SABR Houston chapter unveils plaque for West End Park historic site

By Bob Dorrill

On a bright sunny morning on Saturday, July 12, 2014, some 35 Houston baseball fans traveled back through time to Antioch Park at Allen Center, at the corner of Smith and Clay in downtown Houston, to celebrate the unveiling of a marker commemorating West End Park, a ballpark that hosted Texas League baseball in Houston from 1905 to 1927 and used for multiple other activities, including professional black baseball, until 1942.

The marker, actually located a block from Antioch Park on Andrews, was sponsored by CenterPoint Energy. It was unveiled by SABR member Mike Vance, president and executive director of Houston Arts and Media, and Debra Sloan, Marker Dedication Chair of the Harris County Historical Commission. First pitch honors went to Minnette Boesel, who represented Houston Mayor Annise Parker, with Mr. Vance doing the catching duties.

Vance, who was instrumental in the design and acquisition of the marker, emceed the event starting with the Pledge of Allegiance to both the United States and Texas flags. He recognized many of the distinguished visitors on site before telling the group about key activities and fun facts that occurred at West End Park over the years. Janet Wagner, Chair of the CHCH, also spoke to the group.

On hand were 15 members of the local SABR Larry Dierker Chapter. Local chapter chair Bob Dorrill, dressed in an authentic reproduction uniform of Houston’s first professional baseball team in 1888, the Houston Babies, spoke on the many Hall of Fame baseball players who had played on this field, including Ty Cobb, Christie Mathewson, John McGraw, Connie Mack, Walter Johnson and Rube Waddell, to name a few, and then expounded on why so many people continue to have a love affair with baseball.

After the ceremony at the park, we proceeded to the actual ballpark location for the marker unveiling.

To view more photos of the ceremony, click here.

BOB DORRILL is the chair of SABR’s Larry Dierker Chapter and the SABR 44 convention committee. Join us in Houston for SABR 44 on July 30-August 3, 2014. Visit to learn more. 


Originally published: July 14, 2014. Last Updated: July 14, 2014.