Yesterday a wire screen was put in place on the top of the cast fence of the Union grounds. The screen is six feet high, the top being eighteen feet above the ground. There are few players in any of the associations possessing the muscle enough to drive a ball over the top of this screen.-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 8, 1884
What a great little detail. The Union Grounds had a six foot high wire fence added to the top of the outfield wall. You have to love stuff like that.
There was a lot of talk that the grounds were too small and it appears that, by this, they meant that the outfield walls were too close. It appears that Lucas solution to this perceived problem was to make the outfield fence eighteen feet high.
Was the park really too small? I don't know the answer to that right now but I suspect I'll figure it out as I go through the Maroons' games on a day to day basis. B-Ref has the Union Grounds as a hitter's park in 1884 but as fairly neutral during the three years the Maroons played there. There's probably a way to check the home/road splits but I haven't figured it out.
I did find the home run log at B-Ref. Dunlap hit six home runs at home and seven on the road. Jack Gleason hit two at home and two on the road. Dave Rowe hit all four of his home runs on the road but Henry Boyle hit all three of his at home. I'm not sure what that all really means. The Maroons only hit 32 home runs as a team but they had four guys with over 30 doubles and another with 21. Rowe hit 11 triples, Orator Shafer hit ten and Dunlap hit 8. The club hit 41 triples and 259 doubles but only 32 home runs.
I would think that, if they played in a small park, the club would have more home runs and fewer doubles and triples. Maybe they were just whacking balls off that eighteen foot high fence all day. But right now, I'm leaning to the idea that the Union Grounds really wasn't that small a park. We'll see.