Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, informally known as RFK
Stadium, is a professional sports stadium that opened in the fall of
1961. Originally called D.C. Stadium, it served as home to the Washington
Senators of Major League Baseball from the spring of 1962 through 1971,
when the team moved to Arlington, Texas. The stadium was also the home of
the Washington Redskins, a team in the National Football League, from 1961
until 1996, when they moved to FedEx Field in suburban Maryland.
Redskins (NFL, 1961-1996)
Washington Senators (MLB, 1962-1971)
Washington Diplomats (NASL, 1974-1981)
Washington Federals (USFL, 1983-1984)
D.C. United (MLS, 1996-)
Washington Freedom (WUSA) (2001-2003)
Washington Nationals (MLB, 2005-)
55,672 (2005 Football & Soccer)
Field - 335 ft
Left-Center - 380 ft
Center Field - 410 ft
Right-Center - 380 ft
Right Field - 335 ft
Backstop - 54 ft
The stadium was renamed for slain presidential candidate and former
U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1969.
Concerts featuring renowned rock bands and performers still take place
at the stadium. It has also hosted soccer matches in the (men's) 1994
World Cup and 2003 Women's World Cup.
The stadium now serves as the home of the Washington Nationals of Major
League Baseball and D.C. United of Major League Soccer. A complex
conversion is necessary to switch the stadium seating from baseball to
soccer configuration and back again. This includes rolling the 3rd-base
lower-level seats into the outfield along a buried rail, dropping the
hydraulic pitcher's mound 3 feet into the ground, and laying sod over the
infield dirt. In 2005, this conversion was done over 20 times.
to RFK Stadium!
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RFK Stadium was, for 35 years, known as home to the Redskins, whose return
to prominence as a football power began the same year the Senators left
D.C. The Redskins' first game in RFK Stadium was a 24-21 loss to the New
York Giants on October 1, 1961. The team's first win in the stadium was
over its archrival, the Dallas Cowboys on December 17, 1961. The Redskins'
last win at RFK Stadium was a 37-10 victory over the Cowboys on December
As a baseball park, RFK Stadium is unique in having only an upper deck
across the outfield, atop a high wall. Burly slugger Frank Howard hit a
number of tape-measure home runs in his career, a few of which landed in
the center field area of that upper deck. The stadium hosted the first
1962 All-Star Game, which was attended by Robert Kennedy's brother,
President John F. Kennedy (in whose Administration Robert Kennedy served
as Attorney General) and the 1969 All-Star Game, which was played in the
daytime after a rainout the night before. Another memorable baseball
moment occurred in a Cracker Jack Old Timers game in the early 1980s, when
75 year old Hall of Famer Luke Appling hit a home run.
With its revival as a major league baseball facility, RFK Stadium now
displaces Dodger Stadium as the fourth oldest major league ballpark,
behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium. Its first baseball
game was the day before Dodger Stadium's first game, and it was first
opened for football the previous fall.
version of the 2005 photo is here.
research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet.
On September 29, 2004, Major League Baseball announced its intentions
to move the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C. and rename them the
Washington Nationals. RFK Stadium has undergone a $13 million dollar
renovation, and will be used for a total of three years for the new
baseball team, while a $440 million dollar state-of-the-art stadium is
built on the north bank of the Anacostia River at South Capitol Street.
Their first regular-season home game at RFK was April 14, 2005, vs. the
On April 14, 2005, just before the Nationals' home opener, the D.C.
Sports and Entertainment Commission announced an agreement with the
Department of Defense under which the military would pay the city about $6
million for the right to place recruiting kiosks and signage in the
stadium. In return, the stadium would be dubbed Armed Forces Field at
RFK Stadium. This plan was dropped within days, however, after several
prominent members of Congress questioned the use of public funds for a
Memorable games/moments at RFK Stadium
After trailing the Cowboys 24-6 halfway through the third quarter on
November 28, 1965 quarterback Sonny Jurgensen leads the Redskins to 21
fourth quarter points and a 34-31 comeback victory.
The Redskins beat the New York Giants 72-41 on November 27, 1966.
The 113 combined points are the most ever scored in an NFL game.
In the Washington Senators' final home game, on September 30, 1971,
the Senators lead the New York Yankees 7-5 with two outs left in the
top of the ninth. Fans storm the field and tear up bases, grass
patches, and anything else they can find for souvenirs. The Senators
forfeit the game, 9-0.
On December 31, 1972 the Redskins defeat the Cowboys 26-3 in the NFC
Championship game to earn a trip to Super Bowl VII.
In a Monday Night Football game on October 8, 1973 Redskins safety
Ken Houston stops Cowboys' receiver Walt Garrison at the goal line as
time expired to secure a win.
December 17, 1977 - the Redskins defeat the Los Angeles Rams 17-14
in what would be head coach George Allen's final game with the team.
October 25, 1981 - the Redskins narrowly beat the New England
Patriots 24-22 to earn head coach Joe Gibbs his first win at RFK
January 22, 1983 - the stadium physically shakes as a capacity crowd
of 54,000 chant "We Want Dallas" taunting the hated Cowboys
in the NFC Championship game. The Redskins go on to defeat the Cowboys
31-17 to earn a trip to Super Bowl XVII where they beat the Miami
September 5, 1983 - Redskins' rookie cornerback Darrell Green chases
down Cowboys' running back Tony Dorsett from behind to prevent him
from scoring. The Redskins go on to lose the game 31-30.
November 18, 1985 - Giants' linebacker Lawrence Taylor sacks
Redskins' quarterback Joe Theismann breaking his leg and ending his
NFL career. Backup quarterback Jay Schroeder comes in and leads the
Redskins to a 23-21 victory.
January 17, 1988 Cornerback Darrell Green knocks down a Wade Wilson
pass at the goal line to clinch a victory over the Minnesota Vikings
in the NFC Championship game. The Redskins go on to defeat the Denver
Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII.
January 4, 1992 - in pouring rain the Redskins beat the Atlanta
Falcons 24-7 in the Divisional round of the playoffs. As time winds
down in the fourth quarter the fans shower the field with the free
yellow seat cushions given them when they entered the stadium.
January 12, 1992 - the Redskins destroy the Detroit Lions 41-10 in
the NFC Championship game earning a trip to Super Bowl XXVI where they
beat the Buffalo Bills 37-24.
December 13, 1992 - Redskins coach Joe Gibbs coaches what would be
his last win at RFK Stadium. The Redskins defeat the Cowboys 20-17.
October 30, 1996 - Ten days after winning the first Major League
Soccer title, D.C. United defeats the Rochester Rhinos 3-1 in the U.S.
Open Cup final, achieving the first "double" in American
October 26, 1997 - D.C. United defeats the Colorado Rapids 2-1 to
win their second consecutive MLS Cup.
August 16, 1998 - D.C. United defeats C.D. Toluca of Mexico 1-0 to
win the CONCACAF Champions' Cup, becoming the first American team to
do so and marking their first victory in an international tournament.
October 15, 2000 - the Kansas City Wizards defeat the Chicago Fire
1-0 to win their first MLS Cup.
April 14, 2001 - the Washington Freedom defeat the Bay Area
CyberRays 1-0 in the inaugural match of the Women's United Soccer
November 6, 2004 - D.C. United win the Eastern Conference final by
tying the New England Revolution 3-3 and advancing on penalty kicks.
They would go on to defeat the Kansas City Wizards 3-2 in the MLS Cup.
April 14, 2005 - Washington Nationals defeat the Arizona
Diamondbacks 5-3, before a crowd of 45,596, to win their first home
opener in Washington, DC. They go on to sweep the 3-game series.
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An aerial view of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.
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