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Baltimore Memorial Stadium

By Wikipedia

Memorial Stadium was a sports stadium in Baltimore, Maryland that formerly stood on 33rd Street. It stood on an oversized block also bounded by Ellerslie Avenue, 36th Street and Ednor Road. Two different stadiums were located here, a 1922 version known as Baltimore Stadium, Municipal Stadium, and Venable Stadium and the stadium that, when finally completed in 1950, would become known as Memorial Stadium and, for a time, Babe Ruth Stadium in reference to the then-recently departed Baltimore native.

At a glance...
Baltimore's Memorial Stadium
Facility statistics
Location Baltimore, Maryland
Opened 1950 (see article)
First O's Game April 15, 1954
Last O's Game October 6, 1991
Demolished April 21, 2001
Owner City of Baltimore
Surface Bluegrass
Construction
cost
$6.5M
Architect L.P. Kooken Company
Replaced By PSINet Stadium (Ravens, '98)
Camden Yards (Orioles, '92)
Tenants
Baltimore Orioles (International League, 194453)
Baltimore Orioles (American League, 19541991)
Bowie Baysox (Eastern League, 1993)
Baltimore Colts (AAFC 19471949, NFL 1950)
Baltimore Colts (NFL, 19531983)
Baltimore Ravens (NFL, 19961998)
Baltimore Stars (USFL)
Baltimore Stallions (CFL, 19941995)
Seating capacity
31,000 (1950), 47,855 (1953), 47,778 (1958);
49,375 (1961); 49,373 (1964); 52,184 (1965);
52,185 (1968); 52,137 (1969); 53,208 (1970);
52,862 (1979); 53,208 (1982); 52,860 (1983);
53,198 (1985); 54,076 (1986); 54,002 (1987);
54,017 (1988); 53,371 (1991).
Dimensions
Left 309 ft
Left-center 446 ft 1954, 447 ft 1955, 405 ft 1956
380 ft 1958, 370 ft 1962, 385 ft 1970
375 ft 1976, 378 ft 1977, 376 ft 1980
378 ft 1990
Center 445 ft 1954, 450 ft 1955, 425 ft 1956
410 ft 1958, 400 ft 1976, 405 ft 1977
410 ft 1978, 405 ft 1980
Right-center 446 ft 1954, 447 ft 1955, 405 ft 1956
380 ft 1958, 370 ft 1962, 385 ft 1970
375 ft 1976, 378 ft 1977, 376 ft 1980
378 ft 1990
Right 309 ft (94 m)

Stadium History

Memorial Stadium started out in life as Baltimore Stadium, also known as Municipal Stadium, and as Venable Stadium. It was built in 1922, in a previously undeveloped area called Venable Park. It was primarily a football stadium, a large horseshoe with its open end facing south. In its early years it hosted various college-level games, including the occasional Army-Navy Game. In mid-summer 1944 it was pressed into service as a baseball park by the Baltimore Orioles of the International League, when their previous home, Oriole Park, was destroyed by fire. The diamond was positioned in the northwest "corner" of the field, making for a short left field (about 290 feet) and spacious center and right fields.

The minor league Orioles literally rose from the ashes, in heroic fashion, going on to win the International League championship that year, and also the Junior World Series over Louisville of the American Association. The large post-season crowds at Municipal Stadium, which would not have been possible at Oriole Park, and which easily surpassed the attendance at major league baseball's own World Series that year (in which the St. Louis Cardinals defeated their in-town rivals, the St. Louis Browns, who would move to Baltimore in 1954), caught the attention of the major leagues, and Baltimore suddenly became a viable option for teams looking to move.

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If you have Google Earth installed, click here to be "flown" to the site of Memorial Stadium. (If you do not have it installed, get it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)

 

Spurred by the Orioles' success, and also by the presence of professional football, the city chose to rebuild the stadium as a facility of major league caliber, which they renamed Memorial Stadium in honor of the dead of World War I and World War II. It was also known for a time as "Babe Ruth Stadium", after the recently deceased Hall of Famer and Baltimore native. The reconstruction was done in stages, slowly obliterating the old Municipal Stadium stands, even as the Orioles continued playing on their makeshift diamond in the northwest corner.

Memorial Stadium was completed in 1950 at a cost of $6.5 million. Seating 31,000 at the time, the stadium consisted of a single, horseshoe-shaped deck, with the open end facing north, and was designed to host both football and baseball. A roofless upper deck was added four years later when the St. Louis Browns committed to moving to Baltimore and becoming the major league version of the Baltimore Orioles.

Memorial Stadium!

Photo taken September 23, 2000, the first day that stadium seats and other souvenirs were put to public sale. The stadium had been vacated for a few years.

Photo by Jmj1000


The general layout of Memorial Stadium resembled a somewhat scaled-down version of Cleveland Stadium. As such, the playing area was initially quite large in center field for baseball, due to the need to fit a football field on the premises, and foul territory was also quite large as well. The construction of inner fences after 1958, however, shrunk the size of the outfield somewhat. The addition of several rows of box seats also shrunk the foul ground, ultimately making the stadium much more of a hitters' park than it was originally.

FIRSTS at MEMORIAL STADIUM
Game
04/15/1954 White Sox 1, Orioles 3
Umpires Ed Rommel, Larry Napp
  Red Flaherty, John Stevens
Managers Jimmy Dykes, Orioles
  Paul Richards, White Sox
Starting Pitchers Bob Turley, Orioles
  Virgil Trucks, White Sox
Ceremonial Pitch Vice President Richard Nixon
Attendance 46,354
Batting
Batter Chico Carrasquel (single)
Hit Chico Carrasquel (single)
Run Clint Courtney
RBI Clint Courtney
Single Chico Carrasquel
Double Bobby Young
Triple Vern Stephens (04/18/1954)
Home Run Clint Courtney
Grand Slam Cass Michaels (05/28/1954)
IPHR Vern Stephens (07/03/1954)
Stolen Base Harvey Kuenn (04/18/1954)
Sacrifice Hit Gil Coan (04/17/1954)
Sacrifice Fly Clint Courtney (04/18/1954)
Cycle Tony Horton (07/02/1970)
Pitching
Win Bob Turley
Loss Virgil Trucks
Shutout Ned Garver (04/17/1954)
Save Early Wynn (05/08/1954)
Hit by Pitch Harry Dorish hit Billy Hunter
Wild Pitch Bill Henry (05/13/1954)
Balk Bob Turley (05/28/1954)
No-hitter Hoyt Wilhelm (09/20/1958)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet
.

Both the Orioles and the Colts had some great successes over the next few decades, winning several championships. Among the Orioles who played here were pitcher Jim Palmer, first baseman John (Boog) Powell, shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., third baseman Brooks Robinson and outfielder Frank Robinson. Among the Colts' greats were quarterback John Unitas and running back Alan Ameche.

Hard times for the ballpark began when the Colts' fortunes sagged and they transferred to Indianapolis, in a notorious move where moving vans trucked the club's equipment in the middle of the night. Then the Orioles began pressing for a new baseball-only facility, resulting in the first and arguably the best of the 1990s retro-ballparks, Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Memorial Stadium was relegated to temporary-home status for several sports teams, and was finally abandoned for good in the late 1990s. It was bade farewell in style by both the Orioles (in a field-encircling ceremony staged by many former Oriole players and hosted by Hall of Fame announcer Ernie Harwell, who began his announcing career here) and the Ravens (who had many former Colts assemble for a final play, run by Unitas).

The City of Baltimore solicited proposals for development of the site. Most proposals preserved some or all of the stadium, including the memorial to World War II veterans and words on the facade. Mayor Martin J. O'Malley, however, favored the proposal that resulted in the total razing of the stadium, an act that many fought and protested. Former Mayor and Governor William Donald Schaefer continues to protest that the stadium was razed for political reasons. The venerable and historic stadium was demolished over a ten-month period beginning in April, 2001. Much of the stadium remnants were used to build an artificial reef in Chesapeake Bay.

 
Buy at Art.com
Memorial Stadium: Final Orioles Game
Buy From Art.com

Sources for Memorial Stadium:
House of Magic, by the Baltimore Orioles
The Home Team: A Full Century of Baseball in Baltimore 1859-1959, by James H. Bready

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
:
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.


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MEMORIAL STADIUM

Memorial Stadium in disrepair as seen from space!

USGS Photo

Year by Year statistics: for Memorial Stadium


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