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Endangered Ballparks

Astrodome construction

Everyone loves old ballparks: the places where precious memories were created. But not every old ballpark has been adequately maintained or preserved, thus becoming an endangered ballpark. This page documents the most endangered ballparks in North America, and the odds that they will be saved.

We will be adding and deleting from this list as circumstances change. Nor do we assume that we’ve listed every endangered ballpark (though we do limit ourselves to former and current pro-baseball facilities), so if you think we’re missing one, drop us a line at editors@augustpublications.com.

RFK Stadium

RFK Stadium Opening in 1961 as the first MLB/NFL multiuse facility, RFK Stadium sports a unique architecture with a gently undulating canopy, a highly functional track system that facilitated configuration changes and a layout that actually worked for both baseball and football. RFK Stadium was indeed a cookie-cutter facility—but one that was highly functional. The center of the D.C. sporting scene for decades, RFK Stadium is now a poorly maintained, rundown facility lacking a major tenant after the move of D.C. United to a new stadium. There are no calls to preserve this historic facility, and it’s inevitable RFK Stadium comes down in the next few years. Odds RFK Stadium will survive: 1,000,000-1

San Diego Stadium 1967

SDCCU Stadium The former San Diego Stadium / Jack Murphy Stadium / Qualcomm Stadium has lost the MLB San Diego Padres and the Chargers as tenants, leaving the city to see new development to replace the old stadium. Two groups are putting their visions for the site on the November 2018 ballot, and either an MLS stadium or a new San Diego State football stadium as well as a campus expansion will be there. Odds SDCCU Stadium will survive: 10,000-1

Greer Stadium guitar scoreboard

Greer Stadium The former home of the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) has been steadily been deteriorating since the team moved to First Tennessee Park, and while there were a few ideas pitched for redevelopment, the current plan is to tear down the ballpark and return it to parkland. Odds Greer Stadium will survive: 750-1

Lawrence-Dumont Stadium The former home to affiliated Texas League and independent American Association baseball is slated to come down: the Wichita Wingnuts have already been told to vacate the ballpark, and the National Baseball Congress is planning a 2019 tourney at Wichita State. No replacement has been announcement. Odds Lawrence-Dumont Stadium will survive: 750-1

Cohen Stadium The former home to affiliated Texas League and independent American Association baseball is not economically viable with a fairly new Triple-A ballpark, Southwest University Park, in downtown El Paso. The plan is to redevelop the property. Odds Cohen Stadium will survive: 750-1

Rockford ballpark

Campbell’s Field The former home to the Camden RiverSharks (independent; Atlantic League) is slated to be torn down to make way for yet another round of riverfront development. At its best, Campbell’s Field brought some new life to a bad Camden neighborhood, but baseball there was not economically sustainable. Odds Campbell’s Field will survive: 1,000-1

The Diamond The home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) has been a temporary home ever since the Flying Squirrels came to town. With progress coming on a new ballpark to be built next to The Diamond site, it doesn’t look like the ode to concrete will be around in five years. Odds The Diamond will survive: 50-1.

 

Cooper Stadium Most of the former Columbus Clippers (Class AAA; International League) home has been torn down to make way for a new racetrack-themed development, but the development has stalled and what’s left is fairly sad: an old portion of the grandstand surrounded by weeds. At some point what’s left will become a safety hazard. Odds Cooper Stadium will survive: 50-1.

Lake Olmstead Stadium With the Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) set to move to a new North Augusta ballpark, Augusta officials are debating what to do with the longtime GreenJackets home. It already hosts Augusta University college baseball and could continue to do so indefinitely, but city officials are also looking to convert the space to an amphitheater. In any case, it sounds like the ballpark will continue in some form. Odds Lake Olmstead Stadium will survive in its present form: 10-1

McCoy Stadium

McCoy Stadium The fate of McCoy Stadium, currently the home of the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League), depends on the fate of the PawSox. If the team ends up elsewhere in Rhode Island, McCoy Stadium will not be long for this world: with no pro tenant, there’s no economic argument for keeping it. If the team ends up in Massachusetts, the ballpark could end up hosting pro baseball of some sort, either affiliated or indy ball. It’s too soon to know. Odds McCoy Stadium will survive: 50-50

Smith Wills Stadium

Smith-Wills Stadium Jackson (MS) has been debating what to do with the former MiLB ballpark, which opened in 1975 and currently hosts the Belhaven University Blazers. Since it’s highly unlikely to ever host pro baseball again—the Mississippi Braves (Class AA; Southern League) play across the river from Jackson in Pearl, Miss., the city has looked at demolishing the ballpark to make way for development. That’s still an option; another option is to let the facility deteriorate or put some money into it in an attempt to attract college and traveling-team tournaments. Tim Bennett of Overtime Sports has been consulting with the city about the ballpark’s future. Smith-Wills Stadium was home to the Jackson Mets (Class AA; Texas League, 1975-1990), Jackson Generals (Class AA; Texas League, 1991-1999), Jackson DiamondKats (independent; Texas-Louisiana League, 2000) and the Jackson Senators (independent; Central Baseball League, 2002-2005). Most notably Smith Wills Stadium hosted the marriage of Jackson Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson to Rosa Gilbert in 1978 a la Bull Durham, with teammates marking the occasion by holding their bats overhead while the happy couple walked from the infield to the dugout. Odds Smith-Wills Stadium will survive: 50-50

Rivets Stadium This Loves Park (IL) ballpark was built to house an independent Frontier League team and is now leased by the Rockford Rivets (summer collegiate; Northwoods League). In theory, baseball should work in the Rockford market—the largest in the state outside Chicagoland—but nothing ever worked well in this ballpark. Earlier this year a California investor purchased the ballpark, and the Rivets management expects to play out the existing lease through 2020. The owner of the ballpark has roots in baseball, so we’re changing our evaluation. Odds Rivets Stadium will survive: 50-50

Joe Davis Stadium The former home of the Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League), Joe Davis Stadium opened in 1985 but is used sporadically for events like concerts and high-school football. With pro ball returning to the Huntsville area in suburban Madison, there’s no MiLB reason to keep the ballpark. There’s been talk about a developer talking over the facility for some unnamed purpose, and there’s been talk about converting the old ballpark to an amphitheater Odds Joe Davis Stadium will survive: 50-50

Sam Lynn Ballpark The former home of the Bakersfield Blaze (Class A; California League) opened in 1941 and is certainly showing its age. Now home to indy Pecos League ball, Sam Lynn Ballpark isn’t being shown much love from Bakersfield elected officials, so its future is certainly in doubt. But then again, inertia caused the ballpark to basically stay in the same condition for decades, and inertia may protect pro baseball there. Odds Sam Lynn Ballpark will survive: 50-50.

Hamtramck Stadium

Hamtramck Stadium There are 25 or so ballparks that formerly hosted Negro Leagues baseball, most in surprisingly good shape. The Detroit-area Hamtramck Stadium opened in 1930 and was home to a variety of Negro Leagues teams, including the Detroit Stars and Detroit Wolves. And, perhaps most importantly, it was a community gathering spot. The goal in renovating Hamtramck Stadium: restoring the ballpark as a community gathering spot, which means fixing up the dilapidated grandstand and establishing a usage plan that goes beyond baseball. Predevelopment work is underway, and the Friends for Historic Hamtramck Stadium should move things to the next level by May. Odds Hamtramck Stadium will survive: 1-2.

RE/MAX Field The former home of the Edmonton Trappers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) is now used by a summer-collegiate team. But we’re talking about a very large facility, with a total capacity of 9,200, and it makes no sense to maintain a Triple-A ballpark when it’s highly unlikely affiliated ball will ever return. Edmonton is in the middle of a development plan for the West Rossdale neighborhood, and while there’s no talk of tearing down the ballpark (yes), it should be seriously altered to fit current needs. We predict the former Telus Field will live on. Odds RE/MAX Field will survive: 1-10.

Hinchliffe Stadium

Hinchliffe Stadium This classic Paterson (NJ) stadium has survived through the sheer effort of passionate supporters: without them, it surely would have been torn down years ago. The historic facility opened in 1932, hosting the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans along the way, which makes it one of the few Negro Leagues ballparks that remains standing. Hinchliffe Stadium closed in 1997 and has since fallen into a state of decline. For the last decade volunteers have worked on a restoration plan and have procured preservation grants. Odds Hinchliffe Stadium will survive: 1-25.

Houston Astrodome model

Astrodome The Eighth Wonder of the World, the Astrodome is an icon to generations of Houstonians, and any talk of tearing it down instantly generates yowls of protest. The big problem: Harris County can’t really come up with a solid redevelopment plan (voters turned down a proposal to readjust the interior for football and smaller events), though the latest plan to renovate the space for events has been approved by Harris County Commissioners, with construction set to start in October. The Astrodome is a one-of-a-kind classic. Odds Astrodome will survive: 1-50.