Urban Parks: James P. Small Park

April 1, 2009 17 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Located at 1701 Myrtle Avenue, the 4.82 acre James P. Small Park is a direct link between today's community and the Negro baseball leagues of the early 20th century.

History of J.P. Small Memorial Park 

Originally known as Barrs Field, Durkee Field was bought by the city for $348,000 in 1932. The baseball stadium was built in 1936-1937. Durkee Field was home to the Negro League and minor league baseball teams. Henry Aaron, Leroy “Satchel” Paige, Roy Campanella, James “Cool Papa” Bell and William “Judy” Johnson passed through on their way to baseball’s “Hall of Fame”. The name of the park changed from Durkee Field to J. P. Small Memorial Park Stadium in July 1980. James P. Small coached and taught at Stanton High School for 33 years, then coached at Raines High School for one year before retiring. He died in 1975. In 1982, the stadium was slated for demolition; however, a case was made for its renovation. The project was completed in 1985. Renovations included structural repairs, a new roof, press box and dugouts, paving the parking lot, a new playscape and lighted fields. Further renovation in 2006 included a small museum.


Did you know?

New York Giants
New York Yankees
Cincinnati Reds
Brooklyn Dodgers
Philadelphia Athletics
Birmingham Black Barons
Kansas City Monarchs
Indianapolis Clowns
Hank Aaron
Babe Ruth
Satchel Paige
Ty Cobb

all played on this field...

Photos by Ennis Davis