U.S. Cellular Field (aka Comiskey)

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I don’t care how many catchy nicknames the stadium gets, it will always be Comiskey Park to me. Although I have to admit that “The Cell” does sound a little tougher…until you realize it’s named after a cell phone carrier, not a tough, inner city jail.

U.S. Cellular Field, home to Ozzie Guillen and the Chicago White Sox, opened in 1991 directly across the street from Comiskey Park (35th Street and Shields Avenue on the south side of Chicago) at a cost of $167 million. Originally known as “New Comiskey,” it was renamed in 2003 when U.S. Cellular bought the naming rights for almost $70 million, and quickly became known as “The Cell.”

Upon completion, the park seated about 45,000, but was immediately criticized for it’s cold, stark, overly modern feel -– specifically the incredibly steep rise of the high upper deck. Since then, the stadium has undergone a series of renovations to make it more appealing and to give it a more retro feel, including the construction of a multi-tiered concourse in center field, an adjustment to the fences in order to make the outfield less symmetrical and the removal of over 6,000 seats from the upper deck.

The Old Comiskey Park was home to the White Sox from 1910-1990, and before its demolition, it was the oldest ballpark in use. It played host to four World Series, including one Chicago Cubs World Series (vs. the Boston Red Sox in 1918), due to insufficient seating at Wrigley Field. Comiskey Park was also home to the infamous “Black Sox” scandal of the 1919 World Series, in which members of the White Sox plotted to throw multiple games, essentially giving the World Series title to the Cincinnati Reds. The gambling scheme would later be exposed, and eight players were banned from baseball for life.

Today, all that remains of Old Comiskey is a marble plaque on the sidewalk at the spot of the old home plate next to the towering U.S. Cellular Field. But regardless, the home of White Sox will still always be known as Comiskey to many.

About Christy Berkery

Christy is a regular UPchicago.com contributor.

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