Albuquerque Sports Stadium


Albuquerque Sports Stadium

Albuquerque Sports Stadium was a baseball stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, which was built in 1969 as a modern replacement for the aging Tingley Field. The ballpark had a seating capacity of 10510, though it occasionally accommodated much larger crowds.ref|isotopes

The stadium was located at the northeast corner of University Boulevard and Avenida Cesar Chavez, where Isotopes Park now stands.

Design

Albuquerque Sports Stadium was built in a bowl excavated out of a large hill, so the playing field was significantly below grade level.ref|different The dimensions of the park were 360 feet to left field, 350 feet to right field, and 425 feet to center, approximately the same size as Tingley Field.ref|remembering The stadium was a fairly basic facility with a central concessions area, offices, and ticketing behind a single-level grandstand. One of the park's most unusual features was a "drive in" area in right field where fans could watch the game from their cars.

History

Tingley Field had been the home of Albuquerque's professional baseball teams since the Depression, and it was starting to show its age by the 1960s. City officials hoped a large new stadium located near the other sports venues in southeast Albuquerque would have a major economic impact and help the city attract a Triple-A team in the near future. Support was widespread, and in a 1968 special election voters approved US$1 million in bonds for the project. This included $100,000 for the renovation of Tingley Field, with the rest going towards the new stadium.ref|different2

Albuquerque Sports Stadium was designed by Albuquerque architect Max Flatow and cost just $1.4 million. It opened on March 31 1969, with an exhibition game between the San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Indians played in front of an overflow crowd of 13,767.ref|recollections The first batter to step up to the plate in the new stadium was Willie Mays.

The ballpark's first tenants were the Albuquerque Dodgers of the Double-A Texas League. In 1972 the city succeeded in acquiring a Triple-A team, the Pacific Coast League Albuquerque Dukes. The Dukes remained at Albuquerque Sports Stadium for the next 28 years. By the late 1990s, however, the stadium had become the second oldest in the league and was in disrepair. Dukes owner Bob Lozinak sold the team franchise to Portland in 2000, and Albuquerque Sports Stadium was torn down shortly thereafter. Isotopes Park was built in its place in 2003. Although supposedly a renovation of the old stadium, Isotopes Park was built almost entirely from scratch, and little of the old ballpark remains apart from the playing field.

Many Dodger greats, including much of the championship teams of the Dodgers from the 1970s skippered by Tommy Lasorda played at the Albuquerque Sports Stadium, including Steve Garvey, Mike Piazza, and Paul Lo Duca.

References


# Carlton, Jeff (July 21 2003). "Isotopes score in stands." "The Albuquerque Tribune".
# Maese, Rick A. (May 30 2001). "Different time, different place." "The Albuquerque Tribune".
# Kailer, J.D. (September 1 2003). "Remembering Grand, Old Tingley." "The Albuquerque Journal".
# "Different time, different place."
# Wright, Rick (April 4 2004). "Recollections of Great Time in '69." "The Albuquerque Journal".

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