AKA: Vernon Tigers Baseball Stadium #1, Vernon, CA; Maier Park Baseball Stadium #1, Vernon, CA

Structure Type: built works - recreation areas and structures - stadiums

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1909, demolished 1915

East 38th Street and Santa Fe Avenue
Vernon, Los Angeles, CA

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This wooden baseball park, seating about 4,000 fans, periodically served the Vernon Tigers and Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League between 1909 and 1915, save for a hiatus during 1913-1914.

Building History

The Pacific Coast League (PCL) began operations in 1903 with a roster of six teams-- the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Oaks, Portland Browns, Sacramento Senators, San Francisco Seals and Seattle Siwashes. For its early years, from 1903-1906, clubs joined and dropped out of the PCL as it sought fans, financial stability and professional sport legitimacy. The number of teams fluctuated from six (in seven cities) between 1903 and 1906, to four stable franchises during the 1907 and 1908 seasons, the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Oaks, Portland Beavers and the San Francisco Seals. During the Winter of 1908-1909, league owners sought to expand again to include two more to get the league back up to six. The two that were added at this time were the Vernon Tigers and the Sacramento Sacts. Because weather on the West Coast was milder than that back East, the schedule for the PCL ran longer, often from late February until December. In its first 1903 season, the PCL champions, the Los Angeles Angels, nicknamed the Loos Loos, played 211 games.

The Maier Family was awarded the Vernon Tigers franchise, a name that had been used by the Tacoma franchise during the 1904 and part of the 1905 seasons. Freddie Maier worked in concert with the owner of the Los Angeles Angels to secure the team, competing with other Southern California cities including Venice and San Pedro. Freddie Maier died in 1910, just after the Vernon Tigers first season in the PCL, however, and his younger brother, Eddie, a recent graduate of the University of Calfiornia, Berkeley, took over the team's presidency during its first season, a position he would hold into the 1920s.

Since its incorporation on 09/22/1905, Vernon was an industrial city, supporting for much of the 20th century slaughterhouses, food processors, glass and glass manufacturers, smelters and metal working factories. By 2000, this had changed; the city--the smallest incorporated place in Los Angeles County--became home to garment-manufacturing, film production, electronics and waste recycling.

Likely a dominant reason that the small industrial town of Vernon was awarded a franchise had to do with its civic laws allowing consumption of alcohol. At this time, only two cities in Los Angeles County legally sanctioned drinking, Vernon and tobacco magnate Abbott Kinney's resort town of Venice, also founded in 1905. Vernon Park #1 was adjacent to Doyle's Bar, self-billed as the "longest bar in the world." The bar also had a special entrance to Vernon Park #1, which players even used between innings. The Maiers owned a popular brewery in Los Angeles, and most likely hoped to increase beer sales at Doyle's Bar and in the stands at games.

In 1909, the Maiers built a new, wooden baseball park on the location of an existing playing field at Southside Park. The Los Angeles Heraldstated in its edition of 01/22/1909: "Work will be started upon improvements to be made in order to convert Southside park into a league diamond, which will include the erection of a modern grandstand and bleachers to conform to the increased dignity of the park and its high class occupants. A regulation diamond located upon grounds that conform to the league standard as regards extent will be laid out and and in a few more weeks the Vernon club players, 'Outlaws,' as they have been named by Hen Berry, will be putting in spring practice there." (See "Vernon Gets on Baseball Map," Los Angeles Herald, vol. 36, no. 113, 01/22/1909, p. 6.)

The Vernon Tigers and Los Angeles Angels shared the use of the Vernon Park #1 and Washington Park in Los Angeles. The Society for American Baseball Research's web site described the former: "Located at East 38th Street and Santa Fe Avenue in the city of Vernon, the wooden ballpark had a capacity of only about 4,000, and was not the regular home park of either the Tigers or the Angels. Instead, during the 1909 and 1910 seasons, the two clubs used Vernon Park I for one weekday home game and for the morning game of Sunday/holiday doubleheaders. For the 1911 and 1912 seasons, the weekday games were eliminated. The rationale for this complicated arrangement is not clear, but it may have been due to Vernon’s more lenient laws on the consumption of alcohol." (SeeRon Selter, Society for American Baseball Research.org, "The Pacific Coast League Ballparks of Los Angeles," first published in 2011, accessed 01/23/2019.) At the beginning in 1909, the Tigers would use the field on Sunday mornings and Tuesday games were played here. (See "Vernon Gets on Baseball Map," Los Angeles Herald, vol. 36, no. 113, 01/22/1909, p. 6.)

The Vernon Tigers and Los Angeles Angels played periodically in Vernon Park #1 between 1909 and the end of the 1912 PCL season. After their brief hiatus in Venice during 1913-1914, the Vernon Tigers moved back to Vernon Park #1, on 07/11/1915.

Building Notes

Vernon Park #1 was known as a hitter's park with notably short fences. In a little over two months between April 5, and June 12, 1911, 22 home runs were hit in Vernon Park #1. (See "Three Homers Hit at Vernon Park," Los Angeles Times, 06/12/1911, pt. II, p. 2.) In comparison, 64 home runs were hit during 78 games played in Venice Park between 1913 and 1915. According to baseball historian Ron Selter: "Based on the home run data, ballpark researcher Larry Zuckerman has estimated the left-field dimension to be 290 feet, perhaps less, center field 440 feet, and right field 330 feet." (SeeRon Selter, Society for American Baseball Research.org, "The Pacific Coast League Ballparks of Los Angeles," first published in 2011, accessed 01/23/2019.)


Vernon Park #1 was razed in

PCAD id: 9823