From Legends to Little League – the story of Parkhurst Field located in upstate New York

From Legends to Little League – the story of Parkhurst Field located in upstate New York

From Legends to Little League – the story of Parkhurst Field

This upstate New York ballpark opened up on June 1906 and went by the name A., J.&G Baseball Park. Over its illustrious history it hosted great legendary players like Honus Wagner and Cy Young. It also hosted a little known player by the name of Moonlight Graham, later made famous from the Kevin Costner feature film Field of Dreams. Andtoday it stands as Little League field. Its rich history was just recently discovered by David Karpinski, past president of the Gloversville Little League and now the Executive Director of the Parkhurst Field Foundation.

The ballpark was originally built for the professional New York State League’s JAGS (Johnstown-Amersterdam-Gloversville) in 1906. It was really a ballpark in the planning stretching as far back as of July 1890. The first game played was on July 12th of that year with a grandstand that could hold 1500 cranks (fans). Sam Lucas, a Gloversville native, built the actual baseball diamond and later was asked to take charge of the NY Giants’ Polo Grounds. He also built the grounds at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh in 1909.

Over time many notable teams and players would stop off and play exhibition games. On July 5, 1907, the Boston Americans, today’s Red Sox, swung by with player/manager Cy Young and played a game in route to Detroit. Less than three weeks later it was the great Honus Wagner brandishing his Hall of Fame skills for the locals on June 24th.

Over the next decade the ballpark became home to the Danforth Baseball Association’s semi-pro team and continued to host exhibition games featuring premier teams. These included famous Negro League teams like the Cuban Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants and Philadelphia Colored Giants. And it wasn’t just men that were restricted to playing there, as the all woman’s team, the New York Bloomer Girls, demonstrated the game was not just for one gender.

On October 13, 1913, two days after winning the World Series as a starting pitcher with the Philadelphia Athletics, Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender also played on this field.

At one point in time as many as five leagues were playing on the field, including the Negro Leagues, Industrial Leagues and American Legion. Not to mention the countless Semi-Pro games as well as exhibition games.

 

Opening Day – July, 12, 1906

 

Over the years the ballpark grounds remained active for many other famous ballplayers and teams. In 1955 the owners of the park turned the field over to the newly-formed Gloversville Little League and its history took a pause and disappeared for a time being. But thanks to Karpinski and others’ efforts and extensive research, they brought back the rich background and also came to believe that:

-It is older than Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Cy Young’s playing career pre-dates Fenway Park, yet he played on these grounds.

-Other than Wrigley and possibly Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Parkhurst Field is one of the few remaining grounds in existence on which Honus Wagner played.

-They believe it is the only field left in America that the immortalized “Moonlight” Doc Graham played on….making Parkhurst Field the original Field of Dreams.

In the comments section there will be additional photos and info on the history of one of the oldest, if not oldest, Little League ballparks and just ballpark in general. Also feel free to visit their website: http://parkhurstfield.org/ and like their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ParkhurstField/ to keep up with this incredible uncovered history.

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