If you’ve ever visited the houses on East 25th Street where St. Ambrose is, you’ve probably noted the age of the buildings, but did you know the land is home to some baseball history?
Long before St. Ambrose moved into the space in 1973, the land was home to the National League Baltimore Orioles from 1891 to 1899. What was known as Union Park (Oriole Park III) was one of several locations within a few miles for the team, according to author David Stinson.
On his website Deadball Baseball, the Baltimore author chronicled the history of this ballpark and many others across the country.
Baltimore was unique in that there were six different ballparks throughout the city known as Oriole Park. The land at the time was less developed, with more space to hold a ballpark. The footprint of which was typically around five to six acres, Stinson said.
One of the houses that St. Ambrose (317 E. 25th Street) currently occupies was on the edge of the ballpark. A wrought-iron gate that faces 25th Street was where the snack bar once was.
During their time at the ballpark, the Orioles hosted 30,000 fans in 1897, which was the largest crowd ever in the country to attend a game at that time, Stinson said. It was also 100 years ago in 1894 that that Orioles won their first pennant.
It’s also unique that one of the St. Ambrose buildings is so visible in an old photo of the park. Of the many ballparks Stinson has researched, there are few structures nearby that have remained intact.
In the past year, the houses have undergone significant renovations, including a restoration of the wrought-iron gate.
When the renovations first started, staff were skeptical. However, as the space took shape all were pleased with the professionalism that was conveyed by the clean lines and updated technology.
They have also enjoyed learning about the history of the space and its connection to the Orioles.
Stinson first visited the property in 2004 while working on his website and research for his book. He hopes the space continues to be maintained for many years to come.
“In my mind it’s a historic structure that needs to be preserved and I’m glad St. Ambrose cares about it so much.”
To read more about the history of Union Park and the land where St. Ambrose stands, visit Stinson’s site Deadball Baseball. Stinson is the author of the novel Deadball, A Metaphysical Baseball Novel and will be on hand Monday at St. Ambrose’s Opening Day Open House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.