Dubuque’s Big League Impact on Baseball and American Politics
The Good Morning Rodeo typically kicks into high gear with seasoned meteorologist Karl Klopotic providing the forecast at 6:30 am. Following the weather update we get Karl's pick of the National Day of the Week.
Today, Karl and I chose National Walk to a Park Day mainly because the fantastic fall weather is a great excuse to get out and enjoy a pleasant day in a park.
That took me down the proverbial rabbit hole in search of today's Rodeo Really Tough Trivia question.
It's always a fun part of the adventure to take the day and see where it will lead. As it was today, digging deep into Dubuque's local parks, you soon discover a dynamic history that touches on American culture, including sports and politics of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Did you know the City of Dubuque maintains over 1,200 acres of parkland? The city has over 300 facilities, including an outdoor ice rink at Allison-Henderson Park. Additionally, there are disc golf courses, skate parks, and two municipal pools, such as those at Flora Park.
It's pretty impressive that the city currently operates 39 parks, six trails, two swimming pools, a golf course, an arboretum, a campground, and three other properties. And compared to many other cities of similar size, Dubuque can take great pride in its parks for their quantity and quality.
Like many cities, Dubuque's parks are named after people to pay tribute to significant contributions or accomplishments.
Allison-Henderson Park is named after two prominent U.S. politicians who called Dubuque home and rose to become two of America's political powerhouses in the late 19th century.
William Boyd Allison was a key Republican rising to the U.S. Senate Majority Leader position. Allison served as a U. S. senator from Iowa for six terms (1873-1908) and as the Senate majority leader in 1897 and 1904 until his death.
Allison was twice a close contender for the presidency in 1888 and 1896. The Republican presidential nomination In 1888 had a slate of eighteen candidates for its nomination, and it took eight ballots to decide. Allison peaked on the sixth ballot with 99 votes but then tapered off with 73-76 and 0; the winner was Benjamin Harrison, who went on to win the election.
On November 12, 1895, Allison was accompanied on a campaign trip to Chicago by Dubuque Congressman David B. Henderson. They tried to convince General McAlpin of New York and the newly elected National League of Republican Clubs president to run as Allison's vice president. The nomination eventually went to William McKinley, who won the election against William Jennings Bryan.
Held in high esteem by others in governmental service, Allison was offered cabinet positions by presidents Garfield, Harrison, and McKinley. In 1892 he was appointed chairman of the International Monetary Conference in Brussels, Belgium.
Also, Civil War veteran David B. Henderson served several terms in Congress and became a powerful Speaker of the House. He was the first member of Congress west of the Mississippi to serve as Speaker.
Then there is the Dubuque park, named after a Hall of Fame Pro-Baseball player, manager, and owner, Charles Comiskey.
Comiskey worked the Illinois Central Railroad as a teenager and played pickup baseball games in the sandlots of Dubuque. From there, he began his illustrious baseball career in 1879 when he joined the Dubuque Rabbits for fifty dollars a month during the summer.
Comiskey spent several years successfully playing and managing professionally in the big leagues and would eventually be named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1901, Comiskey became one of the founders of the American League, where he was the only player-owner in baseball history. He built the original and legendary Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox, where his team won the 1917 World Series.
However, In 1919, Comiskey's Chicago White Sox players allegedly threw the World Series, which became known as the Chicago Black Sox. It remains one of professional baseball's most notorious scandals.
Interestingly, that team included Shoeless Joe Jackson, the player made even more famous by the film Field of Dreams, shot mainly in Dubuque and Dyersville.
Another local connection, Comiskey won the 1917 World Series with Hall of Famer & Iowa-born pitcher Red Faber. He was born in Cascade and also began his baseball career in Dubuque.
Comiskey Park in Dubuque was dedicated to this outstanding sports figure on June 20, 1929. Charles Comiskey was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
Comiskey Park is located at 255 E. 24th St. and currently offers the following recreational opportunities:
- Playground equipment
- Skate park
- Tennis court
- Two outdoor basketball courts
- Softball/baseball field
- Open field for sports and recreation
You never know where the rabbit hole will lead. but now we know a little more about the history of Dubuque and the prominent people who once called it home.
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