McGee: Charles Ebbets, the squire of Flatbush

From SABR member Bob McGee at The National Pastime Museum on January 24, 2018:

It was a snowy February 2 in 1876 when the National League was founded, just a few blocks east of Washington Square, in New York’s Broadway Central Hotel. It would be 14 years before the Brooklyn Baseball Club that became known as the Dodgers would join the league, but the team and franchise—with which Charles H. Ebbets’s name is so firmly intertwined—was founded just a few years later, in 1883, when Charles H. Byrne opted to buy a franchise in the Interstate League, a minor league connected with the American Association.

Byrne’s new ownership group hurried to erect a field in South Brooklyn at the bottom of Park Slope at what is now the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Third Street (a subsequent Washington Park—the last version—would be diagonally across the street on the northwest corner), a single-tier wooden grandstand with bleachers up the bank of an incline.

The park was built on historic ground, where the Battle of Brooklyn was fought on August 27, 1776. It was the first battle after the Declaration of Independence was signed, and it was the bloodiest battle of the war. As much as proud patriotic sentiments prevailed over the historic ground at this repurposed site, the Old Stone House that once served as Washington’s headquarters was turned into a ladies restroom.

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Originally published: January 24, 2018. Last Updated: January 24, 2018.