Swayne Field

From BR Bullpen

Swayne Field in Toledo, OH, was the home of Toledo affiliated baseball from 1909 through 1955. After that, the Toledo Sox of the American Association began playing in an existing ballpark in Wichita, KS, as the Wichita Braves.

It hosted Negro Leagues baseball in at least the 1950s.

After the Sox left, Swayne was quickly demolished. Part of one wall remains at what is now Swayne Field Shopping Center. More than just a monument to the old field, it is the first concrete outfield wall ever erected for a U.S. baseball field. In fact, Swayne was the first concrete-and-steel ballpark ever built for an American minor league team - beating Birmingham's Rickwood Field, which is often credited with that status, by more than a calendar year.

TV's M*A*S*H made the Mud Hens a household name by making CPL Max Klinger a fan, and Swayne would have been the home park of his favorite club. He would actually have been a fan of two different franchises during the setting of the show: During the 1952 season, the Hens packed up and moved to Charleston, WV. The Milwaukee Brewers, bumped by their parent Boston Braves, became the Toledo Sox in 1953 but stayed only three seasons.

Swayne hosted American Association teams - all called Mud Hens, except three short stretches. In 1914, the Cleveland Naps pulled their farm club to the other side of Ohio to block the Federal League from using League Park when they weren't. The Fed folded after the 1915 season, and the now-Indians sent their farm club home - as the Toledo Iron Men, but they revived "Mud Hens" in 1919.

The farther back one reaches before Swayne opened, the more amorphous team nicknames were. "Mud Hens" seems to have emerged as the team nickname around 1896, but there are contemporary references to "Swamp Angels" and "White Stockings".