Creason: In 1920s, L.A.’s all-black White Sox had their own Boyle Heights ballpark

From Glen Creason at Los Angeles Magazine on April 6, 2016:

Some of the best baseball ever played in Los Angeles took place at the forgotten White Sox Park just east of the river near the railroad tracks in Boyle Heights. It may not be visible on this 1921 map, but a historic field did indeed exist there, and it played host to many a spirited ballgame.

Long before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, outstanding black players performed out West during the winter months. They played against big league talent that barnstormed where the sun shone in Southern California. Black ballplayers played all over the L.A. area—in Chutes Park, Washington, Vernon—but White Sox Park was the only facility constructed specifically for a black team. Built with gargantuan dimensions—455 feet to left center, 546 feet to center, and a short porch in right at 430 feet—White Sox Park was hardly a launching pad in the dead-ball era.

The White Sox were a formidable club led by the great Oscar Charleston, who, in the summer, played for the St. Louis Giants of the Negro leagues. Charleston is widely considered the greatest player in the history of the Negro leagues, and as a center fielder, he was a true five-tool player. In 1921 with the Negro National League, he batted .426, with ten triples, 14 homers, and 28 stolen bases. Charleston is also reputed to be the man who recommended Jackie Robinson to the Majors in 1947.

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Originally published: April 12, 2016. Last Updated: April 12, 2016.