Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Coast League’

Rainbow Stadium/Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

April 28th, 2015

Les Murakami Stadium is located on the campus of the University of Hawaii, Manoa, at 1337 Lower Campus Road in Honolulu. Constructed in 1984 for use by the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors baseball team, the ballpark originally was known as Rainbow Stadium.

Les Murakami Stadium, University of Hawaii

Les Murakami Stadium, University of Hawaii

In 2002, Rainbow Stadium was renamed Les Murakami Stadium, in honor of the former University of Hawaii, Manoa, Head Coach Leslie S. Murakami. Murakami was the first baseball coach at UH Manoa, beginning in 1971 through 2000. Murakami also played for the University of Hawaii from 1955 to 1958.

Plaque

Plaque Honoring Rededication of Rainbow Stadium as Les Murakami Stadium

Although primarily a college stadium, Les Murakami Stadium has a connection to professional baseball, and thus it’s inclusion on this website.

Student Section Sign, Exterior of Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Student Section Sign, Exterior of Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

In 1986 and 1987, the Pacific League Hawaii Islanders played some of their home games at Rainbow Stadium.

30th Anniversary of Les Murakami Stadium, 1984 to 2014

30th Anniversary of Les Murakami Stadium, 1984 to 2014

The Hawaii Islanders played at Honolulu Stadium from 1961 to 1975. From 1976 to 1985, the Islanders played their home games at Aloha Stadium. The final two season the Islanders played their home games at both Aloha Stadium and Rainbow Stadium.

Exterior of Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Exterior of Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

The entrance to the stadium is at field level, behind the home plate grandstand. The grandstand seating area is accessed on the second level (and above) of the stadium.

Clubhouse Entrance, Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Clubhouse Entrance, Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Concourse, Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Concourse, Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Les Murakami Stadium is just two miles northeast of Waikiki Beach on the southern end of the University of Hawaii.

Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve provides a striking backdrop beyond the left field foul line.

Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

The vast majority of the over 4,000 seats are covered by a double deck grandstand that stretches from first base to third base.

View of First Base Grandstand, Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

View of First Base Grandstand, Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

View of Third Base Grandstand, Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

View of Third Base Grandstand, Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Although Les Murakami Stadium’s history in the annals of minor league baseball may be barely a footnote, it is a ballpark where the professional game once was played.

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Long Beach State Dirtbag Player at Les Muralami Stadium

Moreover, Les Murakami Stadium is the only remaining venue where professional baseball could be played in Honolulu. Although the Aloha Bowl still stands (Honolulu Stadium was demolished in 1976), because of changes made to the stadium seating in 2007, the Aloha Bowl no longer can be configured for baseball.

Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Bush Stadium Apartments – There’s No Place Like Home

April 17th, 2015

Bush Stadium was located at 1510 Stadium Way, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Constructed in 1931, the ballpark originally was known as Perry Stadium, named after the family responsible for its construction.

Entrance to Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Entrance to Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

In 1942, the ballpark was renamed Victory Field in recognition of the country’s entrance into World War II. In 1967 the City of Indianapolis purchased the ballpark and renamed it Owen J. Bush Stadium, in honor of Donnie Bush, a part owner and President of the Indianapolis Indians, as well as a former major league player and Indianapolis native.

"Entrance to Victory Field, Indianapolis, Indiana" Postcard (Craft Greeting Card Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, Publishers)

“Entrance to Victory Field, Indianapolis, Indiana” Postcard (Craft Greeting Card Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, Publishers)

The ballpark was constructed by Osborne Engineering, an architectural and engineering firm responsible for designing many major league ballparks. In 1995, because of its cultural significance and its Art Deco design, Bush Stadium was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stadium Flats, Bush Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Stadium Flats, Bush Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

The ballpark was the home of the American Association Indianapolis Indians from 1931 to 1962, and from 1969 to 1996. In 1963, the ballpark was the home of the International League Indianapolis Indians, and from 1964 to 1986 it was the home of the Pacific Coast League Indianapolis Indians.

View of Former Bush Stadium Infield and Grandstand, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

View of Former Bush Stadium Infield and Grandstand, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Bush Stadium also hosted many seasons of Negro Leagues baseball. According to Philip Lowery’s Green Cathedrals, the ballpark was the home field of the Negro National League Indianapolis ABC’s in 1931, the Negro Southern League Indianapolis ABC’s in 1932, the Negro American League (NAL) Indianapolis Athletics in 1937, the NAL in 1938 and 1939, the NAL Indianapolis Crawfords in 1940, the NAL Indianapolis Clowns in 1944 and 1946 to 1955, and the NAL Kansas City Monarchs from 1957 to 1961. In 1933 the ballpark was used as a neutral site for the Negro National League Chicago Cole’s American Giants and in 1943 the Washington-Homestead Grays and the NAL Birmingham Black Barons played game five of the Negro World Series at the stadium.

Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

In 1987, Bush Stadium was used as the backdrop for the filming of the movie Eight Men Out.

Cast of the movie Eight Men Out (Photo by  Bob Marsak, Still Photographer on Eight Men Out)

Cast of the movie Eight Men Out (Photo by Bob Marsak, Still Photographer on Eight Men Out)

Bush Stadium Postcard (designed and published by Vic Pallos)

Bush Stadium Postcard (designed and published by Vic Pallos)

In July 1996, the Indians moved two miles southeast to Victory Field, located in White River State Park near downtown Indianapolis.

Victory Field , Indianapolis, Indiana, Home of the Indianapolis Indians

Victory Field , Indianapolis, Indiana, Home of the Indianapolis Indians

Like Bush Stadium in it’s day, Victory Field is considered one of the finest minor league ballparks in the country.

Victory Field , Indianapolis, Indiana, Home of the Indianapolis Indians

Victory Field , Indianapolis, Indiana, Home of the Indianapolis Indians

Like so many abandoned ballparks before it, once Bush Stadium’s major tenant departed, the future did not look bright. For a time Bush Stadium was transformed into a midget car dirt track raceway and later a parking lot for the United States Government’s Cash for Clunkers program.

Fiew of Former Grandstand, Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

View of Former Grandstand, Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Luckily for fans of the game, the City of Indianapolis, and some concerned citizens, spearheaded an effort to save the ballpark from demolition through re-purposing.

Signs Located at Former Bush Stadium, Advertising Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Signs Located at Former Bush Stadium, Advertising Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

In 2011, the City embarked upon a project to turn the former ballpark into an apartment complex, based upon an idea originally proposed by Indiana Landmarks Chairperson John Watson, who ultimately brought the project to fruition.

Sign at Former  Bush Stadium, Advertising Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Sign at Former Bush Stadium, Advertising Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

In 2013, Stadium Lofts opened, followed by Stadium Flats, constructed by Core Redevelopment.

The Next Phase - Sign Showing Planned Development of Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

The Next Phase – Sign Showing Planned Development of Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Portions of the stadium’s exterior brick and limestone wall, and the grandstand wood roof, have been preserved, along with light stanchions and a portion of the outfield wall.

Exterior of Center Field Wall at Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Exterior of Center Field Wall at Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Exterior of Outfield Wall, Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Exterior of Outfield Wall, Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Light Stanchions, Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Light Stanchions, Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

In the former center field corner is slated to be constructed a building with office, medical, and commercial space.

Interior of Outfield Wall at Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Interior of Outfield Wall, Right Field Corner, at Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Bush Stadium Postcard

Bush Stadium Postcard (American GeoGraphics, Bloomington, Indiana)

Also preserved is the original infield area and a portion of the outfield. The base paths are delineated with a red stamped-concrete walkway.

View of Former Grandstand, from Left Field Corner, Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

View of Former Grandstand, from Left Field Corner, Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Although Bush Stadium,as it once was may now be a lost ballpark, a distinct portion of it lives on.

Scoreboard at Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Scoreboard at Former Bush Stadium, Now Stadium Flats, Indianapolis, Indiana

Kudos to the City of Indianapolis for not simply bulldozing the historic ballpark and instead coming up with a use that celebrates the stadium’s history and preserves a significant portion of the ballpark fans of the game to enjoy – or to live in (apartments range in cost from between $600 and $1,300 a month).

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Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium

March 17th, 2015

Aloha Stadium is located  at 99-500 Salt Lake Boulevard in Halawa, Hawaii (a suburb of Honolulu), just north of the Honolulu International Airport and northeast of Pearl Harbor.

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha Stadium opened in 1976 as a multi-purpose stadium, replacing Honolulu Stadium as the island’s main outdoor sports arena. Honolulu Stadium was located 10 miles southeast of Aloha Stadium and was demolished in 1976. Then Governor John Burns spearheaded the drive to construct Aloha Stadium and replace outdated Honolulu Stadium.

Bust and Plaque in Honor of Hawaii John A. Burns , Governor of Hawaii from 1962- to 1974, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Bust and Plaque in Honor of Hawaii John A. Burns , Governor of Hawaii from 1962- to 1974, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha Stadium was designed so that the seating area could be moved to accommodate various configurations.Four 7,000 seat grandstand sections moved with the use of pressurized air to create a diamond configuration for baseball.

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, Postcard (Tour 1545, photo by Gustavo Ramirez)

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, Postcard (Tour 1545, photo by Gustavo Ramirez)

Because of problems with the system that moves the grandstand seating, in 2006, Aloha Stadium’s seating was permanently locked in a rectangular configuration for football.

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii, with Grandstand Seating Aligned for Football

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii, with Grandstand Seating Aligned for Football

The Stadium Authority added sky walks between the four different grandstand sections.

Sky Walks Link The Grandstand Sections at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Sky Walks Link The Grandstand Sections at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

When Aloha Stadium opened in 1976, it was home to the Pacific Coast League Hawaii Islanders.

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

During the Islanders’ stay at Aloha Stadium, the team was affiliated with the San Diego Padres from 1976 to 1982, the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1983 to 1986, and the Chicago White Sox in 1987.

Gate %, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Gate 5, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

In 1986 and 1987, the Islanders also played some of their home games at Rainbow Stadium (currently Les Murakami Stadium), the home of the University of Hawaii baseball team.

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

After the 1987 season, the Islanders franchise was relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Professional baseball has made brief returns to Aloha Stadium, first with the arrival of the Major League Baseball affiliated minor league Hawaii Winter Baseball League, which played at Aloha Stadium from 1993 to 1997. On April 19 and 20, 1997, the San Diego Padres hosted the St. Louis Cardinals for a three game regular season series at Aloha Stadium, thus making the stadium a Major League ballpark, if only for three games. The Padres also played additional exhibition games at Aloha Stadium up until 2001.

Ticket Windows, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Ticket Windows, Main Gate, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

With the grandstand seating now permanently locked in a football configuration, it is highly unlikely professional baseball ever will return to Aloha Stadium.

Shade Trees Line the Perimeter of Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Shade Trees and Other Native Vegetation Line the Perimeter of Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Home plate was located in the center of what is now the stadium’s southern most end zone.

Looking Toward End Zone Located at the Southern End (and Former Location of Home Plate) Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Looking Toward End Zone Located at the Southern End (and Former Location of Home Plate) Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha current tenants include the University of Hawaii Warriors football team, who have played at the stadium since its opening in 1975. It also hosts annually the NCAA Hawaii Bowl and the National Football League Pro Bowl.

Section U (Near the Northern Most End Zone), Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Section U (Near the Northern Most End Zone), Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

The parking lot that surrounds Aloha Stadium hosts a giant Swap Meet every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Ironically, none of the vendors at the swap meet had any baseball or Aloha Stadium related merchandise on the day I visited.

Swap Meet, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Swap Meet, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

With talk underway to upgrade the Aloha Stadium, the venue is not currently in any danger of becoming yet another lost ballpark. However, it’s days of hosting baseball games are behind it.

Entrance Gate From Second Level Concourse, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Entrance Gate From Second Level Concourse, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Still, if you are in the habit of collecting ballparks – or former professional baseball parks – Aloha Stadium should be added to your list as a former Major League Park (if only for three days). It is a short drive from Pearl Harbor, if you are in the area, and if you are there on a Wednesday, Saturday, or Sunday, you can walk around the perimeter of the stadium through the rows of vendors at the swap meet.

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Honolulu Stadium – Hawaii’s Sheltered Harbor Of Professional Baseball

March 17th, 2015

Honolulu Stadium was located at the southwest corner of King Street and Isenberg Street in Honolulu, Hawaii. The ballpark was constructed in 1925 by local businessman J. Ashman Beaven, who served as general manager of the stadium from 1925 until 1939.

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Intersection of

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Intersection of King Street and Isenberg Street

Honolulu Stadium was caddy-corner to Moiliili Field, which was located at the northeast corner of King and Isenberg Streets. Moliili Field was one of the primary locations for amateur and semi-pro baseball in Honolulu prior to the construction of Honolulu Stadium.

Moiliili Field, Southwest Corner of King and Isenberg Streets, Honolulu, Hawaii

Moiliili Field, Northeast Corner of King and Isenberg Streets, Honolulu, Hawaii

In 1925, Beaven formed the Hawaii Baseball League, and a new semi-pro baseball league, and in 1927 the league began playing games at Honolulu Stadium.

Honolulu Stadium Aerial Photograph, Honolulu, Hawaii (1963 Star-Bulletin Photo By Warren Roll)

Honolulu Stadium Aerial Photograph, Honolulu, Hawaii (1963 Star-Bulletin Photo By Warren Roll)

In addition to amateur and semi-pro baseball, Honolulu Stadium quickly became the main venue in Honolulu for outdoor sport activities such as football and boxing. In the 1930s, Beaven brought baseball teams from other countries such as Japan and Korea to play at Honolulu Stadium. In 1933, Babe Ruth played an exhibition game at the stadium. Honolulu Stadium also hosted college football’s Poi Bowl from 1936 to 1939 and and Pineapple Bowl from 19389 to 1941 and 1947 to 1952. In 1957, Elvis Presley brought the precursor to his Aloha From Hawaii Concert to Honolulu Stadium.

Babe Ruth at Honolulu Stadium with Promoter Herb Hunter and Hawaii Territorial Governor Lawrence Judd in 1933 (Photo by Fritz Kraft)

Babe Ruth at Honolulu Stadium with Promoter Herb Hunter and Hawaii Territorial Governor Lawrence Judd in 1933 (Photo by Fritz Kraft)

During World War II, many major league stars played at the ballpark as part of their military teams, and in 1944, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants played an exhibition game at the stadium. Major League teams and stars continued to play exhibition games at Honolulu Stadium after World War II, including the New York Giants in 1953, the Eddie Lopat All-Stars in 1954, the New York Yankees in 1955, and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956. In addition to Babe Ruth, other future Hall of Famers who appeared at Honolulu Stadium include Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Pee Wee Reese, Eddie Mathews, Roy Campanella, Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Jackie Robinson.

Plaque Honoring Honolulu Stadium, Intersection of King and Isenberg Streets, Honolulu, Hawaii

Plaque Honoring Honolulu Stadium, Intersection of King and Isenberg Streets, Honolulu, Hawaii

In 1961, Honolulu Stadium became the home field of the Pacific Coast League Hawaii Islanders. Over the course of their history in Hawaii, the Islanders were affiliated with the Kansas City Athletics in 1961, the Los Angeles Angels from 1962 to 1964, the Washington Senators from 1965 to 1967, the Chicago White Sox in 1968, the California Angels from 1969 to 1970, the San Diego Padres from 1971 to 1982.The Islanders departed Honolulu Stadium after the 1975 season.

Detail of Plaque Honoring Honolulu Stadium, Intersection of King and Isenberg Streets, Honolulu, Hawaii

Detail of Plaque Honoring Honolulu Stadium, Intersection of King and Isenberg Streets, Honolulu, Hawaii

The ballpark was demolished in 1976. A plaque at the former site states: “Old Stadium Park. A lasting memorial to the many great athletes who have played here. This park was the site of the Honolulu Stadium (1926 – 1976), affectionately known as “The Termite Palace” in its later years. The 26,000 seat stadium was often filled to capacity for activities that included: barefoot football, pro and semi-pro baseball, high school athletic events, stock car races, UH football, polo, carnivals, boxing, Boy Scout Makahiki, aquacades, concerts, and track and field meets.”

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Looking from Left Field Corner Toward Home Plate, Parallel King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Looking from Left Field Corner Toward Home Plate, Paralleling King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii

The plaque honoring Honolulu Stadium is located near what was once the ballpark’s left field corner, as well as its main box office, at the intersection of King and Isenberg Streets. Center field was once located along Isenberg Street, south of Citron Street.

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Looking from Center Corner Toward Left Field Corner, Parallelling Isenberg Street, Honolulu, Hawaii

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Looking from Center Corner Toward Left Field Corner, Paralleling Isenberg Street, Honolulu, Hawaii

The main grandstand and home plate were located on King Street, just west of Makahiki Way.

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Looking from Home Plate Toward Left Field Corner, Parallelling King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Looking from Home Plate Toward Left Field Corner, Paralleling King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii

A row of buildings paralleling Makahiki Way sat between the street and the ballpark. Many of those buildings remain at the site today.

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Back of Buildings Located Along Makahiki Way, Next to Former First Base and Right Field Foul Line, Honolulu, Hawaii

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Back of Buildings Located Along Makahiki Way, Next to Former First Base and Right Field Foul Line, Honolulu, Hawaii

An outer wall on the stadium property that separated those buildings from the stadium grounds also remains at the site.

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Outer Stadium Wall Behind What would Have Been FIrst Base Grandstand, Still Standing on Site

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Outer Stadium Wall Behind What would Have Been First Base Grandstand, Still Standing on Site

Old Stadium Park is 14 acres of parkland and mature shade trees located in urban Honolulu.

Former Location of Honolulu Stadium Infield Looking Toward Home Plate

Former Location of Honolulu Stadium Infield Looking Toward Home Plate

A playground in the park is located in what was once left field.

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Playground Located in What Was Once Left Field, Honolulu, Hawaii

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Playground Located in What Was Once Left Field, Honolulu, Hawaii

A concrete patio and picnic area is located in what was once center field.

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Picnic Area  Located in What Was Once Center Field, Honolulu, Hawaii

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Picnic Area Located in What Was Once Center Field, Honolulu, Hawaii

A covered picnic area is located in what was once right field.

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Covered Picnic Area, Located in What Was Once Right Field, Honolulu, Hawaii

Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Covered Picnic Area, Located in What Was Once Right Field, Honolulu, Hawaii

There are many buildings that surround the ballpark site that date back to the time of Honolulu Stadium, including the distinctive Bowl-O-Drome which opened in the 1950s and currently sits vacant.

Bowl-O-Drome, Located Just Beyond What Was Once Center Field, Honolulu Stadium, Hawaii

Bowl-O-Drome, Located Just Beyond What Was Once Center Field, Honolulu Stadium, Hawaii

Many of the buildings along King Street also date back to the time of Honolulu Stadium.

Builidngs Located on King Street Across From Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Hawaii

Builidngs Located on King Street Across From Former Site of Honolulu Stadium, Hawaii

In 1976 the Pacific Coast Hawaii Islanders moved to brand new Aloha Stadium, where they played up through the 1987. The Islanders also played some of their home games in 1986 and 1987 at the University of Hawaii’s Les Murakami Stadium. The 1987 season was the last year of professional baseball in Hawaii.

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii, Home of the Hawaii Islanders from 1976 to 1987

It seems a shame that professional baseball no longer is played in Hawaii, given the year round picture perfect weather offered there. If you find yourself on vacation, and in need of a baseball fix, you can take a trip to Old Stadium Park and the former site of Honolulu Stadium. If the timing is right, you might also be able to catch a college game at the University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Stadium (currently Les Murakami Stadium). For more information about Honolulu Stadium, see Arthur Suehiro’s extremely informative book Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii Played which provided much of the historical information contained herein.

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San Diego’s Lane Field – The Ballpark By The Bay

March 10th, 2015

Lane Field was located near the northern end of the San Diego Bay, in San Diego, California, at the northeast corner of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway California just across from the West Broadway Pier.

Entrance to Lane Field, Northeast Corner of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway, San Diego, California (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

San Diego Harbor Office Building and Athletic Field at Northeast Corner of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway, San Diego, California, Soon to Become Lane Field (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

The ballpark was constructed on land originally used by the City of San Diego and United States Navy as an athletic field beginning in the mid 1920s. In addition to the athletic field, the venue included a race track and uncovered bleachers.

City of San Diego, Harbor Department, Blue Prints Showing Original and Proposed Ball Park, Lane Field, San Diego, Califorina (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

City of San Diego, Harbor Department, Blue Prints Showing Original and Proposed Ball Park, Lane Field, San Diego, Califorina (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

In 1936, Bill Lane, the owner of the Hollywood Stars, moved his Pacific Coast League franchise to San Diego and renamed them the Padres.

Key to Blueprints Showing Original and Proposed Improved Ball Park (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

Key to Blueprints Showing Original and Proposed Improved Ball Park (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

That same year, in the course of just a few months, the Works Project Administration reconfigured the athletic field at North Harbor Drive and West  Broadway into a baseball park.

Detail of City of San Diego, Harbor Department, Blue Prints Showing Original and Proposed Ball Park, Lane Field, San Diego, Califorina (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

Detail of City of San Diego, Harbor Department, Blue Prints Showing Original and Proposed Ball Park, Lane Field, San Diego, Califorina (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

The ballpark was named Lane Field in honor of the Padres’ owner and hosted minor league baseball at that site for the next two decades.

Entrance to Lane Field at Northwest Corner of West Broadway and Pacific Highway (UT Photo  -utsandiego.com/news/2012/mar/07/lane-field-park-honor-padres-minor-league-history)

Entrance to Lane Field at Northwest Corner of West Broadway and Pacific Highway (UT Photo – utsandiego.com)

Ted Williams, who grew up in the North Park section of San Diego, played for the Padres during their first season in San Diego.

Ted Williams as a San Diego Padre, Lane Field, San Diego, California (Ted Williams Collection, My Turn At Bat)

Ted Williams as a San Diego Padre, Lane Field, San Diego, California (Ted Williams Collection, My Turn At Bat)

The Padres departed Lane Field after the 1957 season and by the 1960s the ballpark had been raised and turned into a parking lot for people departing from cruise ships in San Diego Bay.

Former Site of Lane Field, Intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway, San Diego, California

Former Site of Lane Field, Intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway, San Diego, California, Circa 2006

Former Site of Lane Field Looking Toward Left Field Corner from Home Plate, San Diego, California

Former Site of Lane Field Looking Toward Left Field Corner from Home Plate, San Diego, California, Circa 2006

Former Site of Lane Field Looking Toward Home Plate from Right Field Corner, San Diego, California

Former Site of Lane Field Looking Toward Home Plate from Left Field Corner, San Diego, California, Circa 2006

The United States Navy building at 937 North Harbor Drive, located just across the street from the the former site of home plate, parallel to first base foul line, dates back to the time of Lane Field and can be seen in many of the aerial photographs of the ballpark.

United States Navy Building (in Background) at 937 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, California

United States Navy Building (in Background) at 937 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, California, Circa 2006

Since the mid 2000s, the Unified Port of San Diego has planned to redevelop the former site of Lane Field.

Sign Announcing Development of Lane Field Site, San Diego, California, Circa 2006

Sign Announcing Development of Lane Field Site, San Diego, California, Circa 2006

Those plans finally came to fruition with construction of a new commercial development known also as “Lane Field,” located at 900 West Broadway.

Former Site of Lane FIeld, San Diego, California, Circa 2006

Former Site of Lane FIeld, San Diego, California, Circa 2006

Former Site of Lane Field, San Diego, California, 2015

Former Site of Lane Field, San Diego, California, 2015 (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

The redevelopment of the site includes a tribute to Lane Field in the form a park with the outline of a small infield, which includes important dates in Lane Field’s history set into granite.

Historical Marker at Former Site of Lane Field Home Plate and Infield, San Diego, California (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

Historical Marker at Former Site of Lane Field Home Plate and Infield, San Diego, California (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

The site also includes a historical plaque placed at the site in 2003 by the Society for American Baseball Research.

Historical Marker, Former Site of Lane Field, San Diego, California (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

Historical Marker, Former Site of Lane Field, San Diego, California (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

The former site of home plate is marked with a granite monument topped with a baseball quote by Ted Williams, stating, “There’s only one way to become a hitter. Go up to the plate and get mad. Get mad at yourself and mad at the pitcher.”

Tribute to San Diego Native Ted Williams at Former Site of Lane Field Home Plate and Infield, San Diego, California (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

Tribute to San Diego Native Ted Williams at Former Site of Lane Field Home Plate and Infield, San Diego, California (photo courtesy of Jason Papka)

Lane Field’s former site is located eight miles southwest of the National League San Diego Padres former ballpark, Qualcomm Stadium, and only a mile and a half northeast of the Padres current home, Petco Park.

Petco Park - Current Home of the San Diego Padres

Petco Park – Current Home of the San Diego Padres

Although Lane Field is now a lost ballpark, with the addition of the new park honoring Lane Field, the short drive from the Padres current home to the intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Boulevard is certainly worth the trip.

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The Nashville Sounds of Silence At Greer Stadium

August 5th, 2014

Hershel Greer Stadium, home of the Nashville Sounds, currently is located at 534 Chestnut Street, in Nashville, Tennessee, just two miles south of downtown Nashville.

Hershel Greer Stadium, Home of the Nashville Sounds

Greer Stadium was constructed by the City of Nashville in 1978 on land that was once part of Fort Negley, a Civil War fortification once occupied by Union Troops. Fort Negley holds the distinction of being largest civil war fortification created during the war, but not built near water.

View of Hershel Greer Stadium From Left Field Parking Lot

The area around Greer Stadium and Fort Negley, located just southeast of the intersection of I-40 and I-65, is largely industrial. The result being that neighborhood does not offer baseball fans much to do before or after games other than come and go.

Access to Greer Stadium from Chestnut Street Bridge Over Railroad Tracks

Stone columns at the entrance to right field are designed to mimic the stone fence surrounding what is left of Fort Negley.

Greer Stadium Entrance Gate Near Right Field

A plaque at the entrance honors the opening of Greer Stadium in 1978.

Plaque Honoring Construction of Greer Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

Plaque Honoring Construction of Greer Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

The ballpark’s overall design is markedly old-school, somewhat reminiscent of Milwaukee’s County Stadium.

Fan Relations, Exterior of Greer Stadium

Much of the ballpark exterior is painted Army grey, perhaps also a nod to the site’s former use as a Fort.

Entrance to Right Field, Greer Stadium

Greer Stadium’s covered concourse runs behind behind a portion of the first and third base stands.

Greer Stadium Concourse

The extended concourses behind the bleachers located along the first and third base foul lines near left field and right field are uncovered.

Greer Stadium Standings Scoreboard

The view from home plate looking out toward center field faces southeast. Although the area is largely industrial, the view is almost pastoral, as all that is visible is a line of trees.

Greer Stadium, View Behind Home Plate

The view looking toward right field is downright bucolic, with the hills of Radnor Lake south of Nashville visible in the distance.

Greer Stadium Looking South Towards Hills of Nearby Radnor Lake

Without question, the most distinctive and recognizable part of Greer stadium is the guitar-shaped scoreboard that sits out beyond the left field fence.

Greer Stadium’s Iconic Guitar-Shaped Scoreboard, Nashville, Tennessee

The ballpark’s seating bowl is composed mainly of plastic blue seats that ring the playing field down the first and third base fould lines.

VIew of Greer Stadium Grandstand From Right Field Line

The visiting team dugout is located along first base.

Visitors Dugout, Greer Stadium, Nashville

The Nashville Sounds have been the primary tenant of Greer Stadium throughout its existence. From 1978 through 1984 the Sounds were members of the Double A Southern League. Beginning in 1985, they began play in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. In 1993 and 1994 Greer Stadium also served as the home field for the Nashville Express of the Double-A Southern League and a Minnesota Twins affiliate.

St. Louis Cardinals Prospect Oscar Traveras, Pre-Game Warmups, Greer Stadium

When Greer Stadium opened in 1978, the Sounds were an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. In 1980, the Sounds became an affiliate of the New York Yankees, through the 1984 season. 

Greer Stadium Visiting Team Bullpen

The Sounds affiliation with MLB continued to change over the years. The Detroit Tigers (1985-1986), the Cincinnati Reds a second time (1987 – 1992), the Chicago White Sox (1993-1997), and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1998-2004) were all at one time affiliated with the Sounds.

Full Moon Rises Over Sounds Bullpen at Greer Stadium

Since 2005, the Sounds have been an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Slugger’s Sports Bar and Grill, Greer Stadium

Above the press box, atop Greer Stadium, is the Slugger’s Sports Bar and Grill, which provides a fine view of the field and a place to come in from the cold when the game time temperatures dips into the 30’s in mid April.

View of the Field from Greer Stadium from Slugger’s Sports Bar and Grill

Greer Stadium is nothing if not quirky and, unfortunately, a dying breed in the annals of minor league ballparks.

A Zig-Zag of Seats Behind Home Plate, Greer Stadium

The seating seems to have been designed and accounted for only after the dimensions of the stadium structure were put into place.

Section QQ, Greer Stadium

Additions to the ballpark over the years only added to Greer’s stadium’s funky layout.

No View Right Field Concession Stand, Greer Stadium

But the quirks of Greer Stadium are part of what makes it still a charming place to watch baseball.

The Right Field Family Leisure Party Deck, Greer Stadium

For the past several seasons, the Sounds have been lobbying for a new ballpark.

A View of the Seats, Greer Stadium, Nashville

As the debate over if, where, and when to build a new ballpark continued, the condition of Greer Stadium suffered, with little interest from the city in spending money on significant upkeep or improvements.

Sun-Bleached and Weathered Bleachers at Greer Stadium

Greer Stadium’s days are now numbered. A new home for the Nashville Sounds is being built three miles north of Greer Stadium, less than a mile north of downtown Nashville.

Signs Advertising New Nashville Sounds Ballpark

Alas, 2014 will be the last season as First Tennessee Park is scheduled on Jackson Street, between Fourth and Fifth avenues,  is scheduled to open time for the 2015 season.

Location of Future Nashville Sounds Ballpark on Jackson Street between 4th and 5th Streets

Home Plate will sit just South of Jackson Street, with the ballpark facing towards downtown Nashville.

Sign Showing Design of New Nashville Sounds Ballpark

A portion of the land where the new ballpark is under construction was once the former site of Sulphur Dell, where baseball was played in Nashville from 1870 until 1963. From 1901 to 1963, Sulphur Dell was the home of the Nashville Vols and famous Vols players such as the eccentric Boots Poffenberger.

Sign Advertising New Nashville Ballpark At Sulphur Dell

Although the city of Nashville is still considering its options for repurposing the land upon which Greer Stadium sits, one thing does seem certain – that the ballpark itself will not remain and in the near future will become just another lost ballpark. When the 2014 season ends, baseball will have been played at Greer Stadium a total of 37 years, one year less than the number seasons that the American League Baltimore Orioles called Memorial Stadium home. Hopefully the City of Nashville will find some way to commemorate the former ballpark site. Perhaps the city should leave intact the guitar-shaped scoreboard since it seems there is little interest in moving the iconic structure to First Tennessee Park. The scoreboard is a part of Nashville history and would provide an excellent marker and reminder for where professional baseball was once played in the city.

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San Diego Stadium – Qualcomm And Jack Murphy

December 5th, 2013

Qualcomm Stadium is a multipurpose ballpark located at 9449 Friars Road, seven miles north east of downtown San Diego, California. From 1969 to 2003, it was the home field of the National League San Diego Padres.

Qualcomm Stadium San Diego

For one season – in 1968 – it was the home to the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres. Previously, the minor league Padres had played their home games at Lane Field from 1936 to 1957, and Westgate Park from 1958 to 1967.

San Diego Stadium (Postcard Marine Photos & Publishing)

The American Football League San Diego Chargers (the Chargers joined the National Football League in 1970) began play at San Diego Stadium in 1967.

San Diego Stadium (Postcard Curteichcolor, Western Publ. & Nov. Co.)

The San Diego State University Aztecs likewise have played their home football games at the stadium since 1967.  Half of the lower bowl seats are movable to accommodate the stadium’s baseball configuration.

Concrete - Qualcomm's Main Ingredient

The stadium name has changed three times over the years. First named San Diego Stadium, the ballpark was renamed Jack Murphy Stadium in 1981, after the local sportswriter who in 1961 helped convince Los Angeles Chargers owner Barron Hilton to move his team two hours south to San Diego.

Qualcomm Stadium Row of Busts - Famous San Diego Sports Personalities

In 1984, Jack Murphy Stadium was renovated, adding an additional 8,000 seats and 50 luxury suites. In anticipation of the bringing Super Bowl XXXII to San Diego, the ballpark again was renovated in 1997, adding 10,500 seats and another 34 luxury suites, making the total seating capacity 71,500.

One of the Circular Entrance Ways to Qualcomm Stadium

Architecturally, Qualcomm Stadium was constructed in the Brutalist style. This fortress-like appearance was popular from the 1950’s and into the 1970’s.

Detail of Qualcomm Stadium's Brutalist Style Architecture

In 1997, the ballpark was renamed Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Field after the San Diego telecommunications company ponied up $18 million in name rights which run through 2017.

Qualcomm Stadium Scoreboard

The Padres brought two World Series to Qualcomm Stadium, in 1984 and 1998, but no world championships.

Padres Ticket Office - Qualcomm Stadium

Although Qualcomm Stadium is surrounded by a massive parking lot, the upper reaches of the stadium,  looking east, offer a nice view of Cowles Mountain and Mission Trails Park.

Qualcomm Stadium With Cowles Mountain and Mission Trails Park Visible in Background

In 2000, the City of San Diego broke ground on a new stadium for the Padres.

Qualcomm Stadium - View of Home Plate from Third Base Side

As is typical for ballparks facing extinction, the Padres posted a countdown banner in the outfield, reminding all patrons that the end was near.

Qualcomm Stadium Right Field Countdown Banner

In 2004, the Padres moved seven miles south of Qualcomm Stadium to their new home, Petco Park, who’s name was an upgrade from their Qualcomm Stadium, but not by much. There is no question, however, that the Padres current home is a vast improvement over Qualcomm Stadium, both in architecture and in amenities.

Petco Park - Current Home of the San Diego Padres

Qualcomm currently is the fifth oldest ballpark in the NFL (behind Soldier Field, Lambeau Field, Candlestick Park, and Oakland County Stadium). The Chargers owners threaten yearly to move the team to another city if San Diego refuses to build the team a new stadium. Either way, it appears only a matter of time before Qualcomm joins the ranks of lost ballparks. If you are thinking of visiting Qualcomm Stadium before it goes, be sure also to pay a visit to another historical baseball site located nearby at 4121 Utah Street, the boyhood home of Ted Williams. It located just 4 miles south of Qualcomm Stadium off the 805.

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San Francisco’s Seals Stadium and the Double Play Bar

December 31st, 2012

Seals Stadium was home to the major league San Francisco Giants for two years from 1958 to 1959. From 1931 until 1957 it was the home of the Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals and from 1931 until 1938 it was the home of the Pacific Coast League San Francisco Missions (who moved to Los Angeles and became the Hollywood Starts in 1939).

Seals Stadium (Courtesy of Flickr Photo Share – Photoscream)

The entrance to Seals Stadium (as well as the right field corner) was located at 16th and Byrant Streets in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Former Site of Entrance to Seals Stadium at the Corner of 16th and Byrant Streets

A plaque commemorating Seal Stadium is located at the corner of 16th and Bryant Streets.

Plaque Commemorating Seals Stadium Located at 16th and Byrant Streets, San Francisco CA (photo courtesy of Terrell Baldwin)

The site is now Potrero Shopping Center, named after Potrero Avenue which runs parallel to what was once left field. Potrero is Spanish for pasture, something the shopping center is not.

Potrero Center, Former Site of Seals Stadium

The shopping center’s parking garage sits in the former location of right and center field.

Former site of Seals Stadium Center Field Looking Toward the Infield

Across 16th Street from the shopping center is Franklin Soccer Field, which remains from the time of Seals Stadium.

Former Location of Center Field Wall Looking East Down 16th Street

The location of home plate is somewhere within the shopping center, perhaps in the Office Depot or the adjoining Safeway.

Former Site of Seal Stadium Left Field Looking Toward Right Field/First Base Line

Although Seals Stadium is now a long lost ballpark, thankfully a taste of baseball and the stadium remains at the site. Across the street from the former ballpark at the corner of 16th and Bryant is the Double Play Bar (the building can be seen in the  top right corner of the vintage photograph of Seal Stadium above).

Double Play Bar Located Across the Street from Former Site of Seals Stadium

The bar pays homage to the memory of Seals Stadium with displays of original signage from the stadium, as well as vintage baseball equipment.

Front Bar at the Double Play Bar

Many of the front bar walls are adorned with pictures of the ballpark, giving visitors the sensation of having just come from a game at Seals Stadium.

Sampling of the Decorations that Line the Walls of the Double Play Bar

Even the bar menu pays homage to old Seals Stadium.

Double Play Bar Menu

The back portion of the Double Play Bar includes a restaurant seating area with a mural depicting the old stadium grandstand, field, and outfield walls.

Double Play Bar’s Recreated Seals Stadium

The signage on the wall replicates Seals Stadium’s outfield wall.

Double Play Bar Outfield Wall Mural

A game between the Seals and the Oakland Oaks is captured on the mural’s recreation of Seals Stadium’s old scoreboard.

Double Play Bar Mural Depicting Seal Stadium Scoreboard

Seals Stadium was demolished in 1959, soon after the San Francisco Giants moved into their new home at Candlestick Park. Although the stadium is now just another lost ballpark, Double Play Bar remains in its spot across the street from the ballpark’s former site. The bar is well worth a stop should you find yourself in San Francisco in search of some baseball history. And, if you happen to find the former site of home plate (inside the Office Depot?) please drop me a line and let me know. A picture also would be great.

For more information about the Double Play bar, please see A San Francisco Deadball Moment.

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