The Historic Flood of 1937 Devastates Cincinnati’s Crosley Field!

The Historic Flood of 1937 Devastates Cincinnati’s Crosley Field!

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The Historic Flood of 1937 Devastates Cincinnati’s Crosley Field! 

In the aftermath of the catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Astros were forced to move their upcoming series between the Rangers and Astros to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. There is a precedent for playing a neutral-site series, including when the Astros played the Cubs in Milwaukee in 2008 because of Hurricane Ike.

This is not the first time that severe flooding has devastated baseball cities and their ball parks. On January 25, 1937, the 19-day flooding of the Ohio River drove 100,000 Cincinnati residents out of their homes, leaving 15 percent of the city covered in water. The water supply to the city was cut, and streetcar service was halted.

The Flood of 1937 was the highest the Ohio River had ever risen since records were kept. The official height of the flood is listed as 80 feet. The damage stretched from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois, killing an estimated 385, and caused billions of dollars in damages (in 2017 dollars). Federal and state resources were strained to aid recovery, as the disaster occurred during the depths of the Great Depression and a few years after the Dust Bowl

Many of Cincinnati’s structures were severely damaged. The Reds’ ball park, Crosley Field was completely flooded. The waters were so high, rowboats could actually clear the ballpark fence! Additionally, the amusement park Coney Island was submerged, causing pieces of carousel horses to float away. Some were recovered as far downriver as Paducah, Kentucky.

There was at least one moment of levity during the tragedy. When the Reds’ ballpark, Crosley Field, was under 21 feet of water, Reds’ pitcher Lee Grissom rowed a skiff over the outfield fence into the playing area (See photo in comments section below).

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Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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