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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Houston's West End Park

Yesterday (Saturday, July 12th) the Harris County Historical Commission unveiled a marker commemorating Houston's old West End Park. Click here to view a Wikipedia article on the Park.  The map in the article is poor, so here's an annotated Google map to help you locate the Park in today's Houston.

You may wonder if Sugar Land has a connection with West End Park.  Well, it does.  No doubt many Sugar Land sports fans saw athletic competitions of all types there roughly 100 years ago, and I know with certainty that the Sugar Land Blues played a game at that site in 1915.  (I don't doubt they played there several times.)

A few years ago, Ultimate Fort Bend, a suburban section of The Houston Chronicle, had a story about the Blues playing Liberty at West End Park.  They've taken down the original article, but here's the text, which I saved for future reference.

Baseball in Sugar Land - Sound Familiar?

As the city of Sugar Land pursues a minor league baseball stadium and team, it's interesting to take a look back and see that baseball had a strong following in 1915.

Chances are you've never heard of Fletcher "Sled" Allen, but 95 years ago, he had many people in Sugar Land ticked off.  Allen was a baseball player who played one season with the St. Louis Browns in 1910 before he ended up being a player/coach in the Texas League.

In the summer of 1915, Allen ended up umpiring a baseball game at West End park in Houston between teams from Liberty and Sugar Land (which was spelled "Sugarland" back then in newspaper accounts).  According to a small story in the Rosenberg News-Herald, more than 1,500 people were in attendance for the game, which Liberty won, 1-0.  Unfortunately, there's no details on whether the teams were amateurs, semi-pro or perhaps rival schools.

Nonetheless, it was Allen's umpiring that drew the wrath of many in attendance. Here's what the news article had to say:

"A crowd of more than 1500 people saw the Sugarland boys go down in defeat, and a great per cent of the crowd also realized that Sugarland's defeat was due almost entirely to the partial umpiring of "Sled" Allen."