Photo courtesy of Found SF

En Español

1. Seals Stadium: 16th and Potrero. Open from 1931 to 1959. It was this stadium that our own Mission Reds last played in, before leaving it and us, moving to Los Angeles and renaming themselves the Hollywood Stars. And people wonder why Northern and Southern California don’t get along.

2. Big Rec Baseball Park: 15th and Valencia. This was home to the Seals from 1907 to 1930 (minus that year they spent in Oakland). Now the Valencia Gardens housing projects. Another photo, looking down Valencia Street.

3. Recreation Grounds Baseball Park: 26th and Harrison. This was San Francisco’s first professional enclosed ballpark, open from 1868 to 1884. Now it’s  Garfield Square, home of Garfield Pool, and the place where altars are built for the Mission’s annual Day of the Dead celebration.

4. 16th and Harrison: Supposedly, supposedly, the site of not only the first baseball game in San Francisco, but the first baseball game in California. The year? 1859.

Follow Us

Heather Smith covers a beat that spans health, food, and the environment, as well as shootings, stabbings, various small fires, and shouting matches at public meetings. She is a 2007 Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism and a contributor to the book Infinite City.

Join the Conversation


Please keep your comments short and civil. Do not leave multiple comments under multiple names on one article. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Hey Mark-

    Yeah, I felt 1860 was a little late given the first games in Brooklyn in 1848. I would have expected it to pop up right after the gold rush.

    Do you have any references to the Portsmouth Square games?

  2. The field at “16th and Harrison” was known as Centers Bridge. Around there, a couple blocks from Seals Stadium, the first organized baseball game on the West Coast took place in 1860 (FoundSF is wrong on that I believe). However there are reports going back to 1852, suggesting pickup games of some sort were being played at Portsmouth Square. Soon afterward, Portsmouth Square became the scene of vigilante hangings. Some reports link the first baseball players in SF with the first vigilantes in SF (not a pleasant association).