f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Midweek Mystery: Batting cage for St. Louis Browns?

Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at 7:30 AM

This photo by G.D. Fronabarger may show the batting cage being assembled at Capaha Park for the St. Louis Browns in 1943. The major league team, now the Baltimore Orioles, trained in Cape Girardeau for three consecutive springs during World War II.

From Associated Press, Jan. 24, 1943:

Leaving the world champion Cardinals as the only major league team still hunting for a spring training site, the St. Louis Browns Saturday selected Cape Girardeau, Mo., home of Southeast Missouri teachers college.

Cape Girardeau is 125 miles south of St. Louis and only 40 miles from Cairo, Ill., which has been under consideration by the Cardinals.

The Browns will start training March 15 and will break camp about April 8, in time for the first of seven games with the Cardinals in St. Louis, beginning April 10.

Facilities available for the Browns at Cape Girardeau include a baseball park, the city's new arena building for indoor practice, the college's gymnasium and its football field.


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  • The view is looking east. On the left is the grandstand and to the right up the hill was the double roundhouse, Both are gone now. Capaha Paark was my playground in the 1940s.

    I think I remember the batting cage, but I was never a baseball fan so guess I didn't know what it was or cared very much.

    The roundhouse was used to keep sports equipment like croquet mallets. One summer some recreation worker entertained us up there. I got chosen to have a clay "death" mask made. I took it home and carefully preserved it for several years. But it got lost during several moves and going abouts. It was very fragile.

    Someone told me the old all wood grandstand was built sometime in the 1890s. I wasn't around at the time.

    I remember the old oval wading and swimming pool witrh clapboard bathhouse about where the current pool is located. How I vividly remember the first time I went "swimming" in the wading pool. It was a magical time.

    I wonder do you have any old pictures of the old swimming pool? I remember one time the lifeguard kicked me out for getting into a fight.

    -- Posted by voyager on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 1:48 PM
    Fred Lynch
    According to our librarian, Sharon Sanders, at one time there were 11 structures on the grounds, a race track, a pond and a baseball diamond. After the city bought the grounds, all of the structures were torn down except for the community clubhouse, which burned in 1937, and the grandstand, which was demolished in 1949 to make way for the current grandstand.

    None of the structures at the park was built prior to 1900. In the early 1900s the fair was moved to what is now Capaha Park.

    The original grandstand was built in 1905 and stood until 1911, when it was demolished by a wind storm. It was rebuilt the same year, but some 40 feet larger than the original.