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  • How the White Sox Changed The Field...

    Terrific story on the Sox of the early 80's, how they changed the dimensions of Comiskey Park and the statistical/analytical data that helped TLR in his first stint:

    https://www.mlb.com/news/featured/wh...more-home-runs

  • #2
    Good article, but I couldn’t help but notice that it never once mentioned that the franchise had moved home plate 14 feet closer to the walls in 1934. Did the writer not know this, or just ignore it to make it seem like moving up home plate was a genius idea by Dan Evans, the revolutionary wunderkind?

    Comment


    • #3
      The only discrepancy I find is when the dimensions were changed the power alleys only decreased by 1 foot while down the lines they decreased by 11 feet and center field by 8 feet making it impossible for the powers alleys only decreasing by 1 foot. What I read more than a few times is that the power alleys were really 385 feet before the re-fit. A few times Sox players on few occasions and on their own measured the powers alleys and came out with the distance at around 385 feet. Jimmy Piersall also told me the same thing.
      What was amazing that by moving home plate 8 feet closer to CF is how much roof top homers increased, I'm pretty sure that Kittle and Luzinski hit more roof top homers in 1983 that were hit in the history of the park up to then.

      Something I'd like to give JR some credit for was when the dimesions were changed the field itself was also leveled off and with better drainage. The field was pitched in such a way that a golfing buddy of mine who played for the Cubs in the early 50s by the name of Gabe Wade told me that when sitting in the dugouts at old Comiskey you could barely see the heads of the outfielders.

      Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 09-28-2021, 12:28 PM.
      Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Tommy John View Post
        Good article, but I couldn’t help but notice that it never once mentioned that the franchise had moved home plate 14 feet closer to the walls in 1934. Did the writer not know this, or just ignore it to make it seem like moving up home plate was a genius idea by Dan Evans, the revolutionary wunderkind?
        One season in the early 50s, GM Frank Lane thought it was a good idea to erect a wire fence shortening the dimensions at Comiskey so the Sox could hit more homers with the powerful Yankees on their mind. On the Yankees first visit to Comiskey they hit a ton of homers while the Sox only hit a 1 or 2, by the next homestand the fence came down, the rule was changed decades ago and now say that the dimensions of a ballpark can not be changed during the course of a season. Of course a lot of us remember the wire fence that went up for the 1969 and 1970 seasons, in 1971 Comiskey went back to it's original configuration.
        Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 09-28-2021, 08:29 AM.
        Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

        Comment


        • #5
          When were the bullpens moved out to beyond the CF wall? I remember the CF distance was 440' and the bullpens were in RF and LF foul territory long, long ago. But I'm a little older than you guys.

          I'm also questioning those power alley distances. Something there isn't right. The same's true of Wrigley. Those 368' signs look a bit "optimistic."
          Last edited by berwyn; 09-28-2021, 09:21 AM.
          If it's up, put it down. If it's down, put it up.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by berwyn View Post
            When were the bullpens moved out to beyond the CF wall? I remember the CF distance was 440' and the bullpens were in RF and LF foul territory long, long ago. But I'm a little older than you guys.

            I'm also questioning those power alley distances. Something there isn't right. The same's true of Wrigley. Those 368' signs look a bit "optimistic."
            Berwyn, I believe the bullpens were originally moved to CF around 1951 at the same time the new Chesterfield scoreboard made it's debut. The new distance was 415 feet, 25 feet less than the 440 to the big wall and CF bleachers. The new centerfield wall was around 4 feet, as Landis would make a lot of home run saving catches. The bullpens were moved again to the foul lines I think in 71 but the short wall in center remained. When Veeck bought the club again in 76 he tore down the bullpen wall and the distance went back to 440 feet. When JR boughf the club in 81 the bullpens returned to CF but with a higher wall and 400 feet to dead center. I have some books about the old park but we are going out to lunch and will check back later on any discrepancies.
            Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 09-28-2021, 09:57 AM.
            Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tommy John View Post
              Good article, but I couldn’t help but notice that it never once mentioned that the franchise had moved home plate 14 feet closer to the walls in 1934. Did the writer not know this, or just ignore it to make it seem like moving up home plate was a genius idea by Dan Evans, the revolutionary wunderkind?
              The article was about the data driven stats used by the White Sox in 1982 and how those stats informed the decision to make the changes to the ballpark. Has absolutely nothing to do with 1934, as it was not an article about all the changes to the field throughout the years. This was specifically about what happened after the 82 season.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lipman 1 View Post
                Terrific story on the Sox of the early 80's, how they changed the dimensions of Comiskey Park and the statistical/analytical data that helped TLR in his first stint:

                https://www.mlb.com/news/featured/wh...more-home-runs
                Great article. Thanks for sharing, Lip. I had forgotten that Hawk move the dimensions back a few years later.

                I noted in the article that the Bossards (father and son) considered Comiskey's sod sacred. But, didn't the Sox have Astroturf installed in Comiskey's infield for several years in the early 70s? Surely that was a greater abomination to the sacred Comiskey infield than moving the pitcher's mound. It's not like the infield hadn't been messed with for decades prior to 1983. And I realize this article isn't about the "Sox Sod" era during the Allyn years, but I'm just noting that.

                Also, this got me thinking about the new ballpark. When it opened, it was known as a pitcher's park, but post-renovations it's become one of the more HR-friendly parks in the league. What changes caused such a shift? Were the fences moved to add more seats in the foul area? I have also heard that removing the top 1/3 of the upper deck changed the wind dynamics. What change had the most impact on turning what was a pitcher's park into a park known for giving up a lot of HRs?
                White Sox Division Titles: 1983, 1993, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2021

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hitmen77 View Post

                  Great article. Thanks for sharing, Lip. I had forgotten that Hawk move the dimensions back a few years later.

                  I noted in the article that the Bossards (father and son) considered Comiskey's sod sacred. But, didn't the Sox have Astroturf installed in Comiskey's infield for several years in the early 70s? Surely that was a greater abomination to the sacred Comiskey infield than moving the pitcher's mound. It's not like the infield hadn't been messed with for decades prior to 1983. And I realize this article isn't about the "Sox Sod" era during the Allyn years, but I'm just noting that.

                  Also, this got me thinking about the new ballpark. When it opened, it was known as a pitcher's park, but post-renovations it's become one of the more HR-friendly parks in the league. What changes caused such a shift? Were the fences moved to add more seats in the foul area? I have also heard that removing the top 1/3 of the upper deck changed the wind dynamics. What change had the most impact on turning what was a pitcher's park into a park known for giving up a lot of HRs?
                  The Astro Turf infield started if I remember right in 1969, Veeck tore it out before the start of the 1976 season.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hitmen77 View Post

                    Great article. Thanks for sharing, Lip. I had forgotten that Hawk move the dimensions back a few years later.

                    I noted in the article that the Bossards (father and son) considered Comiskey's sod sacred. But, didn't the Sox have Astroturf installed in Comiskey's infield for several years in the early 70s? Surely that was a greater abomination to the sacred Comiskey infield than moving the pitcher's mound. It's not like the infield hadn't been messed with for decades prior to 1983. And I realize this article isn't about the "Sox Sod" era during the Allyn years, but I'm just noting that.

                    Also, this got me thinking about the new ballpark. When it opened, it was known as a pitcher's park, but post-renovations it's become one of the more HR-friendly parks in the league. What changes caused such a shift? Were the fences moved to add more seats in the foul area? I have also heard that removing the top 1/3 of the upper deck changed the wind dynamics. What change had the most impact on turning what was a pitcher's park into a park known for giving up a lot of HRs?
                    I thought it was a hitters parks from the get go, the new park was configured with home plate facing southeast as compared to old Comiskey and Wrigley where home plate faces northeast, thats a huge differencece especially on cold days in April and early May with the winds from the north.
                    Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kobo View Post

                      The article was about the data driven stats used by the White Sox in 1982 and how those stats informed the decision to make the changes to the ballpark. Has absolutely nothing to do with 1934, as it was not an article about all the changes to the field throughout the years. This was specifically about what happened after the 82 season.
                      Ok.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hitmen77 View Post
                        Also, this got me thinking about the new ballpark. When it opened, it was known as a pitcher's park, but post-renovations it's become one of the more HR-friendly parks in the league. What changes caused such a shift? Were the fences moved to add more seats in the foul area? I have also heard that removing the top 1/3 of the upper deck changed the wind dynamics. What change had the most impact on turning what was a pitcher's park into a park known for giving up a lot of HRs?
                        There are a couple factors that made New Comiskey into more of a HR park than it was when it first opened. In the early 2000s, the Sox finally started listening to some of the critiques of the original New Comiskey design. The fans hated the "moat" that separated the outfield seats from the outfield wall itself and the bullpens were basically "caves" in right and left center which made it very difficult to see who was warming up. Here is a photo of the original outfield config: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chiski/22104203018

                        They reconfigured the outfield to add more seats and fill in the old bullpens and bring the seats all the way down to the padded wall filling in the moat. They also added new highly visible bullpens in right center and the LF corner. To accomodate some of these changes, the fences came in a bit at the corners. LF went from 347 to 330 and RF went from 347 to 335. This renovation gave the outfield its familiar dimensions that we all see today: https://live.staticflickr.com/4080/4...45d3cd72_b.jpg

                        In addition to the fences being moved in a bit, the upper deck renovations had an impact on the wind at New Comiskey. They chopped the top 10 rows of the upper deck and added a chain link fence behind the last row so that air now blows between the last row of the upper deck and the roof: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cc_yang/540049726/ The previous design of the park had that upper deck completely closed so it blocked the wind: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_KAI4BDSkBu...rk+1992-01.jpg

                        As an observer, I'd argue that the upper deck renovation had more of an impact on the amount of HRs than the slight adjustment to the fence dimensions. During the warm summer months, it seems the high fly balls can catch a jet stream and just carry out over the fence where in the pre-renovation years, they'd often get knocked down by the wind or just die out at the track. Our ballpark is very Jeckyl & Hyde though. In the warmer months it can play pretty small, but in April, May, and even early June, it can still play pretty big in my opinion.

                        Originally posted by LITTLE NELL View Post
                        I thought it was a hitters parks from the get go, the new park was configured with home plate facing southeast as compared to old Comiskey and Wrigley where home plate faces northeast, thats a huge differencece especially on cold days in April and early May with the winds from the north.
                        When it opened in 1991 it was considered a hitter's park compared to cavernous Old Comiskey as well as the other ballparks of the time. However, as more of the newer parks like Camden Yards, Jacobs Field, Ballpark at Arlington etc. got built, New Comiskey was suddenly viewed as more of a pitchers park with its symmetrical outfield wall, deep gaps, and deep corners. According to Rich Lindberg's White Sox Encyclopedia, the southeast direction of the ballpark was chosen specifically to yield more home runs. Apparently, they studied wind patterns and the consultants they hired told them that having the ballpark facing that way would give them more of a hitter's park. They also wanted to keep the 35th st mailing address. However, many Sox players who have played there say that the wind patterns there are among the most challenging in baseball. Darrin Jackson has been on record as saying its the most difficult ballpark he had ever played outfield in because of the swirling wind patterns that can impact the baseball's trajectory. As most Sox fans will tell you, the flags at our ballpark rarely tell the full story of how the ball is going to travel on a given day.

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                        • #13
                          To be exact, 8 rows of the upper deck were lopped off, when the park opened in 91 there were 29 rows in the UD, now there are 21.
                          I sat in row 29 in the 1993 Division clincher against the Mariners and it was like watching a game from the moon. Once we sat down we never left our seats until the end of the game, as many know the the aisles start at the first row and it was a hike up to that 29th row and so steep. They did a great job with the UD, the last game I attended there was in 2012 and we sat in the UD again IIRC in row 6, the new roof and eliminating 8 rows of seats made it seem like it wasn't so steep and not so remote.
                          Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 09-28-2021, 03:41 PM.
                          Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LITTLE NELL View Post
                            To be exact, 8 rows of the upper deck were lopped off, when the park opened in 91 there were 29 rows in the UD, now there are 21.
                            I sat in row 29 in the 1993 Division clincher against the Mariners and it was like watching a game from the moon. Once we sat down we never left our seats until the end of the game, as many know the the aisles start at the first row and it was a hike up to that 29th row and so steep. They did a great job with the UD, the last game I attended there was in 2012 and we sat in the UD again IIRC in row 6, the new roof and eliminating 8 rows of seats made it seem like it wasn't so steep and not so remote.
                            Completely agree. I sat up in row 28 for the 2000 ALDS versus Seattle and it was way up there. It was always a mistake to have that many rows and put the stairs at the bottom of the deck so if you had seats in those now eliminated rows, it was quite the climb. The new renovations and roof made things way more cozy up there and completely changed how the upper deck feels. Somewhere up there is a crossbeam section with my signature on it. They allowed the fans at SoxFest to sign one of the support beams prior to the renovations.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I remember one occasion where we sat in one of the rows that got chopped off during their final season. We were almost in the back row, and I vividly remember how far we appeared to be from the field. That said, when the Sox were one strike away from victory, a fan was pounding the back of the upper deck to create noise. If anything else, it was good for that, though who knows how much of that could be heard if you weren't right there?

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