Braves Field/Nickerson Field

285 Babcock Street, Allston

Nickerson Field, September 2015. Photo by Joseph Nevins.

The former site of the Allston Golf Club, Braves Field, the home of the National League’s Boston Braves was the largest baseball stadium in the country when it opened in August 1915. Prior to then, the Braves had played, since the team’s founding in 1871, at the South End Grounds

While the neighboring American League Boston Red Sox—the last team in baseball to field a Black player—were long marked by racism, the Braves, by comparison, were a progressive team. One year after the Brooklyn Dodgers became the first major league team to field a Black player (Jackie Robinson), the Braves became the second when they debuted Sam “Jet” Jethroe in 1950. By 1952, the Braves’ last year in the city (they moved to Milwaukee), Boston’s National League team had three Black players on its roster. (Today, the team is located in Atlanta, where it maintains its racially offensive name, one first adopted in 1912.)

Boston Braves players (left to right) Luis Marquez and Sam Jethroe at Braves Field, April 1951. Photo by Leslie Jones. Source: Leslie Jones Collections, Arts Department, Boston Public Library, via Digital Commonwealth.

Boston University (BU) purchased Braves Field for $430,000 in 1953. Today it is the site of a university stadium called Nickerson Field, where BU’s men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer teams play. The offices of the BU police department are in the original building that housed the Braves’ administrative offices. In the entry area (close to Braves Field Way), in back of the stadium, a small monument marks the site of what was Braves Field.

Photo by Baseball Panoramic, June 14, 2014. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Getting there:

Green Line, B Branch to the Babcock Street stop. 0.4 mile (four-minute) walk.

To learn more:

Howard Bryant, Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston, Boston: Beacon Press, 2002.

Niquel Terry Ellis. “‘Dehumanizing’ and ‘racist.’ Native leaders decry Braves’ ‘Tomahawk chop’ ahead of World Series game in Atlanta,” CNN, October 28, 2021.

Patrick L. Kennedy, “Remembering the Wigwam” (Parts 1 & 2), BU Today, April 12 & 13, 2012.

Sharon Brody and Lynn Jolicoeur, “‘The Roots of Boston Baseball’: Former Braves Field Marks 100 Years,” WBUR.org, August 21, 2015.

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