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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 (for instance, Wichita’s Lawrence-Dumont Stadium was removed in late 2018). 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 NFL’s Chargers as tenants, leaving its demolition increasingly inevitable. San Diego State University is working on a project that calls for a new stadium and surrounding development at the site and is hoping to begin construction in 2020. Successful completion of negotiations with the city would make the proposal a reality, effectively paving the way for new development and the eventual demolition of SDCCU stadium. 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

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

Ned Skeldon Stadium: Home of the Toledo Mud Hens (Class AAA; International League) from 1965-2001, Ned Skeldon Stadium’s condition has deteriorated to the point where the stands have been condemned. Although the playing field is still used by adult leagues, officials in the City of Maumee—where Ned Skeldon Stadium is located—are pushing for the ballpark to be demolished. Lucas County currently owns the ballpark and surrounding complex, but there have been discussions about transferring the site to the city in order to facilitate redevelopment. Odds Ned Skeldon Stadium will survive: 750-1

Rockford ballpark

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. Concerns about the property becoming a safety hazard were raised in early 2019, and there’s been no progress on the redevelopment effort. Odds Cooper Stadium will survive: 200-1.

City of Palms Park The former spring home of the Boston Red Sox has been some new life as home to the Florida SouthWestern College program. A proposal for Fort Myers redevelopment would replace the ballpark and nearby parking area for a mixed-use lifestyle development. Odds City of Palms Park will survive: 25-1.

Lake Olmstead Stadium Now that the Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) have moved to SRP Park in North Augusta, the long-term future of the ballpark is in play. Augusta officials are moving forward with repairs to use the facility for events in the near term, while removing baseball-specific features like protective netting. That leaves the facility operational for now, but at some point, a more thorough conversion could be in order. Odds Lake Olmstead Stadium will survive in its present form: 10-1.

McCoy Stadium

McCoy Stadium With the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) moving to Worcester, MA in 2021, the future of McCoy Stadium is very uncertain. Pawtucket and Rhode Island officials are expected to explore future uses for the site, which could include leaving the facility standing in some form or tearing it down in favor of redevelopment. We hear there is still a continued effort to bring Short Season A ball to the facility. No final decision has been made, but either way its days as a home to Triple-A baseball are numbered. 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. Tim Bennett of Overtime Sports has submitted a bid to assume management of the ballpark and would likely use it for tournaments and other events, with a decision from the city pending. 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 in 2018 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

Fair Grounds Field The 2011 Shreveport-Bossier Captains (independent; American Association) were the last professional team to use the facility, which was home to the Shreveport Captains/Swamp Dragons (Class AA; Texas League) from 1986-2002 before hosting independent baseball. It has gradually deteriorated since the departure of professional baseball, but a local group is now working to build support for a proposal that calls for converting the ballpark into a multipurpose sports facility. Any proposal will require city approval, but that plan could bring new life to Fair Grounds Field.  Odds Fair Grounds Field will survive: 50-50

Joe Davis Stadium The former home of the Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League), Joe Davis Stadium opened in 1985 and its grounds are sporadically used for events like concerts. With pro ball returning to the Huntsville area in suburban Madison, there’s no MiLB reason to keep the ballpark. The city has all but signaled that future demolition is inevitable, but it has not presented a plan for bringing the ballpark down. Odds Joe Davis Stadium will survive: 50-50

Fort Lauderdale Stadium A former spring training home for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, Fort Lauderdale Stadium has sat largely idle since the Orioles’ last spring there in 2009. Its condition, along with that of adjacent Lockhart Stadium, has deteriorated in recent years, and city officials are considering redevelopment proposals for the 64-acre site. Two proposals have been submitted, including one from Inter Miami CF–an MLS expansion club backed by a group that includes David Beckham–which seeks to build a training academy on the property. Neither that concept nor the competing plan would save Fort Lauderdale Stadium, making its days numbered if the city chooses either for redevelopment. Odds Fort Lauderdale Stadium will survive: 50-50

Foothills Stadium: The former home of the Calgary Cannons (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) has ceased to be a pro baseball facility and would be demolished if a redevelopment plan comes to fruition. A group led by former Calgary mayoral candidate Bill Smith has pitched a proposal that calls for a new stadium/fieldhouse development on the site, which is jointly owned by the city and University of Calgary. No final decision has been made, but the city council voted in January to form a committee to study the idea and explore the site’s future. Odds Foothills Stadium will survive: 50-50

Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium: With the Potomac Nationals (High A; Carolina League) set to move to Fredericksburg, VA in 2020, Prince William County, VA officials are trying to determine the future of Pfitzner Stadium. Redeveloping the ballpark’s site–a county-owned property that also includes three softball fields and a BMX track–could be an option, with Pfitzner Stadium either remaining in some form or being demolished to make way for another use. A decision on the site’s future has yet to made, but Pfitzner Stadium’s days as a pro baseball facility are likely numbered and county officials could decide that its site would be put to better use for another purpose. Odds Pfitzner 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. The plan continues to make progress, as a grant obtained by the city in late December will fund a master plan that outlines the ballpark’s future. 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 (yet), 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. Early work has been taking place on that plan since October 2018, though local officials have still been debating future particulars of the project. The Astrodome is a one-of-a-kind classic. Odds Astrodome will survive: 1-50.