New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, February 20, 2017
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1915 Pelican Stadium Opens


The last baseball game to be played at the old New Orleans Pelican Stadium
occurred on Sunday, Sept. 1, 1957. The Pelicans had furnished fond memories at
this location dating back to April 13, 1915, when the site was officially opened
after having been moved piecemeal from Banks and Carrollton by mules and then
reconstructed at the Tulane and Carrollton location.


We've been singing "Take me out to the ball game" for a very
long time here in the Big Easy, ever since amateur teams started playing in the
1850s. The game was so popular that by 1870 we had half a dozen amateur teams
and not one, but three ball parks -- one with a grandstand big enough to hold
1,000 fans.

  One of the parks was, indeed, located at
Carrollton and Banks, right about where the Jesuit gymnasium is today. It was
the home of the Pelicans, New Orleans' first professional team.


  The "father" of the Pelicans was Charles Abner Powell, who
came to New Orleans in 1887. He managed the Pelicans and is credited with some
things we take for granted today: the rain check and covering the diamond during
a storm to prevent flooding. He also created new friends and fans when he
introduced the idea of "Ladies Day" to New Orleans.

  In 1901,
because Powell's team was not very successful, he went to North Carolina, bought
himself a new one for $12,000, and fired the old one. It proved to be a smart
move as the new and improved Pelicans -- under three other managers -- won at
least ten pennants by 1938. Those were the glory days, the days of Charlie
Frank, Johnny Dobbs, and Larry Gilbert, who held the title "Mr. Baseball of New
Orleans."

  However, early in 1914, the team was in trouble;
in fact, it was almost bankrupt. Some say that the Pelican franchise was saved
and developed into a valuable minor league property by Alexander Julius
Heinemann -- an eccentric and unpopular man whom the fans nicknamed "Heine."
Originally a soft-drink vendor in the old park, Heine had been an officer in the
club since 1904, and became its president in 1914. It was Heine who in 1914-15
moved the Pelicans to their new stadium on Tulane and Carrollton, where they
began to win games and make money. The new park was called Heinemann Park until
1938 when it was changed to Pelican Stadium.

  Heine ended his
own life in 1930 after suffering great financial losses in the 1929 crash. The
Pelicans played their last game in 1957 in Pelican Stadium, which was demolished
soon after to build the Fontainebleu Motor Hotel.


Sources: Mural by Tony Green at href="http://members.aol.com/gypsyjass/pelican.html">http://members.aol.com/gypsyjass/pelican.html
Text:
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href="http://www.bestofneworleans.com/archives/2000/1205/feat-blak.html">http://www.bestofneworleans.com/archives/2000/1205/feat-blak.html