The second and third homes of the Brooklyn Dodgers were in Ridgewood in Queens between 1886 to 1889.
The Brooklyn Dodgers were founded in 1883 by Charles Byrne. Known simply as The Brooklyn’s, the team set up its stadium in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn and called it Washington Park. It was the local reporters that nicknamed the team The Grays, a nickname that was used through 1887 save for the year of 1884, when they were known as The Atlantics.
During the summer of 1886, in order to avoid the blue laws of the city of Brooklyn on the Sabbath, the Brooklyn Grays played 14 Sunday games at Grauer’s Ridgewood Park along with one exhibition game.
As you can see from this map, Grauer’s Ridgewood Park, which is the top arrow, was located just north of where Wallace’s Ridgewood Park was located. This was the second home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and as I had to pass it in order to get to Wallace’s Ridgewood Park, I also filmed the location of the second home of The Brooklyn Dodgers which was located between Cypress and Seneca Avenues, and George and Weirfield streets.
The cost to play their Sunday games at Grauer’s Ridgewood Park was very high, which cut into any profits that could be made by charging for Sunday admission. The other Ridgewood Park in the area, Wallace’s, had already been playing host to amateur baseball clubs, and had even scheduled a world heavyweight boxing fight featuring John L. Sullivan. While the fight was called off as the pugilists prepared to duke it out, the attendance was still 5,000 men, certainly something to catch the attention of club owners.
Beginning in 1887, The Brooklyn Grays began to play their Sunday games at Wallace’s Ridgewood Park and it would be the site of their third home for the next three seasons. In fact the team was playing there when, in the summer of 1888, six of the Brooklyn players got married. For the remainder of their time at Ridgewood Park they were nicknamed the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, a name that stuck for the next ten years either as the Bridegrooms or simply the Brooklyn Grooms.
In the baseball history books, Wallace’s Ridgewood Park is commonly known as Ridgewood Park 2, with Grauer’s Ridgewood Park being known as Ridgewood Park 1. The area that I am walking in today is now located in Bushwick in Brooklyn, between Wyckoff and Irving Ave’s, and between Halsey and Covert Streets. At the time that the ballpark was located here though, the area was then located in Ridgewood, Queens before the boundaries changed, except for a corner of the stadium right where Halsey and Irving meet, which was located in Brooklyn.
In my John L. Sullivan story, I tell the tale of how the fighters came to box in Queens but were prevented from doing so by the police. A patron then told the fighters that a corner of the stadium was actually located in Brooklyn, and the fighters then agreed to fight in that corner of the stadium. Unfortunately a rat threatened to snitch on them and they were prevented from fighting in Brooklyn as well.