A beautiful cabinet card photograph showing a baseball game in progress at Yale Field is currently being offered as lot#20 in Brockelman & Luckey’s March auction.
According to the lot description,
“This photo has one of the most attractive old grandstands we have ever seen”
In 1882 after interest in their college athletics increased, Yale purchased what was then an apple orchard and farm to build a new sports venue and move away from the old Hamilton Park that had served as their home field.
In 1884 when construction of Yale Field was completed, William Henry Crocker presented and donated -what was considered back then- the finest college grandstand in the country.
The grandstand and pavilion was entirely destroyed after a fire on May 9, 1898.
William Henry Crocker was born in Sacramento in 1861. The son of railroad and banking magnate Charles F. Crocker, graduated from Yale in 1882.
By 1883 William H. was already in the banking business in California and according to local press, he had established himself as the young merchant prince of San Francisco, the city he helped rebuild after the 1906 earthquake, when personally arranging for loans amounting to millions of dollars.
It’s worth noting that in 1888 William Henry and brothers inherited a fortune of over $40 million when their father passed away.
That old Yale Field Grandstand must have been one the first philanthropic endeavors of William Henry Crocker.