Located on Chicago's south side stood Comiskey Park,
home of the Chicago White Sox for 80 seasons.
This classic ballpark was home to one White Sox
championship team and great players such as Luke
Appling, Ted Lyons, Nelli Fox, Carlton Fisk and
Harold Baines. The original White Sox franchise
began as the Sioux City Cornhsukers in the 1890s.
Charles Comiskey, a former ballplayer, purchased the
club and moved them to St. Paul, MN after the 1894
season. In 1900 Comiskey moved the team to Chicago
and named them the White Stockings. Here they played
at the 15,000 seat South Side Park. The club was
successful here winning the 1901 and 1906 American
League pennants. Because of the team's success,
owner Charles Comiskey wanted a new modern ballpark for his team. Comiskey
commissioned architect Zachary Taylor Davis and
pitcher Ed Walsh to visit ballparks across the
country, to pick out the best features to use in a
new ballpark. During this time Comiskey purchased a
14 acre tract of land, three blocks from South Side
Park that was once used as the city landfill, to
construct his ballpark on. Construction began on February 15, 1910 and was named
White Sox Park. A green cornerstone was laid on St.
Patrick’s Day and it was completed in just five
On July 1, 1910 the Chicago White Sox played the St.
Louis Browns in the first game at White Sox Park.
From the outside, one could mistakenly think the
ballpark was a factory with its red brick facade.
Inside, the ballpark had a seating capacity of 32,000 that
consisted of a two tier grandstand extending down
both the base lines and a single level of wooden
bleachers were located behind the outfield wall.
Not long after its opening, White Sox Park was
renamed Comiskey Park. Original dimensions at Comiskey
Park were 362 feet (left & right field) and 420
feet to the centerfield fence.
In 1927 the only expansion at Comiskey Park was
completed. The ballpark was enclosed with double
deck grandstands surrounding the playing field,
except in centerfield where a single tier
of stands was located, increasing the seating capacity to
52,000. The original scoreboards were
located on the left and right field fences.
Throughout its history homeplate was moved multiple
times, beginning in 1934, to increase the amount of
homeruns hit. The outfield fence, along with movable box seats
were also added and removed as homeplate was moved.
Night baseball arrived at
Comiskey Park on August 14, 1939. In 1947, the centerfield seats
were closed and the moveable seats were permanently
installed, decreasing the seating capacity to
44,492. Before the start of the 1951 the first
electric scoreboard was added in centerfield in the
opening between the second decks.
Legendary owner Bill Veeck purchased the White Sox
in 1959 and made many changes to Comiskey Park. The
red brick facade was painted white, a picnic area
was added in centerfield and the ballpark's famous
"exploding" scoreboard was installed in 1960. The
$300,000 scoreboard shot fireworks, aerial bombs and
had numerous sound effects. In 1961 the team was
sold to the Allyn family who renamed the ballpark
White Sox Park and installed Astroturf in the
infield in 1969 at a cost of $100,000. Seven years
later Bill Veeck purchased the White Sox again,
saving the team from potential relocation to
Seattle. Veeck spent $750,000 updating Comiskey Park
including removed the Astroturf infield, replacing
it with grass.
Veeck sold the team to Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie
Einhorn in 1981. They spent $14 million upgrading
Comiskey Park that included new green plastic seats
that replaced the original wooden ones, a new
DiamondVision scoreboard and 27 luxury suites built
below the upper deck roof around the infield. These
upgrades were only a temporary fix to Comiskey Park,
which was the oldest ballpark in use in the 1980s.
Ownership sought a new ballpark for the White Sox.
Studies were conducted of possibly renovating Comiskey Park but it
was determined that this would be to expensive. The White Sox faced
numerous obstacles in getting a new stadium built and made threats
of relocating to Tampa if a new ballpark was not constructed.
However, a new ballpark was built across the street
from Comiskey Park. Throughout the 1990 season, fans
attending games at Comiskey Park could see the new
stadium rise above the old one. On September 30,
1990 the Chicago White Sox played their final game
at Comiskey Park. The following season they moved
into the new
Comiskey Park. Several organizations tried to
save the original Comiskey Park to turn it into a park. However, the
entire stadium was demolished in 1991 and was turned into a parking
Comiskey Park was the location of many great moments
including the first MLB All-Star game in 1933 and
the 50th Anniversary game in 1983. It was also the
home of the East-West Negro League All-Star Game
between 1933 to 1960. Comiskey Park is most famously
known for "Disco Demolition Night." On July
12, 1979 in between games of a doubleheader, a large
pile of disco records that fans brought in exchange
for a discounted ticket to the game were exploded on
the field. The sellout crowd rushed the field after
the demolition leading to the game being forfeited
because of the crowd and the field was damaged. Not
only was Comiskey Park home to the White Sox, but to
the Chicago Cardinals professional football team
between 1922 and 1959. It was also the site of several
heavyweight boxing titles in 1937 when Joe Louis
knocked out James Braddock and in 1962 when Sonny
Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson.