Bonomo: What might have been on the South Side

From Jo3 Bonomo at No Such Thing As Was on December 20, 2015, with mention of SABR member Philip Bess:

I was reading about Orioles Park at Camden Yards recently when I came across a mention of Phillip Bess, a Professor of Architecture at Notre Dame who in 1987 and ’88 was the director and principal designer of the Urban Baseball Park Design Project of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). In 1986 and ’87 Bess and his associates conceived of a ballpark to replace Comiskey Park, the decades-old Chicago White Sox home which was slated for demolition at the end of that decade. The White Sox chose to go with the design firm HOK Sport, currently Populous, which famously designed Oriole Park and, more recently, the new Yankee Stadium, Minneapolis’ Target Field, San Francisco’s AT&T Park, Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, Houston’s NRG Stadium, and the recent renovations of Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

Baseball fans are well aware of the criticism that the new Comiskey Park received when it opened in 1991, the year before the beloved Camden Yards opened its gates. (Comiskey was renamed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003.) Recent changes and renovations notwithstanding, “The Cell” will likely always suffer from comparison to the more aesthetically-pleasing, nostalgia-inspired ballparks that came after it. Bess’s proposal would have been—was—an intriguing blend of old and new, what he imagined as a “neighborhood ballpark” for the 1990s and beyond.

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Originally published: December 23, 2015. Last Updated: December 23, 2015.