Jefferson St. Grounds Marker
Matt Albertson PHILADELPHIA, PA
The Jefferson Street Grounds (1864-1891) situated between Jefferson and Master Streets and 25th and 27th Streets were among Philadelphia's earliest ballparks where some of baseball's most important events occurred.
During the 1860s, Philadelphia oldest organized "baseball" team, the Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia, played on the grounds regularly and built the pictured clubhouse along Master Street. (For more on the Olympics, http://sabr.org/latest/olympic-ball-club-philadelphia)
In 1869, for the first time in recorded history, a game was played between an all-white club (the Olympics) and an all-black club (the Pythians, captained by Civil Rights activist Octavius Catto), with the Olympics winning the game 44-23. (For more on the first inter-racial game, http://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/september-3-1869-inter-racial-baseball-philadelphia)
Later, the National League scheduled it's inaugural set of games on April 22, 1876. However, every game except the one at Philadelphia's Jefferson Street Grounds was rained out. Thus, the game between the Athletics and Boston Red Caps serves as the first National League game and de facto first Major League Baseball game. (For more on the first MLB game, http://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/april-22-1876-new-age-begins-inaugural-national-league-game)
The Jefferson Street Grounds were the site where these monumental events occurred. But many, many more events, some recorded, some lost to the sands of time also occurred. The grounds were an integral part to Philadelphia and American society during the 19th century. The site transcended class, race, and gender in the years following the Civil War.
The purpose of this gofundme is to procure a Pennsylvania Historical Marker to be placed on the location where the Jefferson Street Grounds once stood and where the Athletic Recreation Center (and two baseball fields) currently stand. Philadelphians still use the site for athletics and recreation, just as their ancestors did more than a century ago.
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