The Oldest Stadiums In Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball was founded in 1876, and while there were notable stars throughout the first few decades of the league, it increased in popularity in the 1920s and 1930s after the “dead ball” era. Iconic baseball stadiums were built, such as Shibe Park and Forbes Field in 1909, Comiskey Park in 1910, Crosley Field in 1912, Ebbets Field in 1913, and Yankee Stadium in 1923, among others. However, none of those stadiums still exist today.
There are a few incredible old icons still in use. That leads to the question of the oldest MLB stadiums still in use today. Let’s take a rundown of the ten oldest.
Fenway Park (1912), Capacity: 37,731
Not only is Fenway Park the oldest stadium still in use in Major League Baseball, but it is also among the most compact. The stadium opened the same week the Titanic sank and was renovated 22 years later.
Notable features of the stadium include the famous 37-foot-high wall in left field known as the “Green Monster” and a hand-operated scoreboard which is still used today. In 2001, seats were added atop the left-field wall, which increased seating capacity by 4000. The oldest ballpark in the major leagues truly gives the Red Sox a home-field advantage.
Wrigley Field (1914), Capacity: 41,649
Built just two years after Fenway Park, Wrigley Field is the oldest ballpark still in use in the National League. Originally known as Weeghman Park and Cubs Park, the stadium was renamed in 1927 after gum manufacturer William Wrigley.
An upper deck was added as a major renovation, and the stadium’s most notable feature, the green ivy on the outfield walls, wasn’t added until 1934. It’s noteworthy that seats were added to rooftops across Waveland Avenue from left field where fans can enjoy the action. Wrigley Field was the last stadium to install lights in 1986.
Dodger Stadium (1962), Capacity: 56,000
Dodger Stadium was part of Major League’s West Coast expansion during the late 1950s and 1960s. It is one of three remaining stadiums from that expansion. The stadium was built in Chavez Ravine, overlooking Los Angeles, and is the only stadium not to add seating capacity.
Under a parking area to the west of the stadium, an old school was left standing on the site upon construction. Dodger Stadium has held the World Baseball Classic, boxing, hockey, soccer, cricket, and the Olympics.
Angel Stadium of Anaheim (1966), Capacity: 45,517
The stadium was originally built for baseball only and was known as Anaheim Stadium. It became the home of the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL for 14 years, starting in 1980. The stadium added 23,000 seats for football but was renovated back to a baseball-only venue when the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1996.
A distinguishing feature of the stadium is geysers and a rock formation beyond the outfield wall. Angel Stadium has also hosted numerous concerts, soccer, and motion pictures.
Oakland Coliseum (1966), Capacity: 46,847
The Oakland Coliseum has been the home for the Raiders of the NFL but has been the home of the Athletics continuously since 1968. The stadium has by far the largest foul territory in the Major Leagues. The stadium’s design is such that the playing surface is below ground level and below sea level.
The stadium was the only facility to host an NFL and MLB team until the Raiders left for Las Vegas in 2019. Oakland Coliseum has also hosted numerous concerts, motocross, and is used in music videos and movies.
Kauffman Stadium (1973), Capacity: 37,903
Along with Dodger Stadium, Kauffman Stadium is a baseball-only facility built when parks were generally designed as multi-sport stadiums. Originally known as Royals Stadium, Kauffman Stadium was built next to Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.
It has the distinctive look of the cookie-cutter stadiums that were built during the 1960s and 1970s but has a huge scoreboard beyond the center-field wall and a waterfall display as its distinguishing feature beyond the right-field fence.
Rogers Centre (1989), Capacity: 53,506
Opened as the SkyDome in 1989, Rogers Centre is the first stadium in the Major Leagues to have a fully retractable roof. Located at the base of the CN Tower, Rogers Centre also features a hotel contained inside the ballpark located beyond the outfield walls. Guest rooms look directly out to the field of play.
The video board beyond center field is 33 feet high and 110 feet across, with a panel made of LED units that can be repaired immediately if damage were to occur. The stadium has hosted games in five of the six major professional sports leagues in North America, with the exception of the NHL.
Tropicana Field (1990), Capacity: 42,735
Although the stadium opened in 1990 and hosted the Davis Cup Finals that fall, it didn’t’ host a Major League Baseball game until the Devil Rays started their inaugural season in 1998. The domed stadium has a unique slanted roof designed to reduce cooling costs and add more protection against hurricanes.
One notable irregularity is a series of catwalks over the playing field that have occasionally come into play on high pop-ups. Other events held at Tropicana Field include basketball, football, hockey, motorsports, and concerts.
Guaranteed Rate Field (1991), Capacity: 40,615
Replacing the iconic Comiskey Park on Chicago’s south side in 1991, Guaranteed Rate Field failed in design compared to Camden Yards, built a year later, and other parks since. The front façade of the park features arched windows, retaining some features from old Comiskey Park. The original high upper deck made it look like a cookie-cutter stadium.
Renovations in 2001 changed the outfield dimensions and eliminated over 6000 seats from the upper deck. Over the last two decades, other extensive renovations were done to make the park more fan-friendly. Guaranteed Rate Field has been featured in numerous films.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards (1992), Capacity: 45,971
After a long list of cookie-cutter stadiums built and maintained from the 1960s, Oriole Park began a new era of baseball stadium design. The stadium combined the look and feel of classic stadiums from the early 20th century while adding a touch of modern amenities.
The ballpark’s setting is such that an abandoned warehouse around the perimeter of the outfield stands out as a featured attraction. Adding to the visual appeal of the stadium are the low outfield walls with seats close to the field. This award-winning stadium has been seen numerous times in pop culture and is the standard by which all stadiums are compared.
Stadiums come and go with modern configurations retaining some vintage aspects to bring baseball together from past to present. Two icons remain in Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. There is a 50-year gap to the next oldest stadium, and one must wonder how long the two relics remain.
But one thing is sure. The great game of baseball at the Major League Level will continue, and stadiums will continue to evolve with the game moving forward through the 21st century.