Monday, December 5, 2011

Braves Field

Entrance to Brave's Field.

My mother once told me that my grandmother used to listen to baseball on the radio while doing her housework. That surprised me, as I knew her only as an elderly woman, playing scrabble or solitaire in her room in my parents house. What surprised me even more was that she did not listen to the Red Sox - she was a Boston Braves fan.

The Boston Braves baseball team had a history that went back in time to the post-Civil War era. I'll leave the various team names, owners and leagues to the baseball aficionados, and start when the team became the Braves in 1912. At the time, the team was playing its home games at the South End Grounds, near today's Ruggles Orange Line T stop. In 1914, the team would win the World Series (although the games were played at the larger Fenway Park), and the next year a new park was built.

Braves Field, 1916.

Braves Field was built between Commonwealth avenue and the Boston & Albany railroad tracks in Brighton. When it opened, it had the largest seating capacity in the National League. Ironically, with the now-larger facility, Braves Field would host the Red Sox when they played in the 1915 and 1916 World Series. Braves Field would also be home field for three professional football teams, including the Boston Braves, who played there for one year before moving to Fenway Park under the new name the Redskins. That franchise would later move to Washington D.C., and is still there today.

Aerial view - note railroad tracks on right (BPL Flickr photo group).

Circa 1930 (BPL Flickr photo group).

Circa 1930. Note railroad tracks and bridge over the Charles river on the left (BPL Flickr photo group).

The original layout of the field included a massive outfield, which made hitting home runs over the fences almost impossible. And although the photos above show a full ballpark, the team did not attract sufficient fans to make ends meet. In 1953, the team moved to Milwaukee. Soon after, the park was sold to Boston University. Two years later, much of the original facility was torn down, but some of the structure does remain. Nickerson Field now stands on the site, along with dormitories and Walter Brown Arena.


  1. I just drove by Nickerson Field a couple of days ago, and I noticed they have removed what was the right field seats. According to my research, it was done to lay down new turf and expand the playing area.

  2. saw my first game there in 52

  3. I miss the Braves...still wear a Braves (with a B) hat daily, and I do NOT like the Red Sox or the Atlanta Braves.

  4. In the first picture, the entrance to Braves Field is the Office of Public Safety for BU. I had met Warren Spahn two years before he passed away on Memorial Day Weekend in Cooperstown NY. I asked him about the move to Milwaukee. Spahn was building a restaurant on Coom. Ave at the end of '52. He was concerned about the move. So he asks Perini (the owner at the time) about the move and he said Perini told him he had nothing to worry about. He said in '53 his restaurant opened on opeing day and he was pitching that Milwaukee.

  5. My Dad tells me stories of being at the park in the mid 40's when he called it Perini's Pasture. He says most players were fighting in WW2 and the active players were either too old for WW2 or in their teens.