Nebraska Minor League Baseball
Early Omaha Baseball Diamonds

According to Frank Bandle, registrar of deeds in 1911 and one of the ball players on the 1879 team the oldest ball park in Omaha was at about 18th and Ohio. [1] Mass transit to the park consisted of a mule drawn trolley. In 1881 and 1882 the grounds were located at 16th and Locust. In '83 the ball grounds were at 18th and St. Mary's Ave. According to Bandle, many great games were played on these grounds.

Omaha entered the Western League ('85) and a park was enclosed at Twentieth and Miami. Omaha won the league in 1889 at that park. When the league fell apart in 1891, the park was taken over by the University Athletic Club.

In 1894, Bill Rourke and pals built a park at seventeenth and Charles. The park was called a cigar box as the outfield fences were close to home plate. This park was dropped in favor of the old fair grounds south of Ames between 16th and 20th. This was where the Transmississippi Exposition of 1898 took place.

In 1898 a park was built where the Prarie Park addition is now located.

In 1900, the park on Vinton Street was completed. This park was located between 13th and 15th with Vinton Street to the south of the park. Entry gates were on 15th Street and Vinton Street. Even the name of the park depended on the whim of the newspaper. Usually it was refered to as the "Vinton Street Park". Sometimes it was called Rourke Park and later in the twenties League Park became the most common moniker. In 1911 a major overhaul of the Vinton Street Park was accomplished. A new grandstand was constructed. It was twenty seven feet from base to top of roof. It was seventy feet deep and 450 ft. long when all the segments were added together. It had a capacity of 7,500 with 800 box seats, 1,200 chairs and 4,100 other seats. The rest of the 7,500 was standing room. An additional 2,500 bleacher seats were in past first base, down the right field line. The outfield fences were moved further back during this reconstruction of the park. The park burned down in 1936.

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© 2009 Bruce Esser