New Comiskey Park

The second Comiskey Park is quite possibly the last example of the long-evolving “modernist” baseball stadium: curve-sided, symmetrical, totally rational, suburban in character, and detached from its surroundings.

Comiskey Two was built just south of the original Comiskey, whose site is now one of the new stadium’s parking lots. Like its predecessor, it has a roomy outfield and features a replica of the old park’s famous exploding scoreboard first conceived by Bill Veeck.

But beyond these two similarities, and the oddly-retained name (the Comiskey family has had no connection to the team for decades), the two parks are radically different. The old stadium featured intimacy, brick walls, steel columns in its seating areas (which sometimes obstructed the view of the field), and a basically straight-lined geometry. Seats in the foul corners faced center field rather than the plate. The new ballpark has a concrete structure and a precast concrete facing, with prominently exposed ramps, unobstructed views, better sight lines in the corners, distant upper deck seats, and curved sides. The stands in the new park, which contain about 44,000 seats (about the same number as Old Comiskey) are built 60% higher than those of its predecessor, a fact which was dramatically visible during the few months that the two Comiskeys stood side by side in 1990.

New Comiskey is the best pitcher’s park in the AL, with a large outfield (347-foot foul lines) more than offsetting its fairly tight foul area. In its heyday, the old park was bordered by neighborhood buildings (including a saloon patronized by Babe Ruth), but its replacement is completely surrounded by parking lots.