Chronological Tour: Stop 306

LaGrave Field

Main entrance to the rebuilt LaGrave Field, Aug-2005.

The seating bowl as seen from the left-field bleachers, Sep-2005.

Action during the final game of the Central League playoffs.

Quick Facts: Rating: 2 baseballs
Fort Worth has seen professional baseball since 1888. Teams played on the south side of town until 1911 and then moved to the north side, originally playing at a field on the west side of Main between North 6 and North 7 streets before relocating to LaGrave Field in 1926.

By the 1930s, Fort Worth teams were known as the Cats. Perhaps the most famous period for the Cats was from 1946 to 1956, when they were a farm club of the Dodgers in the Texas League. Bobby Bragan managed the club from 1948-52 and then went on to manage three clubs in the majors; the first time I showed up in 2005, the 87-year-old Bragan was honored and tabbed to manage the Cats in one more game. Duke Snider and Maury Wills also played in those years.

The park suffered a fire in 1949 but was rebuilt to the original specifications. However, after the last Cats left town in 1967, the park was left to rot until 2002, when the Cats of the independent Central League moved in after playing one season at Lon Goldstein Field on the south-side school field campus. The stadium was entirely rebuilt, with the exception of the 1926 dugouts. Those were preserved and turned into luxury seating areas (new, larger dugouts were built adjacent to them).

When I arrived, the new stadium was still incomplete. Rest rooms were not attached to the stadium; the left-field side featured trailers that included lavatory facilities. (Site visitor Rob Thompson states that as of February 2008, permanent concessions, restrooms, etc., are in place.) A roof of sorts was added in 2003, but when a nasty rainstorm with wind comes through, as happened the day of my initial visit, there is very little shelter. The right-field outfield bleacher is sheltered, but not the left-field bleacher; this may be reminiscent of the original park with its segregated bleachers.

Site visitor David Junell sheds more light on the bleacher situation. He says that in the 1950s, the covered right-field bleachers were reserved for the Knothole Gang, and there was chicken wire in front of the bleachers to prevent fan interference.

Thanks in part to Bragan’s insistence, the park now features “fair poles” instead of foul poles (after all, a ball that hits the pole is fair).

Special: Fort Worth Cats win 2005 Central League title
Game # Date League Level Result
786 Sat 3-Sep-2005 Central Ind. FORT WORTH 7, San Angelo 2
(Cats win league championship)
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This page updated 15-Jan-2015