Date of Award

1993

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

Howard H. Foster, Jr.

Abstract

From 1909 to 1923 fifteen new ballparks were constructed throughout the country to support the needs of the financially motivated baseball owners. As the national pastime's popularity and attendance grew so did these classic ballparks. Piece-by-piece additional seating was constructed at the various facilities.

Expansion of seating capacity was limited by city streets and buildings. The only way to increase capacity of existing facilities was to build upward. With the use of reinforced concrete and structural steel, baseball parks were able to adopt the upper deck style of seating. "This contrivance allowed more people to sit closer to the action of the diamond than was ever before dreamed possible in the wooden-seat era" (Lowry 1992: xii).

The metropolitan limits caused by the existing city infrastructure resulted in the development of unique ballparks with asymmetrical playing fields and, more importantly, character in design. The denial by the City of Boston to permit the Red Sox organization to expand Fenway Park's left field onto Lansdowne Street lead to the creation of a 37 foot tall wall to prevent easy homeruns. This wall, now known as the "Green Monster", is probably the most recognizable icon in baseball today. Boundaries such as these continue to affect the way the game is played.

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