Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Formation Of The Sportsman's Park And Club Association

Mr. Christ. Von der Ahe's plan for a joint stock company, to be known as the St. Louis Sportsman's Association, has found such favor with the fraternity as to assure its being carried out. Articles of incorporation will be applied for on Monday or Tuesday, and the work of improving the club grounds on Grand avenue will be proceeded with at once. Mr. Von der Ahe has secured a lease of the Grand Avenue Base Ball Park, as it was in the professional days, the strip that was cut off about three years ago having been again added thereto. The park will, therefore, be the most commodious in the country and will be admirably adapted to athletic sports of every description. A cricket field, kept in order throughout the season, a base ball diamond, cinder paths for "sprinters," a hand ball court, bowling alleys and everything of that sort will be laid out and constructed, comfortable accommodations for spectators will be erected, and nothing will be left undone to make the institution a model of its kind. $2,500 will probably be spent in the work of improvement.
-The St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 20, 1881

This obviously ties in with today's earlier post (I'm sneaky good like that).

The thing that strikes me about all of this is the list of things that Von der Ahe wanted to add on to the ballpark. The cricket field, running track, bowling alley, and all that sounds rather like what Von der Ahe did when he built New Sportsman's Park a decade later. The man was obviously thinking as early as 1881 of creating a multi-use sports complex.

And it's amazing that Von der Ahe's vision is still mocked. Chris Von der Ha Ha Ha-the idiot who built a chute-the-chute ride on his ballpark. Is it even necessary to say that in a day and age when some ballparks come equipped with hot tub seating for the fans that Von der Ahe was a man ahead of his time?

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