On this final day, a crowd of 42,849 fans turned out on a glorious, sunny, autumn afternoon to say farewell to what had been proclaimed the "the Baseball Palace of the World" when it opened July 1, 1910. Many fans were teary-eyed, realizing that the place where they had spent so many happy times would soon be turned into a parking lot for the new Comiskey Park, which was rising just to the south at 35th Street and Shields Avenue.
"Years from now," the Chicago White Sox ads had said all season, "you'll say you were there." On this day, one of the many banners hanging from the upper-deck railings read, "Years from now, you'll park here." Several more read: "Goodbye, Old Friend."That is exactly what Comiskey Park had been. Besides being the home of Chicago's American League team, the venerable ballpark with the exploding scoreboard had been the site of several heavyweight title fights, the home field for the Chicago Cardinals in the National Football League, the stadium where the Negro League All-Star Games were played, and the place where the Beatles had performed two concerts.
Former Sox Vice President Charles Comiskey, grandson of the man for whom the park was named, was on hand for the final game, against the Seattle Mariners. Mayor Richard M. Daley, who practically grew up at the ballpark, threw out the first ball. Former Sox great Minnie Minoso brought the lineup card out to the umpires. And then it began. The crowd roared as if it were the World Series. By the sixth inning, the Mariners were leading 1-0, but a triple by Lance Johnson, a single by Frank Thomas and a triple by Dan Pasqua put the Sox ahead 2-1. And that is how it stayed.
When it was over, after the crowd had joined organist Nancy Faust for a final rendition of "Na-Na Hey-Hey Goodbye,"--the unofficial victory song of the Sox-- veteran catcher Carlton Fisk looked out across the green grass and summed up the feelings of many others in the park. "I don't know if I want to see it as it's being torn down," he said. "I think I'd rather see it now, when it's all up, and then not see it. That way, I've got it in my mind what it was and what it continues to be. I have a lot of things from this ballpark, right between my ears, and I'll keep them right there."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun