Lane Field (baseball)


Lane Field (baseball)

Lane Field was a former baseball stadium located in San Diego, California. The ballpark was home to the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League from 1936 through 1957.

The ballpark was located in downtown San Diego, at the end of West Broadway near the waterfront. Broadway bounded the park to the south (first base). Its other two close bounding streets were Harbor Drive (third base) and Pacific Highway (right field). There were various buildings to the north (left field) between the ballpark and Ash Street.

Before it was called Lane Field, the stadium began its life as a U.S. Navy athletic field in 1925. Two years later, football bleachers were added. The field also had a track, used for motorcycle and auto races. When Bill "Hardpan" Lane relocated his Hollywood Stars from the Los Angeles area in 1936, he arranged for the Works Progress Administration to rebuild the venue as a baseball park. Although the WPA was known by the derisive nickname "We Putter Around", there was apparently no puttering in this project, as they finished the work in just two months time.

The new construction had a temporary look to it. The park had no roof, no lights, and not even a backstop. Its bleachers sat 8,000. The original entrance, a small Spanish-architecture structure, was retained for the ballpark, behind where the home plate area was established.

According to a 2004 "San Diego Union-Tribune" article, the original field dimensions were 339 feet to the left field foul pole, 480 to the deepest part of center field, and 355 feet to right, a large rectangle. Along with the other remodeling, the dimensions were eventually reduced to a more normal size: 329 to left, 426 to center, 330 to right.

The first Padres game at Lane Field was played on March 31, 1936. The next year, a roof was added over the main part of the seating, and attendance improved. Heading toward winning the PCL pennant that year also helped draw the fans in, and the presence of the young local sensation Ted Williams did not hurt either.

The Padres would win another PCL pennant in 1954. By then they had begun to look for a new facility. The wooden park, so near the waterfront in a presumably picturesque setting, was also constantly in need of repair and replacement of its boards, which tended to rot quickly in the sea air.

Lane Field was finally abandoned by the Padres following the 1957 PCL season. The next season, the team shifted to the new Westgate Park, located in San Diego's Mission Valley area.

The site of Lane Field is now Cruise Ship Parking, a parking lot between Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive which is used by cruise ship passengers. It is located approximately halfway between the museum ships Star of India and USS Midway. A plaque at the corner of Broadway and Pacific Highway commemorates the ballpark:

External links

* [http://www.sandiegohistory.org/collections/sports/baseball.htm Photos including its previous incarnation as a track]
* [http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040404/news_mz1x4previou.html Union-Tribune article about San Diego ballparks]

References

* cite book
last = Swank
first = Bill
authorlink = Bill Swank
title = Baseball in San Diego: From the Padres to Petco (Images of Baseball)
publisher = Arcadia Publishing
date = 2004
id = ISBN 0-7385-3261-4


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