Sunday, June 11, 2006

From Davis Barker Found in TSN, Mar. 25, 1937

From Davis Barker: Found in The Sporting News, March 25, 1937

Discover Field Laid Out Wrong

Engineers, surveying a new diamond in Tacoma’s Athletic Park, where the Western International League will hold forth, discovered that for 30 years games had been played on a field that was not laid out properly.  Instead of being placed at a 90-degree angle, the field was laid out at 84½ degrees.  The result was that left field foul line, at the fence, was seven feet too far to the left, making the outfield area 15 feet smaller than it should have been at the fence.  Statisticians are attempting to figure how many batted balls, called foul, should have been home runs, instead of headaches.

This reminds me of what happened here in San Diego.  When they tore down Lane Field there was an article in the paper that stated that they had discovered that the distance down to first base was actually 87 feet, rather than the required 90 feet.  Years later I asked Louie Almada about this.  Louie told me that every time you played at a new park, the players would pace off everything, and that the first time the Missions played there just after its opening in 1936, he remembered specifically pace out the first base line, and then continuing out to the right-field pole.  Had it been 87 feet, it would have been around the league in a matter of days.  He explained to me that players, especially during the Great Depression, looked for any edge they could find.

As to Athletic Park in Tacoma, located at 14th and Sprague, I take the above note with a large grain of sand.  Athletic Park opened in 1907.



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