by Chandler Jenrette, Research Assistant

James P. Hall, [Ebbets Field Grand Stand], 1913, modern gelatin silver photograph made from original negative, New-York Historical Society

James P. Hall, [Ebbets Field Grand Stand], 1913, modern gelatin silver photograph made from original negative, New-York Historical Society

Genevieve Ebbets, daughter of Dodgers owner Charles Ebbets, threw out the first pitch at the opening of Ebbets Field, at an exhibition game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees. Thirty thousand fans attended that game on April 5, 1913, and several thousand more were turned away. The New-York Tribune reported that “one or two enterprising souls had erected improvised stands outside the fence,” allowing some fans to view the game even though they hadn’t made it in to the stadium. The New York Times described the inside of the stadium as a “picture. The great stand of steel and concrete loomed high in the air, holding its admiring thousands. The upper and lower tiers of boxes held the galaxy of Brooklyn’s youth and beauty [….]The girls of Brooklyn never turned out to a ball game like before.” The Dodgers beat the Yankees 3 to 2 in the exhibition game, hitting two home runs that the Times said “so electrified the multitude that it drove away the chill of the snappy Spring ozone.”

By the time Ebbets Field opened the Dodgers had been a Brooklyn institution for three decades. Originally formed in 1883, the team joined the National League in 1890. Charles Ebbets began working with a team as a bookkeeper in 1883, working his way up to manager and eventually buying the team 1902. Ebbets began purchasing land in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn in 1908, eventually buying enough land for construction to begin in 1912. The stadium was designed by New York architect Clarence Randall Van Buskirk, who included a grand marble rotunda at the entrance of the park. A chandelier made up twelve bat suspending baseball-shaped globes hung in the rotunda.

The ballpark closed in 1957, when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, and the building was torn down in 1960. An apartment building, first named after Ebbets field and later renamed Jackie Robinson Apartments, now stands on the site.

The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution is on view October 11, 2013 through February 23, 2013 at the New-York Historical Society.

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