the Harlem River. The water table was only 2 to 6 feet below the playing surface, and drainage was complicated by rainwater cascading off the 115-foot-high Coogan’s Bluff down onto the site.

    During the 1950s, groundskeeper Matty Schwab and his family lived in an apartment, built for him by owner Horace Stoneham, under Section 3 of the left-field stands. The apartment was the main bait in Mr. Stoneham’s successful offer to grab Mr. Schwab away from the hated Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950.

    A 2-foot-square section of sod from center field was removed and taken to San Francisco (where the Giants moved to) in the fall of 1957.

    Home plate was moved out toward center several feet by the Mets in the winter of 1961-1962.

    During the Mets’ stay in 1962 and 1963, Johnny McCarthy and his crew of groundskeepers painted Schwab’s four rooms pink, installed a shower and plywood on the floor and lockers, and called it their "Pink Room."

    In 1962 and 1963 the Howard Clothes sign on the outfield wall promised a suit to any player hitting it.

    Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard Round the World" homer occurred here at 4:11 PM on October 3, 1951 against the Dodgers and ended the "Greatest Game Ever Played."

    Demolition started on April 10, 1964, using the same wrecking ball that had demolished Ebbets Field.

    Relevant links:

    ... Polo Grounds New York Giants 1911-57, New York Yankees 1913-22,
    New York Mets 1962- 63      Links to many historical photos

    ... Land of the Giants: New York's Polo Grounds

    Another interesting and related link:
    MY HIGHBRIDGE (From Highbridge: "Da Bronx") Mentions Eddie Grant Plaza.
    An excellent link for some first-hand NYC history