152 years of summer sport
It's great that our Columbus Clippers play ball in that wonderful Huntington Park Downtown. How long has baseball been played in Columbus? How about 152 years? Well, almost—there have been gaps when Columbus was without a team. The first team, the Buckeye Baseball Club, was organized in 1866, 27 years after Abner Doubleday is said to have created the game in Cooperstown, New York. The Buckeyes' first game was played at East Broad Street and Parsons Avenue. That game was intramural, with one squad whipping the other 95 to 44. The Buckeyes also used a field near Union Station on North High Street.
After about the 1870s there were a lot of changes—the team varied between professional and amateur, joined and left various leagues and kept changing ownership. By the turn of the 20th century, the hometown team was known as the Columbus Senators and in 1905 moved into Neil Park, the country's first concrete-and-steel ballpark, on Cleveland Avenue north of Downtown across from Fort Hayes. In 1930 the team was sold to Branch Rickey, an Ohio Wesleyan University graduate and owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, as a farm team. He renamed the team the Red Birds in 1931 and in 1932, they moved to a new park on former farmland on West Mound Street, named Red Bird Stadium. From 1955 to 1970, they were a Pittsburgh Pirates farm club as the Columbus Jets and Red Bird Stadium became Jets Stadium. Baseball was dormant in Columbus from 1970 to 1976. The Columbus Clippers were formed in 1977, and from 1979 to 2006, they were New York Yankees affiliates in the International League. The Clippers, now minor-league partners with the Cleveland Indians, moved to Huntington Park in 2009. As of today, the fate of the old West Side park is still undecided.
I have heard the name Maryhaven in the news every so often but don't know anything about it. What and where is it? Described as Ohio's oldest addiction-treatment center, Maryhaven, Inc. is a non-profit corporation organized in 1953.
Located at 1791 Alum Creek Drive on the southeast side of Columbus, Maryhaven was started by a small group of women who suffered the effects of family members' alcoholism. Eventually the group took over a vacant former tuberculosis hospital to help treat others facing similar predicaments.
It moved into its current facility in 1998 under the leadership of CEO Paul Coleman, who took that job in 1991 and retired in 2016; that same year a new wing was added to increase capacity because the organization was becoming overwhelmed by the opiate-addiction crisis. Serving more than 10,000 people a year, Maryhaven also provides services to treat drug and gambling addictions, as well as a wide range of mental health issues.
Maryhaven is a private entity, but because it serves such an important public function, it's funded by a wide variety of public and private sources including the Franklin County ADAMH board, Franklin County Children Services, the City of Columbus, United Way, The Ohio State University, Medicaid, and private donations.
Jeff Darbee is a preservationist, historian and author in Columbus. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the answer might appear in a future column.
Sources: Wikipedia, “Columbus Clippers”; Clippersbaseball.com; Better Business Bureau website;Columbus Dispatch, June 23, 2016