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And Then There Were Two
2005-06-16 13:08
by Mike Carminati

The Yankees announced their plan for a new Yankee Stadium. The fact that the team is remaining in the Bronx, a one-time point of contention for owner George Steinbrenner, grabbed the most fanfare.

Aside from wondering what they were going to do with the Monuments, I found it extremely interesting that the stadium will be privately funded as will the new Cardinals stadium that is in the works. When the Giants did that a few years back, they were vilified by the other owners. Baseball must be making too much money to notice nowadays.

My interest was also piqued by the estimates that the Yankee annual stadium expense will increase from $22 to $68 M, thereby, barring substantial changes to the CBA, will greatly lower the team's revenue-sharing debt. "They may be the only unhappy people as a result of this deal," Yankees president Randy Levine said.

Finally, and most obscurely, by retiring Yankee Stadium, baseball loses one of three stadiums from before World War II, the other two being, of course, Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Beantown. Yes, Yankee Stadium got an extreme makeover in the mid-Seventies, but it was essentially the same building that Babe Ruth crafted with his own two hands back in 1923.

The third oldest stadium in the majors after the Yankee switchover would be Washington's RFK Stadium, beating Dodger Stadium by one day. RFK hosted its first baseball game on April 9, 1962 (though the RedSkins played there on October 1 of the previous year), and the first game at Dodger Stadium didn't happen until the next day. Baseball's newest stadium is actually one of its oldest. It's like that question, who's at once the oldest and youngest Beatle (It's Ringobecause he joined last but was the oldest).

Here are the current oldest stadia in baseball in descending order with the year each was first used for baseball:

Fenway Park, 1912

Wrigley Field, 1914 (though the Cubs didn't play there until 1916)

Yankee Stadium, 1923

RFK Stadium, 1962

Dodger Stadium, 1962

Shea Stadium, 1964

Busch Stadium, 1966 (to be replaced)

Oakland-Alameda County (Whatever They Call It This Year) Coliseum, 1968

Royals/Kauffman Stadium, 1973.

That takes me up to when I started being a fan, and, boy, do I feel old.

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