Baseball ticket prices, way back when
As Major League baseball franchises struggle to maintain customer loyalty in the face of rising payroll expenses, many fans have balked (!) at the insane cost of passing through the turnstiles these days. Then there's the cost of a beer and a hot dog! While doing a bit of research today, I was thumbing through my copy of Kessler's ("Smooth As Silk!") 1967 Baseball Fan's Guide, and noticed that it listed the ticket prices for each of the 20 MLB stadiums then in operation. I thought it might be of interest to baseball fans. They are listed here in the same order as in the booklet, with ten National League teams followed by ten American League teams. (I remember back in the 1960s reading my father's copies of those fan guides, and bought myself one on eBay a few years ago.)
To me it is striking how consistent the prices are from one city to the next. (Exception: Why did the Atlanta Braves charge so much?) To get a more realistic idea of the cost of seeing a baseball game back then relative to the overall cost of living, you should multiply those ticket prices by eight. According to my 2022 World Almanac, the Consumer Price Index in 1965 was 31.5 (1982-84 = 100), compared to 258.8 in 2020.
In summary, I know it's unrealistic to expect any major across-the-board reduction in ticket prices. Most MLB teams have various special deals, such as setting aside a few hundred cheap seats (e.g. $5.00 at National Park, I think) for fans who arrive early and get in line. That approximates the "good old days" when many if not most tickets were sold as "general admission": go to the appropriate sections and get the best seat you can find! At the very least, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred should push the 30 franchises to expand general admission ticketing, and fill some of those empty seats. Reducing the number of ticket price categories and getting rid of "dynamic pricing" or whatever they call it, would also help! Economic prospects just aren't what they were 20 or 30 years ago when most current MLB stadiums were built, and with a shrinking middle class, ticket sales are bound to keep slumping. It's just a shame that most newer MLB stadiums don't even offer bleacher seating. That is a significant defect in Nationals Park, IMHO.
/ Gen. Adm.
|Atlanta Stadium||Atlanta Braves||$5.00||$3.50||$2.00||$1.00|
|Wrigley Field||Chicago Cubs||$3.50||($3.00)||$1.50||$1.00|
|Crosley Field||Cincinnati Reds||$3.00||$2.50||$1.50||$1.00|
|Dodger Stadium||Los Angeles Dodgers||$3.50||$2.50||$1.50||$1.50|
|Shea Stadium||New York Mets||$3.50||$2.50||$1.50||-|
|Connie Mack Stadium||Philadelphia Phillies||$3.25||$2.25||$1.50||$1.00|
|Forbes Field||Pittsburgh Pirates||$3.25||$2.75||$1.50||$1.00|
|Busch Stadium||St. Louis Cardinals||$3.50||$2.50||$1.50||$1.00|
|Candlestick Park||San Francisco Giants||$3.50||$2.50||$1.50||$0.90|
|Memorial Stadium||Baltimore Orioles||$3.20||(($2.00))||$1.20||$0.75|
|Fenway Park||Boston Red Sox||$3.00||$2.25||$1.50||$1.00|
|Anaheim Stadium||California Angels||($3.50)||$2.50||$1.50||-|
|Comiskey Park||Chicago White Sox||$3.25||$2.15||$1.50||$0.75|
|Cleveland Stadium||Cleveland Indians||$3.00||$2.50||$1.50||$0.75|
|Tiger Stadium||Detroit Tigers||$3.00||$2.50||$1.50||$1.00|
|Municipal Stadium||Kansas City Athletics||$3.00||$2.50||$1.50||-|
|Metropolitan Stadium||Minnesota Twins||$3.00||$2.50||$1.50||-|
|Yankee Stadium||New York Yankees||$3.50||$2.50||$1.50||$0.75|
|D.C. Stadium||Washington Senators||$3.00||$2.50||$1.50||-|
SOURCE: Kessler 1967 Baseball Fan's Guide, published by Pearson Productions Inc., New York, NY
NOTE: Parentheses ( ) indicate multiple ticket prices within this category.
Underlines denote new stadiums, i.e., those built in the 1960s.
Nationals slay the Giants
After escaping Phoenix with a win to avert being swept, the Washington Nationals headed to San Francisco to face a Giants team that is somewhere in the middle of the pack. On Monday, Jake Irwin followed up his splendid debut performance last week by going 6 1/3 innings without giving up a run. It was his first career win! The Nats stunned the hosts by scoring five runs on seven hits in the first inning, and that was all they needed. Anthony DeSclafani was uncharacteristically drubbed, as his ERA rose to 2.80. On Tuesday, an error by the Nats' young shortstop C.J. Abrams in the first inning made things difficult for Patrick Corbin, who still only allowed two earned runs over six innings (a quality start), but he didn't get much run support. Final score: 4-1. Yesterday the Nats staged four-run rallies in both the 2nd and 3rd innings, building an almost insurmountable lead. Second-string catcher Riley Adams hit a 3-run homer, and Lane Thomas hit a solo homer later in the game. The Giants closed the gap in the last two innings, but fell well short, 11-6. Thus the Nationals won their fourth series out of their last six.
So now the Nationals are "threatening to crawl out of the cellar" (as Bob Uecker used to say), with a quite respectable 11-16 record. The hitting and pitching numbers tell an interesting story: the Nats rank 8th (tied) in the majors with a team batting average of .258, but are 29th in home runs (24) and 26th in RBIs (143). In a year when most teams are stealing more bases thanks to the new rules, the Nats rank 27th with just 20. The younger players are getting lots of hits, but they are far too prone to leave runners on base in those clutch situations. They need more discipline! As for pitching, the Nats rank 18th in terms of ERA (4.44), but that number is likely to improve. Patrick Corbin has been doing much better, while Jake Irvin may find himself as a regular member of the rotation, even if Chad Kuhl returns soon. (By the way, the Washington Post recently had a story by Barry Svrluga about Kuhl's wife, who is dealing with breast cancer, and those kind of troubles must be putting a lot of pressure on Kuhl. They have a young son named Hudson. If you are in a generous mood, go to give.nats4good.org/CancerIsntKuhl.)
After resting up today, the Nationals will welcome the New York Mets to Nationals Park on Friday night. The last I checked, the Mets haven't decided who will pitch any of the games in this four-game series. Max Scherzer was suspended a couple weeks ago for using a sticky substance on the ball. Was he really culpable, or was it one of those "gray area" situations that are hard to judge?
In other news, the Pittsburgh Pirates have suddenly fallen on hard times after their best first month in many, many years. They have only won one game in the last ten, but are still (just barely) clinging to first place in the NL Central Division because the Milwaukee Brewers have a 2-8 record in their last ten games. Meanwhile, the 3rd-place Chicago Cubs have a 3-7 record; it's as if nobody wants to take first place in that division!
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves remain dominant atop the NL East while the L.A. Dodgers have surged past the Diamondbacks to take 1st place in the NL West. (You'll never guess who is pitching in the Dodgers' bullpen now: none other than the famously ineffective former Nat reliever Wander Suero!)
In the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays lost two of three games to the Orioles in Baltimore, and their lead in the AL East is now down to just 5 1/2 games -- even though their win-loss record is an astronomical 29-8!!! Attendance is up only slightly at Tropicana Park, and it's a shame that the Rays don't get much more fan support. In the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers continue to climb toward the top, taking second place from the Cleveland Guardians. How long can the Minnesota Twins keep the lead? In the AL West, the Texas Rangers have a 22-14 record, enjoying 3-game lead over the Angels and the Astros. Lots of nice surprises in this year's pennant races!
R.I.P. Vida Blue & Dick Groat
Former Oakland Athletics pitching sensation Vida Blue passed away on May 6, a couple months short of his 73rd birthday. He was with the A's from 1969 through 1977, during the glory days when they won three consecutive World Series titles. He later played with the San Francisco Giants (two separate stints) and the Kansas City Royals. His career won-loss records was 209-161, and he threw 2,175 strikeouts and finished his career with a 3.26 ERA. In the Washington Post, Candace Buckner wrote that Blue (who was born in Mansfield, Louisiana) gave everything he had to the sport of baseball, but was never given enough appreciation in return. The latter years of his career were shortened by drug use, apparently.
Long-time Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop Dick Groat passed away on April 27 at the age of 92. He was with the Pirates from 1952 through 1962, except for military service in 1953 and 1954 during the Korean War [and aftermath]. He also played in the National Basketball Association for two years, one of only 13 men to play at the top pro level in both sports! His last three years in baseball were with the St. Louis Cardinals. He amassed 2,138 hits and a batting average of .286 during his 12 years in big league baseball.
At some point I will gather my newspaper clippings and at least make mention of other baseball greats who have passed away since last year.
Long-time fans of this website are well aware of my conflicting obligations, and how that affects my ability to keep up with baseball news and to respond to public inquiries. That doesn't excuse my lack of communication, but hopefully explains it. I am starting to get caught up with email messages today. Thanks for your understanding. Now that the spring semester is officially over, I am devoting top priority to updating diagrams and blogging about baseball in general!
By the way, someone asked me about getting my Rogers Center diagrams updated, and I responded by saying I just haven't seen good enough photos of the revamped outfield to do so accurately. If anybody has been there lately, and can help me out in that regard (especially closeup photos taken from near the respective foul poles), I would really appreciate it.
[UPDATE: Multiple spelling errors have been corrected.]