Ballparks Then and Now by Eric Enders (2015)
Ballparks Then and Now
by Eric Enders
Thunder Bay Press, 2015
Baseball is and always will be America’s game, and baseball celebrates America’s diversity more than any other sport. Football fields are always 100 yards; basketball courts are always 94 feet by 50 feet. But baseball? While the basepaths are the same in every stadium, the distance to the outfield wall varies. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles is only 395 feet to center field, while Minute Main Park in Houston boasts the longest distance at 435 feet. The playing surface is almost exclusively grass now; only Toronto and Tampa still use artificial turf. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, AstroTurf was the norm. And then there are the quirks of each stadium, such as the Green Monster in Boston, the ivy on the outfield walls at Wrigley Field, and the hill in center field in Houston. An outfielder cannot play the same way in every park; he has to adjust to each park’s personality.
In Ballparks Then and Now, author Eric Enders looks at how the major league parks have changed over the years, city by city. Enders gives basic facts about each stadium: opening date, capacity and greatest moment. For example, Cincinnati’s Palace of the Fans opened on April 17, 1902, with a seating capacity of 10,000 and featured an exhibition of night baseball in 1909 between two local Elks Lodge teams. Contrast that to the Reds’ home since 2003, Great American Ballpark, which holds 42,319 fans and saw Homer Bailey pitch a no-hitter in 2013.
The greatest feature of Ballparks Then and Now is the photographs, showing the evolution of each city’s house of the greatest game on earth. Originally published in 2002, this new edition is updated to include more recent stadiums such as Marlins Park in Miami and Citi Field in New York. It is a visual feast for baseball fans with a wealth of information on the history of each ballpark, then and now.