Clem's Baseball home

Anomalous
"home" stadiums:
Shared, "hand-me-down," neutral...





In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy learned that "there's no place like home," but in the world of major league baseball, that concept has sometimes been problematic over the years. This page attempts to clarify some of the anomalous situations that have arisen when teams found it expedient to play some of their "home" games at other stadiums, and sometimes in other cities. Note that some major league ballparks, such as Hiram Bithorn Stadium, fit into more than one category.

Stadiums shared by two teams

Since 11 of the original 16 major league franchises were located in cities with more than one team during the first half of the 20th century, it is not surprising that two teams sometimes shared the same stadium. Of the eight cases listed below, the first four were the result of teams moving out of small, obsolete stadiums. Interestingly, the National League teams in both St. Louis and Philadelphia upstaged their American League "landlords" in terms of winning records and attendance, and the original home teams relocated to other cities during the 1950s. When the Dodgers and Angels shared Dodger Stadium, the Angels called it "Chavez Ravine" to conceal the fact that they were mere tenants there. (In the NFL, the New York Jets drape Giants Stadium with green colors when they play there, but have made no effort to change its name.) During the renovation of their stadium in 1974-1975, the Yankees became the only major league team ever to become "tenants" of another team for a second time.

Polo Grounds

It seems strange, but in the early years baseball teams were quite willing to leave behind their real home field in order to temporarily borrow a bigger cross-town venue during the all-important World Series. What is particularly weird is the fact that three of these four occasions were in Boston, where the Red Sox and Braves flip-flopped in using each others' brand new stadiums during three consecutive years. For you trivia buffs, there were three World Series in which all of the games were played in the very same stadium because both teams called the same place "home": In 1921 and 1922 (at the Polo Grounds), and in 1944 (at Sportsman's Park).

Stadium City Host Team Guest Team From To
Polo Grounds New York Giants Yankees 1913 1922
Fenway Park Boston Red Sox Braves Aug. 1914
(incl. World Series)
Aug. 1915
Braves Field Boston Braves Red Sox 1915, 1916 (World Series only)
Comiskey Park Chicago White Sox Cubs 1918 (World Series only)
Sportsman's Park St. Louis Browns Cardinals 1920 1953
Shibe Park Philadelphia Athletics Phillies 1938 1954
Dodger Stadium Los Angeles Dodgers Angels 1962 1965
Shea Stadium New York Mets Yankees 1974 1975

"Hand-me-down" stadiums

KC Municipal Stadium

Five teams moved into stadiums that had been previously abandoned by other teams, and in four of those cases it was no more than a few years later. In the first such case, an established franchise team (the Cubs) took up residence in the brand new home of a short-lived team (the Whales) from the upstart Federal League, and they have been there ever since. In the next three cases, expansion franchises were awarded to cities as a "consolation" prize after the previous teams left town. In two of those cases the existing stadiums were already several decades old, and construction began on new stadiums almost immediately. In the fourth case, however, the existing County Stadium was not really that old, and in fact, construction on it had never even been completed. It was soon expanded in keeping with the original design, and the Brewers (who had been known as the Seattle Pilots for one season) stayed in it for three full decades. In the final case, the Washington Nationals (formerly known as the Montreal Expos) just took up temporary residence in RFK Stadium, which at 44 years was the second oldest stadium into which any relocated franchise ever moved. Memorial Coliseum was 45 years old when the Dodgers moved into it in 1958, but it had never before been used for major league baseball, and thus does not fit in this category.

Stadium City Original team Years
there
Left
after
Where to? Pre-MLB
years
Years
vacant
Total
age
New team Arrived Years
there
Wrigley (Weeghman) Field Chicago Whales 2 1915 Oblivion 0 0 2 Cubs 1916 88+
Polo Grounds New York Giants 47 1957 San Francisco 0 4 51 Mets 1962 2
Municipal Stadium Kansas City Athletics 13 1967 Oakland 32 1 46 Royals 1969 4
County Stadium Milwaukee Braves 13 1965 Atlanta 1 4 18 Brewers 1970 31
RFK Stadium Washington Senators 10 1971 Arlington, Texas 1 33 44 Nationals 2005 3

Teams with two "home" stadiums

Hiram Bithorn Stadium

These strange cases had quite diverse origins, ranging all the way from reasonably expedient adaptation to circumstances on one hand, to crassly opportunistic ventures on the other. Likewise, the distance between the two "home" stadiums varied from a few miles to thousands of miles. In general, the shorter the distance, the longer the time during which this arrangement continued. In the case of the Expos, MLB officials wanted to find out whether local governments in Puerto Rico were enthusiastic enough to commit to supporting a major league team. It is also, apparently, a bargaining ploy to get officials in the Washington area or Portland to cough up more public money for a new stadium. In the case of Oakland, it was a real (though short-lived) emergency, as their stadium was still undergoing renovation at the beginning of the 1996 season.

Home city Team Home stadium Other city Other stadium When? Why?
Boston Red Sox Fenway Park Boston Braves Field 1929-1931 Accommodate varying crowd size
Cleveland Indians League Park Cleveland Cleveland Municipal Stadium 1936-1946 Accommodate varying crowd size
Brooklyn Dodgers Ebbets Field Jersey City Roosevelt Stadium 1956-1957 Pressure for new stadium
Chicago White Sox Comiskey Park Milwaukee County Stadium 1968-1969 Broaden fan base (vacancy)
Montreal Expos Olympic Stadium San Juan, P.R. Hiram Bithorn Stadium 2003-2004 Broaden fan base, pressure for new stadium

Neutral & "special occasion" stadiums

TokyoDome

In the early decades of professional baseball, teams were often forced to play in "neutral" venues -- i.e., ballparks that were not home to any major league team -- because of damage caused by fire or other extenuating circumstances. This table does not attempt to cover all those cases. As the 20th Century progressed, however, this practice of using "neutral" venues virtually ceased. Most of the stadiums listed below were used because MLB officials decided to hold legitimate, regulation games in them as part of an effort to promote international interest in the sport. There was supposed to be a pair of games between the Mariners and the Athletics in the Tokyo Dome at the beginning of the 2003 season, but security concerns related to the war in Iraq led MLB officials to reschedule those games back in the States.

NOTE: In addition, promotion-oriented exhibition games were held just prior to Opening Day in a variety of minor league ballparks across the South for many years, and in more recent years at such big-league-size facilities such as the Superdome in New Orleans and RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Playing host to such unofficial games does not qualify a stadium as a major league ballpark, however.


Stadium City Normal home team Built Capacity LF CF RF "Home team"
(visitors)
Date Occasion / reason
Cashman Field Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas 51s 1983 9,500 328 433 328 Athletics (...) April 1996 Construction delays on renovations of Oakland Coliseum.
Estadio Monterrey Monterrey, Mexico Sultanes 1990 27,000 325 400 325 Padres (Mets) Aug. 1996 1st ever MLB games (3) in Mexico;
market-expanding promotion.
Padres (Rockies) Apr. 1999 Opening day;
market-expanding promotion.
Aloha Stadium Honolulu, HI Hawaii Islanders (until 1987) 1975 50,000 325 420 325 Padres (Cardinals) Apr. 19-20, 1997 Market-expanding promotion.
Shea Stadium New York, NY Mets 1964 56,000 338 410 338 Yankees (...) April 15, 1998 Repairs on Yankee Stadium.
Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan Yomiuri Giants 1988 55,000 328 400 328 Mets & Cubs; Apr. 2000 Opening day; 1st ever MLB game outside N. America
Yankees & Devil Rays Mar. 27-28, 2004 Opening day
Red Sox & Athletics Mar. 25-26, 2008 Opening day
Mariners & Athletics Mar. 28-29, 2012 Opening day
Hiram Bithorn Stadium San Juan, P.R. Senators,
(Santurce) Crabbers
1962 20,000 315 399 313 Blue Jays vs. Rangers Apr. 2001 Opening day
325 404 323 Mets vs. Marlins June 28-30, 2010 Promotion
U.S. Cellular Field Chicago, IL White Sox 1991 40,615 330 400 335 Marlins (Expos) Sept. 10-11, 2004 To avoid Hurricane Ivan in Miami.
Miller Park Milwaukee, WI Brewers 2001 41,900 344 400 345 Indians (Angels) April, 2007 To avoid snow storm in Ohio.
Astros (Cubs) Sept. 14-15, 2008 To avoid Hurricane Ike in Houston.
Champion Stadium (Disney's Wide World of Sports) Orlando, FL Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2007 9,500 335 400 335 Devil Rays (Rangers, Blue Jays) May 15-17, 2007; April 2008 To broaden fan base in Florida.
Safeco Field Seattle, WA Mariners 1999 48,000 331 405 326 Marlins (Mariners) June 24-26, 2011 Games displaced by U2 concert at Sun Life Stadium.

SOURCES: Lowry (2006), Washington Post

WEB SITES: Tokyo Dome , Monterrey Sultans, Charles O'Reilly, www.retrosheet.org, Aloha Stadium.


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