Mayor Frank Jackson and other city officials broke ground Saturday for the start of the restoration of League park.
The project will restore the playing field and some portions of the original ballpark as well as adding a new community park with a multi-purpose trail, open ball field and water spray basin.
Built in 1891, League Park is the oldest remaining original ballpark in the United States and is noted for many historic milestones including the 1920 World Series won by the Indians, Babe Ruth's 500th home run and serving as home field for Negro League team the Cleveland Buckeyes, winners of the Negro League World Series in 1945.
The project includes restoring the historic Ticket House and Grandstand Wall and constructing a Visitors Center with display areas and a concession stand. There will also be a synthetic turf ball diamond with home plate in its historic location and a Great Wall (right field fence) and plaza with decorative and historical markings. Park boundaries will expand approximately an acre to accommodate the new amenities.
League Park will also receive extensive streetscape and landscape improvements. Funding for the Park's $6.3 million restoration and improvement will come from General Obligation Bond Proceeds, the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission and Ward Allocation funds.
Here are some facts about the project:
· Project Cost: $6.3 million (6,338,383)
· Fund Source: General Obligation Bond Proceeds, Ohio Cultural Facilities, Ward Allocation Funds.
· Landscape Architect/Project Manager: City Architecture Inc.- Paul Volpe
· Contractor: Nerone & Sons
· Ballpark acreage: 6.96-existing 8.07 acres expected
· Last original baseball field in the United States
According to www.clevelandmemory.com, Cy Young pitched the first game there on May 1, 1891 for the National League Cleveland Spiders. Other famous players who appeared at League Park include Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Sachel Paige, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio.
Other historic sports moments, include:
- the 1920 World Series
- the first grand slam in World Series history (1920 series)
- first unassisted triple play in baseball history (1920 series)
- Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller's first game (1936)