A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 20, 2009
Ball Orchard (Big Ball Orchard in the South Bronx = Yankee Stadium)

Hugh S. Fullerton (1873-1945) began calling baseball parks “ball orchards” in the Chicago (IL) Tribune in 1905. Yankee Stadium (located in the Bronx) first opened in 1923. By the 1930s, Yankee Stadium was given the nicknames “big Bronx ball orchard” and “big ball orchard in the Bronx.” Art Rust, Jr. (1927-2010), a sports radio talk show host on WABC (NYC) radio in the 1980s, frequently called Yankee Stadium “the big ball orchard in the South Bronx.”
Other Yankee Stadium nicknames include “Bronx Bandbox,” “Bronx Toilet,” “Cathedral of Baseball,” “Coors Field East,” “Home Office of Baseball,” “Launching Pad” and “The House That Ruth Built.”
Wikipedia: Hugh Fullerton
Hugh Fullerton III (1873 - 1945) was an influential American sportswriter of the first half of the 20th century. He was one of the founders of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is best remembered for his role in uncovering the 1919 “Black Sox” Scandal. Studs Terkel played Fullerton in the film Eight Men Out.
Wikipedia: Yankee Stadium (1923)
The original Yankee Stadium was a stadium located in the Bronx in New York City. It was the home ballpark of the New York Yankees, one of the city’s Major League Baseball franchises, from 1923 to 2008, except for 1974–1975 when the stadium was renovated. It hosted 6,581 Yankees regular season home games during its 85-year history. It was also the home of the New York Giants National Football League (NFL) team from 1956 through September 1973. The stadium’s nickname, “The House That Ruth Built”, is derived from Babe Ruth, the baseball superstar whose prime years coincided with the stadium’s opening and the beginning of the Yankees’ winning history. It has often been referred to as “The Cathedral of Baseball”.
31 December 1905, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, pg. 26:
I wrote about baseball in summer and rusticated, mostly, in winter. All I had to do was to fly southward early in March and then travel with the live stock from ball orchard to ball orchard until late in October.
(Story by Hugh S. Fullerton, also in the Chicago Tribune of the same date—ed.)
9 June 1907, Duluth (MN) News-Tribune, “Ball Players Like Rain” by Hugh S. Fullerton, section 4, pg. 2:
The ball grounds were at the edge of town in a beautiful valley in the midst of vegetable gardens, strawberry patches, and a short distance up toward the foothills the orange groves began, and down below, perhaps 200 yards from the ball orchard, there was a river bed with a drop or two of water in it.
17 March 1910, Modesto (CA) Herald, pg. 6, col. 4:
Not only did Comisky’s men open the season here but they were the first big league team that has played here since the twon was founded. In honor of the occasion, Modesto made it a gala day and closed up shop as far as possible. Everybody who could get out to the ball orchard went there, and from miles around the farmers came in their automobiles or behind spirited horses that would make the buyers at the Dexter pavilion sale sit up and bid.
7 May 1910, New Castle (PA) News, pg. 11, col. 5:
Now if you offered Connie Mack $15,000 for Eddie he’s feel insulted and show you away from the ball orchard.
LA84 Foundation Digital Library
8 November 1913, Sporting Life, pg. 6, col. 2:
Would not be surprised if Bill Dahlen was around the ball orchard as the manager next year.
17 May 1932, Charleroi (PA) Mail, pg. 5, col. 7:
The rise of the New York Yankees to first place in the American League race, overhauling Washington after a long stern chase, was by way of crescendo accomplishment today to the shutout record being carved at the Bronx ball orchard.
3 June 1933, Hinton (WV) Daily News, “All Depends on Baer’s Frame of Mind” by Gayle Talbot, pg. 6, cols. 3-4:
NEW YORK (AP)—Height, weight, reach and the exuberance of youth will be in Max Baer’s corner the night of June 8 when he clashes with the German challenger, Max Schmeling, at Yankee Stadium.
All these elements, plus the unmatched ballyhoo put on by Jack Dempsey in his first promotorial venture, promise to attract close to $300,000 worth of paying customers to the big ball orchard in the Bronx Thursday night.
3 October 1939, Montana Standard (Butte, MT), pg. 8, col. 8:
The Yankees announced the gates of the big Bronx ball orchard would be thrown open at 10 a. m. (EST) Wednesday—3 1/2 hours before “post time”—and immediately 300 fans decided to turn out at the bleacher entrance Thursday afternoon to get the publicity attendant on being the first through the turnstiles.
Google Books
May 1953, Baseball Digest, pg. 73, col. 2:
White Sox Second Baseman Nellie Fox always will find his favorite brand of chewing tobacco on hand at the Bronx ball orchard and Weidenfeld never forgets Satchell Paige’s particular choice of sweet-smelling after-shave lotion.
2 July 1983, Asbury Park (NJ) Press, “Yankees hope to be in 1st by July 4th” by Elliott Denman, pg. B3, col. 2:
Fourteen and a half months later, there is big optimism in the big ball orchard in the South Bronx.
25 September 1983, Daily News (New York, NY), “Let’s hope Andre’s fine, not fined” by Art Rust, Jr., pg. 75, col. 4:
I’ve been smitten with Joe D since the first time I saw him trod the tundra of the big ball orchard in the South Bronx in 1936,
27 April 1995, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Blueprint for Success? Try Coors Field”:
Given the history and tradition of what Art Rust Jr. likes to call the big ball orchard in the South Bronx, most couldn’t imagine baseball without The House That Ruth Built.
purple prose
The Big Ball Orchard In The South Bronx

By robert weintraub, 4:00 PM on Wed Jun 11 2008
Slate’s Robert Weintraub, like many of us, loves the old purple prose of early 1900s sportswriting, the Grantland Rices, the men who painted epic tales of warriors, grizzled combatants and lardywarks too manly to wear gloves. In an occasional series, Weintraub writes about the week’s best baseball game in the style of the vaunted sportswriters of yesteryear.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Saturday, June 20, 2009 • Permalink

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