Covington Blue Sox
Covington Blue Sox
Information
Location Covington, Kentucky
Ballpark Federal Park
Year founded 1913
Former league(s)

The Covington Blue Sox were a Federal League baseball club in Covington, Kentucky in 1913. The Blue Sox team was moved to Kansas City in July 1913 and became known thereafter as the Kansas City Packers.

History

In 1912[1] or 1913,[2] Covington city leaders tried to acquire a baseball franchise in the Class D Blue Grass League. The Cincinnati Reds, whose ballpark was just 5 miles (8 km) away across the Ohio River, blocked the move. Instead, after several larger cities backed out, Covington was awarded a franchise in the Federal League, a new "outlaw" circuit.[1][2]

The city raised $13,500, with $6,000 budgeted to build the ballpark. Bernard Wisehall, a prominent local architect, designed Federal Park (also called Riverbreeze Park) with a capacity of 6,000. The playing field--bounded by East 2nd Street, East 3rd Street, Madison Avenue and Scott Boulevard[3]--was tiny, possibly the smallest ever built for any pro baseball park. Its dimensions were just 194 feet down the right-field line, 267 feet to dead center, and 218 feet down the left-field line.[2] Modern rules dictate no pro ballpark may have a fence closer than 325 feet, even down the foul lines. Construction did not begin until a month before opening day.[2]

The Blue Sox started their season on a long road trip,[2] with a game against Cleveland on May 3. The game ended in a 6-6 tie, called after ten innings due to darkness.

The Blue Sox managed to sell out their first home game on May 9, with thousands of fans turned away.[2] Covington's mayor George "Pat" Phillips declared a half-holiday for the city, closing city offices at noon and encouraging businesses to follow suit in support the team. Pregame festivities included a parade, bands, and decorations across city along with the mayor tossing out a golden ball for the ceremonial first pitch. Messenger pigeons were released to spread the news of the opening to each city on the Federal League circuit as well as one going to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.[4] Pitcher Walter Justus shut out the St. Louis Terriers in a 4-0 victory.

The Covington area did not have the population to support the team, and drew only an average of 650 for the remainder of their initial nine-game home stand. By June, the team was in 4th place in their league with a 21-31 record but was only drawing a few hundred fans to each game. All together, they had an attendance of only 8000 to the nineteen home games after the opener. On June 23, it was announced that the Blue Sox would leave owing to the low attendance and, on June 26, the league voted to move the team to Kansas City, where it was renamed the Packers.[5] The owners of the Covington team yielded their rights to their creditors.

Covington has not hosted a professional team in any sport since. Federal Park was used for other events over the next few years, including boxing and auto polo, but was torn down in 1919 to make room for a new tobacco warehouse. The warehouse was then later replaced by the present-day Kenton County Circuit Courthouse.

The Blue Sox logo was a line drawing of a batter with the blue initials "BS."[6]

Ballpark

In July 1913, a month before the season was scheduled to start, ground was broken at a town park in Covington known as Shinkle Playgrounds. The Stadium originally held 4,200 but was later expanded to 6,000. $12,500 was raised for the construction of the stadium by William Reiden who was the president of Covington's Bavarian Brewery, and R.C. Stewart who was the president at Stewart Iron Works. The stadium was named Federal Park and was designed by Bernard Wisehall, who was a prominent local architect.

The 1914 city directory gives the ballpark's location as "s w c 2d and Scott". The southwest corner of East 2nd Street and Scott Boulevard is currently occupied by a parking lot, one block south of the Ohio River bank. The Roebling Bridge is one block east of the park's site.

In March 1919 the ballpark was sold and torn down, and a tobacco warehouse was built on the site.[5]

Field size

Left Field - 218 ft
Center Field - 267 ft
Right Field - 194 ft [5]

Notable players

Sam Leever

Walt "Smoke" Justis

See also

Kansas City Packers

References

  1. ^ a b "Federal Park / Covington Blue Sox". http://www.ballparkdigest.com/.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Federal Park / Covington Blue Sox | Visits". Ballparkdigest.com. November 4, 2008. Retrieved 2012. 
  3. ^ "Riverbreeze Ballpark (Historical) - Covington". RecreationParks.net. Retrieved 2012. 
  4. ^ "Professional Baseball in Covington: They built it but they did not come.". http://kentonlibrary.wordpress.com/. Retrieved 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  5. ^ a b c Wiggins, Robert Peyton (October 21, 2011). The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs: The History of an Outlaw Major League. McFarland; Reprint edition. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-02. Retrieved . 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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