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OOTP 14 - Historical Simulations Discuss historical simulations and their results in this forum.

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Old 03-20-2014, 02:19 PM   #1
Trebro
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Costs to Build 19th Century Stadiums?

Hi All,

Does anyone know if there's anywhere that can give at least a little detailing on what the costs were to build a new ballpark in the 1870s/80s/90s?

I was able to find out Brooklyn paid $13,000 in 1883, Boston paid $75,000 for a massive expansion in late 1880s, and that apparently by around 1900, Brooklyn paid a total of $100,000 to move its team into a new place, but that's very sketchy.

Any help would be appreciated, even if it's just one or two more data points for when I want to edit team funds to deduct for giving them a new park.

Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:32 PM   #2
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Baker Bowl - 80,000
Sportsman's Park - 300,000

Might be a bit later then you'd like, most of these were 1910's:

Fenway - 650,000
Hilltop Park - 200,000
Wirgley Field - 250,000
Ebbetts Field - 750,000
Forbes Field - 1 to 2 milllion
Griffith Stadium - 100,000

Last edited by canadiancreed; 03-20-2014 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:59 PM   #3
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That actually helps a lot, because it shows how fast the costs increased, and eventually, I will be into the early 20th Century. It's really amazing to think about the fact that the Pirates dropped a cool million plus in pre-WW1 dollars for Forbes Field!
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:36 PM   #4
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Ya that one was a bit WTF when I saw that. Like Ebbetts made sense, as ti was known for being opulant, but that? Wild.

Personally I'd dig around wikipedia more, seems to have decent resources for cost.
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:59 PM   #5
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I'd be dubious of some of those numbers. For instance, it's very unlikely that the original Sportsman's Park cost $300,000, even though it was part of what might be termed today an "amusement complex." $300,000 in 1881 would be something like $6 or $7 million today, and that would be for a simple wooden grandstand. More likely, that figure is for the conversion of the park in 1909, when the first steel-and-concrete stand was built.

In general, I'd estimate the cost of a brand-new park in the 19th century at around $75,000. That would cover not only the construction of the stands but also the purchase of the land. Prices went up when teams replaced wooden parks with steel-and-concrete structures, which started in 1909 with Forbes Field and Shibe Park.
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:42 PM   #6
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A couple of points to remember about the wooden parks of the 19th century: (1) their seating capacities were fairly low; and (2) they burned down with alarming regularity. It was this fire issue which led to the (mostly) fire-proof steel and concrete parks of the early 20th century (which also allowed higher seating capacities).
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by joefromchicago View Post
I'd be dubious of some of those numbers. For instance, it's very unlikely that the original Sportsman's Park cost $300,000, even though it was part of what might be termed today an "amusement complex." $300,000 in 1881 would be something like $6 or $7 million today, and that would be for a simple wooden grandstand. More likely, that figure is for the conversion of the park in 1909, when the first steel-and-concrete stand was built.
Well ti is Wikipedia after all. Although I agree it would have been nice to cite their sources.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Grande Orange View Post
A couple of points to remember about the wooden parks of the 19th century: (1) their seating capacities were fairly low; and (2) they burned down with alarming regularity. It was this fire issue which led to the (mostly) fire-proof steel and concrete parks of the early 20th century (which also allowed higher seating capacities).
Another thing to remember is just how fast some of these ballparks were built. Work on Weeghman Field (later Wrigley Field) started at the beginning of March, 1914, and the park was ready for the home opener on April 23, less than two months later. Granted, that was just a grandstand down the foul lines - no upper deck and no bleachers. Still, that was fairly typical for the times. After a fire in 1911, the Polo Grounds was rebuilt with a double-decked steel-and-concrete grandstand in about two months.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:37 AM   #9
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Compare that with the Skydome that took something like four years to finish. Crazy eh?
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:54 PM   #10
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It's amazing what one can achieve with cheap labor and lax building codes
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:41 PM   #11
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Werent some of the early fields just basically converted cow pastures with roped fences?
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:44 PM   #12
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Werent some of the early fields just basically converted cow pastures with roped fences?
Basically, yes. But the organizers soon realized in order to maximize profit they needed a way to keep non-paying viewers out. Hence the move towards enclosed parks.


A good book on baseball parks is Phil Lowry's Green Cathedrals. A great web site resource—which includes overhead diagrams of ballparks in their various stages of growth—is Clem's Baseball. Another site worth a look is Ballparks.com. It not only has info on baseball stadiums, but also stadiums used for basketball, football, and hockey.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Grande Orange View Post
Basically, yes. But the organizers soon realized in order to maximize profit they needed a way to keep non-paying viewers out. Hence the move towards enclosed parks.


A good book on baseball parks is Phil Lowry's Green Cathedrals. A great web site resource—which includes overhead diagrams of ballparks in their various stages of growth—is Clem's Baseball. Another site worth a look is Ballparks.com. It not only has info on baseball stadiums, but also stadiums used for basketball, football, and hockey.
Yeah Clem's is pretty good. Take a look at the alternate field set up of Fenway. Was this ever a serious proposal?
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