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BubblingCalderon
11-07-2009, 10:33 PM
There is a classic photo I always see of the early days of old Comiskey Park. I always assumed it was from the grand opening of old Comiskey park because there is a banner along the main entrance that says America's newest craze. For the longest time I assumed it was talking about the sport of baseball (I donít know why since baseball was decades old when Comiskey opened) Recently I saw the photo on a larger than normal print and realized that the America's newest craze banner was talking about auto polo.

My question is what on earth was Auto polo? I've done a few internet searches and haven't been able to figure this out.


Here is an ebay link that shows the photo

http://cgi.ebay.com/Chicago-White-Sox-Comiskey-Park-1913-Classic-8x10-Photo_W0QQitemZ200398955935QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_S M_Fan_Shop?hash=item2ea8b5659f

doublem23
11-07-2009, 10:42 PM
The Library of Congress has some old photos of old auto polo matches. Doesn't tell much about the sport, other than it was apparently totally bad ass.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/tags/autopolo/

Fenway
11-07-2009, 10:43 PM
It was a little rough on the outfield grass

http://www.old-picture.com/american-history-1900-1930s/Auto-polo.htm

Lundind1
11-07-2009, 10:54 PM
My dad has told me all about this thing. He was involved in USAC racing at Soldier Field, Raceway Park, Joliet Memorial Stadium, etc. It was basically played the same way as traditional polo played with horses. The only problem with it was that it did tear up the surfaces that they played on if it wasn't asphalt. The other major problem with it was that it often times turned into a demolition derby. Obviously, it was not a craze that lasted a long time because of the problems with the game. But hey, I still know guys that will run a thirty thousand dollar late model stock car on a figure eight. Those guys are nuts. It is totally something that I wouldn't do with either of the cars that I own.

Could you imagine the reaction of Roger Bossard to a proposal of this kind for a crazy promotion? That would be golden.

DSpivack
11-08-2009, 12:25 AM
Man had they had some crazy sports fads back then.

BubblingCalderon
11-08-2009, 09:36 AM
Thanks for all the info. I couldn't even imagine what that would look like in modern automobiles, I would assume it would involve allot of missing arms.

Madvora
11-08-2009, 11:47 AM
This is an absolutely brilliant discovery! Those pictures are great.

JNS
11-08-2009, 05:45 PM
My dad has told me all about this thing. He was involved in USAC racing at Soldier Field, Raceway Park, Joliet Memorial Stadium, etc. It was basically played the same way as traditional polo played with horses. The only problem with it was that it did tear up the surfaces that they played on if it wasn't asphalt. The other major problem with it was that it often times turned into a demolition derby. Obviously, it was not a craze that lasted a long time because of the problems with the game. But hey, I still know guys that will run a thirty thousand dollar late model stock car on a figure eight. Those guys are nuts. It is totally something that I wouldn't do with either of the cars that I own.

Could you imagine the reaction of Roger Bossard to a proposal of this kind for a crazy promotion? That would be golden.

Wow - Raceway Park! Just a couple of days ago I was heading North on I-57 and went by what I thought was the location of the track - it's a junkyard now if I'm not mistaken - but it's cool that you mentioned it - I hadn't thought of it for years till the other day on 57. Racing in Soldier Field too. I had the bad luck to be at the Bears game today - coulda sold the tix for $150 each - and was talking to a friend who had never been there before. I mentioned that I thought there used to be midget car racing there - is that correct?

Daver
11-08-2009, 05:47 PM
Wow - Raceway Park! Just a couple of days ago I was heading North on I-57 and went by what I thought was the location of the track - it's a junkyard now if I'm not mistaken - but it's cool that you mentioned it - I hadn't thought of it for years till the other day on 57. Racing in Soldier Field too. I had the bad luck to be at the Bears game today - coulda sold the tix for $150 each - and was talking to a friend who had never been there before. I mentioned that I thought there used to be midget car racing there - is that correct?

Raceway Park is now a shopping center that has a grocery store among other things.

RedHeadPaleHoser
11-08-2009, 06:52 PM
The old Santa Fe Speedway is now property for $1M homes.

Jpgr91
11-08-2009, 06:58 PM
Raceway Park was awesome. The Enduros were really fun to watch.

tebman
11-08-2009, 08:39 PM
U.S. 30 Dragstrip is slowly going back to nature. The site is still undeveloped after all these years.

You can see it on Google Maps here (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=route+30+and+I-65,+merrillville,+in&sll=37.09024,-112.5&sspn=37.819897,100.898438&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=U.S.+30+&ll=41.474647,-87.285047&spn=0.008746,0.024633&t=h&z=16).

LongLiveFisk
11-08-2009, 09:32 PM
Man had they had some crazy sports fads back then.

I don't know, we've had some pretty crazy ones in our time too. Ever seen MXC? :tongue:

Lundind1
11-09-2009, 08:09 AM
Wow - Raceway Park! Just a couple of days ago I was heading North on I-57 and went by what I thought was the location of the track - it's a junkyard now if I'm not mistaken - but it's cool that you mentioned it - I hadn't thought of it for years till the other day on 57. Racing in Soldier Field too. I had the bad luck to be at the Bears game today - coulda sold the tix for $150 each - and was talking to a friend who had never been there before. I mentioned that I thought there used to be midget car racing there - is that correct?

Soldier Field used to be a really large bowl. The pit area used to go at the north end of the stadium which was still visible right before the renovations. It was where they would park support vehicles and visiting team transportation for Bears games in the north end. The area was visible with old broken down wooden bleachers until the day they tore it all out for the renovations. Dad was talking about it again over the weekend and said that they would host midget car racing on saturday nights or sunday afternoons as part of Bill Schades gate O racing show. The USAC stockcars would run there just as many nights during the summer.
He said that the auto polo meets at Sox Park were just a few times. It was incredibly hazardous to the grounds, spectators, and participants alike. They would run those things all over the country but he said that Sox Park was not a great place to have it. It ran at O'Hare stadium a few more times and then went away.

soxinem1
11-09-2009, 11:01 AM
Wow - Raceway Park! Just a couple of days ago I was heading North on I-57 and went by what I thought was the location of the track - it's a junkyard now if I'm not mistaken - but it's cool that you mentioned it - I hadn't thought of it for years till the other day on 57.

It is now a strip mall called Raceway Plaza.

The junk yards are a little further south, and have been there for many a decade.

In the 70's I used to be there all the time, as my best friend lived right down the street, and my Dad raced cars there and US-30.

We used to get pumped up for the races by going to Kart-Way go cart track on the west side of Ashland just south on Vermont Street, right across from Raceway.

Even cooler was the fact that $5 got us into both venues!!:cool::cool:

05whitesox
11-09-2009, 08:20 PM
I have this picture framed and hanging up in my basement and I honestly never noticed the "America's New Craze : Auto Polo." Thats really cool and hilarious that they even attempted such a sport as that. Does anybody know of anyother failed sports from the early 20th century????

35th&Shields
11-09-2009, 08:22 PM
I have that photo in my guest bathroom. The color scheme is black and white, it matches perfectly.

TornLabrum
11-09-2009, 08:22 PM
I have this picture framed and hanging up in my basement and I honestly never noticed the "America's New Craze : Auto Polo." Thats really cool and hilarious that they even attempted such a sport as that. Does anybody know of anyother failed sports from the early 20th century????

Six-day bicycle races.

DSpivack
11-09-2009, 08:53 PM
I have this picture framed and hanging up in my basement and I honestly never noticed the "America's New Craze : Auto Polo." Thats really cool and hilarious that they even attempted such a sport as that. Does anybody know of anyother failed sports from the early 20th century????

Tug-of-war was an Olympic sport back then.

Lundind1
11-09-2009, 09:43 PM
No pun intended but balloon racing failed to take off.:redneck

JNS
11-11-2009, 08:22 AM
Thanks to everyone for the correction about the location of the old Raceway Park. I'll take a closer look next time I'm out that direction.

And thanks to Lundlin1 for the description of the track at Soldier Field. I remember the North end, beyond the temporary bleachers. Did they actually run races there post 1971 when the Bears moved over from Wrigley?

I have some vague memory of them flooding the place for some event as well, but I may be thinking of the Roman Colosseum!

Just to make the post vaguely relevant, when I was at the Bears Cardinals game the other day - yuck - I talked to a couple of Cardinals fans from Chicago, who date back to the days when they played at Comiskey. There are still a couple of them left.

35th&Shields
11-11-2009, 09:52 AM
Thanks to everyone for the correction about the location of the old Raceway Park. I'll take a closer look next time I'm out that direction.

And thanks to Lundlin1 for the description of the track at Soldier Field. I remember the North end, beyond the temporary bleachers. Did they actually run races there post 1971 when the Bears moved over from Wrigley?

I have some vague memory of them flooding the place for some event as well, but I may be thinking of the Roman Colosseum!

Just to make the post vaguely relevant, when I was at the Bears Cardinals game the other day - yuck - I talked to a couple of Cardinals fans from Chicago, who date back to the days when they played at Comiskey. There are still a couple of them left.

Many of the Bidwells still live in Chicago.

Lundind1
11-11-2009, 04:11 PM
And thanks to Lundlin1 for the description of the track at Soldier Field. I remember the North end, beyond the temporary bleachers. Did they actually run races there post 1971 when the Bears moved over from Wrigley?


They didn't run there after the late 1960's. The Bears and the Park District actually put in temporary stands in the north end once the NFL came to Soldier Field. My dad was a bears season ticket holder dating back to Wrigley all the way till the last year when Soldier Field was renovated in the North endzone. The first renovation still kept the most northern portion of the wall and the old stands intact until the spaceship landed on top of the place early this decade. The only thing that stands back there now is the outer wall and the huge parking garage for the games and other events.

He did say that he saw some auto polo at Comiskey but it was a mess and didn't last long. I just couldn't imagine a sight like that on a baseball field.

JNS
11-11-2009, 10:48 PM
They didn't run there after the late 1960's. The Bears and the Park District actually put in temporary stands in the north end once the NFL came to Soldier Field. My dad was a bears season ticket holder dating back to Wrigley all the way till the last year when Soldier Field was renovated in the North endzone. The first renovation still kept the most northern portion of the wall and the old stands intact until the spaceship landed on top of the place early this decade. The only thing that stands back there now is the outer wall and the huge parking garage for the games and other events.

He did say that he saw some auto polo at Comiskey but it was a mess and didn't last long. I just couldn't imagine a sight like that on a baseball field.

If I'm not mistaken, Halas was so cheap he used the same temporary bleachers at the North end of Soldier Field as they used for the North stands at Wrigley.

My wife's uncle has talked about various prep bowls in the 30s and 40s that would draw 102,000 with the full bowl in use. He said his most, uh piquant memory was that there weren't enough bathrooms, much less troughs, and so everyone just peed against the upper wall at the top of the stands and the whole place smelled really awful. I was at lots of Bears games in the old dump - it smelled like piss then too.

Lundind1
11-12-2009, 01:03 PM
If I'm not mistaken, Halas was so cheap he used the same temporary bleachers at the North end of Soldier Field as they used for the North stands at Wrigley.

My wife's uncle has talked about various prep bowls in the 30s and 40s that would draw 102,000 with the full bowl in use. He said his most, uh piquant memory was that there weren't enough bathrooms, much less troughs, and so everyone just peed against the upper wall at the top of the stands and the whole place smelled really awful. I was at lots of Bears games in the old dump - it smelled like piss then too.

That wouldn't surprise me one bit. I can remember more that a few late november or december games when there was no water because everything was frozen solid.

At least the Sox have adequate heat in the bathrooms for the early season games, most of the time.

DrCrawdad
11-13-2009, 12:20 AM
Wow - Raceway Park! Just a couple of days ago I was heading North on I-57 and went by what I thought was the location of the track - it's a junkyard now if I'm not mistaken - but it's cool that you mentioned it - I hadn't thought of it for years till the other day on 57. Racing in Soldier Field too. I had the bad luck to be at the Bears game today - coulda sold the tix for $150 each - and was talking to a friend who had never been there before. I mentioned that I thought there used to be midget car racing there - is that correct?

I vaguely remember going to Raceway Park, once. I do though distinctly remember hearing the roar of the car engines from the track.