Memorial Stadium (Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles)

Memorial Stadium (Baltimore)

This article was written by David Stinson

Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, home of the Orioles from 1954 to 1991 (DAVID STINSON)

Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, home of the Orioles from 1954 to 1991 (DAVID STINSON)


Memorial Stadium was located at 900 East 33rd Street in Baltimore, a mile northeast of Oriole Parks (I)-(V).1 Memorial Stadium was the home of the American League Baltimore Orioles from 1954 to 1991, and the National Football League Baltimore Colts from 1953 through 1983.2

Memorial Stadium was built on the site of Municipal Stadium, also known as Venable Stadium, Baltimore Stadium, and Babe Ruth Stadium.3 In December 1921, Mayor William F. Broenig announced plans to build a city stadium that would house, without charge, “important football games,” as well as “high school games and other athletic meets, for pageants and civic meetings at a nominal charge.”4 Several locations were considered for the stadium, including the former Mount Royal Reservoir, near Druid Hill Park, and Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Field.5

Ultimately the city decided on Venable Park for the stadium site, and the stadium’s name.6 Ned Hanlon, manager of the 1890s National League champion Orioles, who also was involved in bringing the Eastern League Orioles to Baltimore in 1903, and the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins in 1914 and 1915, was a member of the city Park Board that selected Venable Park as the location for the stadium.7 The construction cost for the earthen stadium with wood bleacher seats was estimated at $325,000.8 Located on a 15-acre parcel, the stadium was designed to be “40 feet high from the surface of the athletic field to the top of the rows of seats,” with an “inside width, from barrier to barrier,” of 340 feet, an “inside length of 600 feet,” and a seating space of “100 feet wide all around, except at the opening.”9 The stadium included “a 15-foot walkway at the top for standing room and walking about.”10

On May 8, 1922, the same week that New York broke ground for Yankee Stadium, Baltimore broke ground on Venable Park, with Mayor Broening and Theodore Mottu, a member of the Park Board, welding the pickax and shovel.11 At the event, J. Cookman Boyd, president of the Park, said, “[t]here has been enough talking about a stadium. We’ve stopped talking and are down to work.”12 The city’s construction schedule was tight; it pledged to have the stadium ready in time for the December 2, 1922, annual football game between the US Army’s Third Corps Area and the US Marine Corps.13 In addition, the mayor stated:

When completed the stadium will seat between 40,000 to 45,000 people, but the nature of the ground is such that with a minimum expenditure the land can be built up to enlarge the seating capacity. In addition, it will have an emergency capacity of about 15,000.14

By October 1922, the playing surface was covered with sod in preparation for the Army-Marine football game.15 As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

Work on the stadium is being pushed to the utmost. Contracts for small frame buildings to house the showers and other facilities have been let. Construction of the temporary wooden seats to accommodate 43,000 persons will be completed in a few days.16

The stadium was “divided into 39 sections of 1,100 seats each.”17 In October the city arranged for installation of a trolley-car line to the stadium, running along Montebello Avenue to the stadium.18 According to the Sun:

Announcement was made by Herbert B. Flowers; vice-president and general manager of the United Railways, that the car line to the Stadium would be completed by next Wednesday. Tracks were laid to Thirty-third street yesterday, and by noon today the line will be extended 900 feet past Thirty-third street, the tentative end of the trolley.19

The seven-month construction project cost the city $458,000.20 It included “modern” amenities to the stadium, including telephones, lights, and a radio station:

The movements of the game will be gathered through a regulation army field telephone system, similar to the ones established on the battle field, and “spies” will be stationed throughout the “sectors” of Venable Stadium, who will tell what they see to the chief scorer. They will be in speaking communication with the scorer at every stage of the game.

Arrangements were made yesterday for placing of telephones in boxes to be occupied by John W. Weeks, secretary of war, and Edwin Denby, secretary of the Navy. The Third Corps Area will install a radio station at the bowl and the plays of the game will be broadcasted over the country.

Stadium to Be Illuminated

The Stadium will be in a completed stage tonight and will be illuminated for the first time, J. Cookman Boyd, president of the Park Board, said.21

A parade was scheduled for the morning of the inaugural game.22 Soldiers and Marines numbering 12,000 assembled at Mount Vernon Place, with the parade proceeding on Cathedral Street, Maryland Avenue, Charles Street and Thirty-Third Street to the stadium.23 As for the stadium dedication:

The dedicatory ceremonies will be simple – the raising of a flag on the high flagstaff, the national anthem by the massed bands, with 10,000 or more soldiers and marines standing at salute, while the 30,000 civilians bare their heads. Then the game.24

President Warren G. Harding listened to the game by radio:

In the quiet Washington, in the quieter study of the White House, the President of the United States and Mrs. Harding heard it all. The boom and crackle of the Marine and Army yells came to them, the songs that rose from a choir of 5,000 voices and the story of the game told by a calm-voiced Marine sergeant who stood on the side lines, buffeted by the storm of a crowd gone pleasantly mad, and talked conversationally into a megaphone mounted on a tripod.25

The Marines defeated Army, 13-12 in front of a crowd of 43,034 seated, 10,000 standing on the sidelines, and 7,000 outside the stadium who could see the field.26 The game grossed $35,000 from ticket sales alone.27


Fan photo of entrance to Municipal Stadium on 33rd Street, circa 1930s. Courtesy of David B. Stinson.

Fan photo of entrance to Municipal Stadium on 33rd Street, circa 1930s. Courtesy of David B. Stinson.


Baltimore continued adding to the stadium over the next few years, increasing the seating capacity of the stadium to 74,000.28 The Parks Board also paid to pave streets surrounding the stadium.29 A formal front entrance, costing an estimated $150,000, was added as well:

Fronting on Thirty-third street and of pure Grecian style of architecture, it is to be a brick structure, faced with concrete. …

With colonnade walls on either side, the main building will resemble the front of the White House in Washington; it will contain a reception hall 20 by 30 feet, entered from an imposing lobby. On one side of the lobby there will be a modern hospital room. Opposite will be a gracefully winding staircase leading to the second floor, with an office room on the side.

Other features of the first floor include a large room for the use of the players and shower baths and lavatories, entered from the main lobby.

To the left of the staircase, second floor, there will be a banquet hall 30 by 54 feet, with facilities to seat 200 persons. A committee room, service room, baths and lavatories will occupy the remaining half of the second floor. The ceiling of the banquet hall will be 19 feet from the floor. On the third floor will be a loft for storage purposes.30

Above the entrance was a sign stating “Baltimore Stadium.”31 Although the stadium continued to be called Venable Park or Venable Stadium for a while, eventually the names Baltimore Stadium, Municipal Stadium, and Baltimore Municipal Stadium took root.

In 1924 the stadium hosted the Army-Navy football game. The celebration included a parade of Navy midshipmen and Army cadets proceeding to the stadium from Clifton Park, with “tens of thousands” lining the parade route.32 President Calvin Coolidge attended the game, and a luncheon that preceded it.33 The president and his party spent the first half of the game sitting on the Navy side of the stadium and the second half on the Army side.34 Army defeated Navy 12-0 on four dropkicks.35

In January 1925 the Park Board approved a resolution to restrict stadium use “to such events only as are worthy of its importance.”36 The head of the Park Board stated his opposition to “any effort” to add a baseball diamond to the stadium.37 Ned Hanlon, still a member of the Park Board, voted against the resolution.38 By June 1926 the stadium had reached a capacity of 83,000, and already was showing its age.39 The city began plans to replace the original 42,000 seats that had been “rotting gradually.”40 Over the years, upkeep of the wooden benches was a constant problem, with every year between 10,000 and 20,000 seats “shown to be dangerously rotten.”41 In September 1932 the cost of the stadium had “doubled to $1 million because of the constant replacement of rotting seats.”42 In October 1936 the city began installing new wooden seats, preserved with chemicals, that had a lifetime of 20 years.43 By 1940 the city condemned 20,000 stadium seats as unsafe and ordered their replacement.44

The city continued to use the stadium for high-school and college football games, as well as various events, such as Easter sunrise services.45 On September 6, 1943, the Green Bay Packers played the Washington Redskins in the first professional football game played there.46 The Packers won, 23-21.47 Several more professional football exhibition and charity games were played at the stadium throughout the 1940s.48 However, the stadium stood empty more than it was used, with some critics referring to Municipal Stadium as “Lonely Acres.”49

On July 4, 1944, Oriole Park (V), home of the International League Baltimore Orioles, was destroyed by a fire.50 Mayor Theodore R. McKeldin arrived at the ballpark while it was still burning and offered the Orioles the use of Municipal Stadium for the remainder of the season.51 During a 12-day period that the Orioles were on the road, Municipal Stadium was converted for baseball.52 The Orioles played their first game there on July 16, 1944, with the Orioles defeating the Jersey City Giants in a doubleheader, 9-3 and 10-1.53 As for the reconfigured stadium:

The majority of the sun-baked 12,999 fans approved of the baseball layout as constructed under the direction of Orioles Business Manager Herb Armstrong, and so did right-handed hitters all over the International League. Many agreed the temporary, emergency job had been well done and that the new field offered an excellent test of baseball skills, except for the short left field (290 feet).

They liked the wide-open spaces in center and right fields which gave speedsters an opportunity to show off their talent when they drove the ball between the outfielders. There were six triples in the first two games, a sight seldom seen at Oriole Park.54

The Orioles’ first seven days of that initial homestand attracted 63,500 fans to Municipal Stadium, with the Orioles winning nine of 10 games.55 The three-week homestand ended with the Orioles winning 21 games and losing 6 before 167,000 fans.56 In August 1944 Mayor McKeldin revealed plans for rebuilding Municipal Stadium, noting that Baltimore “has made an impressive demonstration that it is in fact a baseball city that merits representation in a major league.”57

The Orioles won the International League pennant that 1944 season.58 On October 2 members of Ned Hanlon’s family (he had died in 1937) visited Municipal Stadium and presented Baltimore native and Orioles manager Tommy Thomas with a loving cup designed by Hanlon in 1919.59 According to the Baltimore Sun:

It was not a new trophy, Hanlon having offered it in competition during the old days of the Eastern Shore League, the Blue Ridge League and the Middle Atlantic League. It was returned to him about ten years ago, and when members of the Hanlon family, who have followed the Orioles closely this year, found the town baseball crazy, they decided to have the trophy engraved and presented personally to the present Oriole manager. …

The trophy is 15 inches in height and is typically baseball in design. The handles are represented by bats and it stands on a baseball base.60

The Orioles’ arrival at Municipal Stadium marked a turning point for Municipal Stadium and professional baseball in Baltimore. On October 9, 1944, the Orioles played their first home game of the Little World Series at Municipal Stadium, losing to the Louisville Colonels, 5-4, in front of 52,833.61 That same night, the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns played in the World Series in front of 31,630 spectators.62 The Orioles closed out the final two home games of the Little World Series in Baltimore, defeating the Colonels 10-0 and 5-3, and winning the series before a total attendance for the three home games of 95,882.63

The baseball world took notice.64 Sportswriter Grantland Rice noted:

The situation today is something of a joke. While the Cardinals and Browns were playing a World Series game before a less-than capacity 31,630 spectators, Baltimore and Louisville, two so-called minor league teams, were playing to 52,833 fans in Baltimore in a Junior World Series contest. Baltimore has no big-league team and St. Louis has two. Baltimore will draw 60,000 for any Navy-Notre Dame football game. It will draw close to 40,000 for any pro-football game.

Baltimore is a stronger sporting center than St. Louis, but has no big league club, while St. Louis has two. If this is to be continued suppose we drop the names majors and minor leagues. It doesn’t make any sense. The time isn’t very far away when you’ll see a very decided change – or a big revolt against the present senseless system. This can’t go on forever.65

In the fall of 1944, a crowd of 65,000 came to see Navy defeat Notre Dame, 32-13, at Municipal Stadium.66 On December 2, 1944, a crowd of 80,000 watched Army beat Navy, 23-7, in a game that decided college football’s national championship.67

In March 1945 the Orioles signed a lease with the city promising $250 rent per game.68 In January 1946 The Orioles negotiated a new lease with the city, after threatening to move the Orioles to another city.69 The bankrupt Miami Seahawks of the All-American Football Conference moved to Baltimore for the 1947 season and were renamed the Baltimore Colts by a fan contest.70 On September 7, 1947, the Colts defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers 16-7, with 27,418 in attendance.71

The Negro American League Baltimore Elite Giants requested permission to play exhibition games in Municipal Stadium in August 1945, but were turned down by the Park Board, ostensibly because of conflicts in the stadium schedule.72 Citing objections from the surrounding neighborhood to the noise and disruption caused by baseball games at the stadium, the Park Board “deemed it inadvisable to grant permission for the use of the Stadium to baseball clubs operated for profit other than the Baltimore Orioles.”73 Not until 1950 were the Elite Giants permitted to play games at Municipal Stadium.74 On May 12, 1950, a crowd of more than 10,000 watched them defeat the Philadelphia Stars, 4-3, in the opening game of the Negro American League season.75 As noted by the Afro-American:

A shirt-sleeved crowd of 10,511 cash customers took advantage of the first opportunity to see an all-colored contest in Baltimore’s Municipal Stadium, and were treated to as dramatic a finish as had ever been put on at Bugle Field, the locals’ old home ground.76

In 1945 Roger H. Pippen, sports editor of the Baltimore News-Post, began what turned out to be a decade-long crusade to have a new stadium built, including the prospect of adding a roof over the current stadium, in hopes of bringing major-league baseball back to Baltimore.77 The city considered building a covered stadium seating 100,000 at the Municipal Stadium site, or possibly at another site in the city.78 Ultimately, the city decided to build a new stadium on the site of Municipal Stadium.79 In 1947 voters approved a $2.5 million bond for construction of a new stadium. It ultimately covered only part of the cost.80

With the death of Babe Ruth on August 16, 1948, a controversy erupted over the naming of the proposed new stadium, with Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro and some members of the Park Board deciding to “‘dedicate’ the proposed new stadium to Maryland’s dead in World War II and to name it the Babe Ruth Stadium,”81 A wooden sign stating “Babe Ruth Stadium” was hung at the entrance to Municipal Stadium.82 Public outrage grew over the Park Board’s hasty selection of the stadium name, with some calling for it to be named as a memorial to Marylanders killed in World War II.83 In October 1948 the Gold Star Mothers sought to have the structure renamed Memorial Stadium.”84 Some called for the defeat of a second stadium loan being sought on the November ballot unless the name was changed.85 Baltimore political activist Marie Bauernschmidt argued for a “suitable tablet to adorn the facade of the building to be erected next year,” honoring those who have “made the supreme sacrifice.”86

In March 1949 Baltimore City requested bids on demolition and alterations to Baltimore Stadium.87 On November 31 Mayor D’Alesandro approved “a veteran’s committee’s request that the official name of municipal stadium be changed to ‘The Baltimore Memorial Stadium.’”88 The Mayor’s Stadium Commission also resolved that “a recreation area be established at the Old Oriole Baseball Park on Twenty-ninth street as a memorial to Babe Ruth, and that it be named ‘The Babe Ruth Recreational Center.’”89 The stadium was renamed “as a tribute to the city’s World War II dead.”90

In December 1949 the city accepted the low bid of $747,345 submitted by DeLuca-Davis Construction Company and Frederick D. Carrozza Company for construction of 10,310 permanent seats at Memorial Stadium.91 The bid was part of the first phase of the stadium construction extending the seating bowl, which included 20,440 additional seats, for a total of 30,750.92 In 1950, with the support of Mayor D’Alesandro, voters approved a second bond, paving the way for completion of the new stadium.93

In October 1952 the city unveiled its plans to complete the stadium’s second deck, increasing seating to 62,500.94 The city sought construction bids in February 1953, with the project scheduled for completion in April 1954.95 The city began its stadium expansion project in April 1953.96

In September 1953 the Colts returned to Baltimore and Memorial Stadium, after having left the NFL following the 1950 season.97 On September 20 the Colts played an exhibition game at Memorial Stadium against the Washington Redskins before a crowd of 22,800.98 The following week the Colts began the regular season with a win against the Chicago Bears before a crowd of 23,715.99 The Colts would play the next 30 years at Memorial Stadium.

The 1953 International League Orioles finished with a record of 82-72, fourth in the league, with a home attendance of 207,182.100 The Orioles played their final home games that season at Memorial Stadium in September 1953, with games against the Rochester Red Wings during the International League semifinal playoffs.101 They won on September 17 and 18102 but lost their final game at Memorial Stadium and traveled to Rochester where they lost the last two games and the playoff series, four games to three.103 That was to be the final season of the International League Baltimore Orioles.

On March 14, 1953, Mayor D’Alesandro reached an agreement with Bill Veeck, owner of the St. Louis Browns, to bring the Browns to Baltimore.104 On September 29, 1953, the American League voted 8 to 0 to allow the Browns franchise to move to Baltimore.105 Two earlier votes by the league had failed to approve the sale, one on September 27, 1953, by a tie vote, and the other in March 1953, by a vote of 5 to 2.106 Attorney Clarence W. Miles of Baltimore agreed to purchase 80 percent of the Browns stock for $2,450,000, and the team was named the Baltimore Orioles.107 Browns owner Bill Veeck agreed to remain with the team “temporarily in order to help get things rolling.”108 The earlier league votes had failed because the Browns owners sought to retain some ownership in the Baltimore franchise.109

The International League Orioles were bought out for $350,000, with Jack Dunn III, their owner, given a five-year contract with the American League Orioles.110

The Orioles inaugural Opening Day was held at Memorial Stadium on April 15, 1954. An estimated 350,000 people lined a 3.4-mile parade route from 34th Street to City Hall.111 Connie Mack, owner-manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, and Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators, took part in the parade.112 Vice President Richard M. Nixon threw out the game’s first pitch, standing next to club President Clarence Miles and Governor McKeldin.113 The Orioles defeated the Chicago White Sox 3-1, before a crowd of 48,000, with a paid attendance of 46,354. Bob Turley started the game and ended up the winning pitcher.114

As for the stadium, the New York Times observed:

Although considerable polishing of the rough edges on reconstructed Memorial Stadium remains to be done, the arena was ready enough for the occasion. … It’s a fine ball park and a worthy acquisition by the major leagues. … A novel touch was the picnic-on-the-green enjoyed by standing-room customers who assembled on the terraced turf behind the six-foot wire fence that runs across center field from the wings of the permanent concrete stands.

Memorial Stadium is a symmetrical park. Each foul-line measures 309 feet. From that point, however, the fourteen-foot wall angles sharply away from the plate to a depth of 447 feet in right and center-field. … The huge center-field scoreboard, erected only last Monday, miraculously was in operation. Its works involve more than forty miles of electric wire. Erected by a local brewing company, it cost $172,000.115

On September 9, 1954, Mayor D’Alesandro helped lay Memorial Stadium’s cornerstone near the main entrance to the stadium before a game between the Orioles and the New York Yankees.116 A sealed box containing an autographed baseball, a scorecard, and other memorabilia was placed behind the stone before it was moved into place.117 A final inspection of the stadium was held on October 8, with R.E.L. Williams, the building construction engineer, and the builder, Joseph F. Hughes Company.118

A plaque honoring Babe Ruth, “Baltimore’s Most Famous Baseball Son,” was installed at the ballpark and dedicated on August 13, 1955, with Claire Merritt Hodgson Ruth, Babe Ruth’s widow, and Mamie Moberly, his sister, in attendance.119 The plaque, erected by the Old Timers Baseball Association of Maryland, recognized Ruth as the “Greatest Slugger in the history of the National Pastime. His home run prowess with the New York Yankees, never equaled, earned him the title ‘Sultan of Swat.’”120

Memorial Stadium (Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles)

Memorial Stadium (Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles)


On Memorial Day 1956, Baltimore formally dedicated Memorial Stadium between games of an Orioles-Red Sox doubleheader.121 A crowd of 33,791 “jammed Memorial Stadium to watch the game and see the stadium dedicated to war dead from Baltimore.122 Mayor D’Alesandro led the dedication, assisted by James C. Anderson, president of the Park Board, and Maj. Gen. Raleigh R. Hendrix, antiaircraft commander for the 2nd Army.”123 The ceremony honored “[m]others whose children were killed in either world war and the Korean conflict.”124 A five-minute memorial program was held between games.125 The mayor presented a brass urn to Anderson to take to France and fill it “with earth from all the American military cemeteries in Europe.”126 The mayor also presented the Gold Star Mothers delegation a floral tribute, acting as honorary escorts, Ted Williams, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, and Chuck Diering, a World War II veteran, who “carried the flowers to the center-field flagpole as players of both teams lined the first and third-base lines.”127

Above the front entrance to the stadium on 33rd Street was a memorial wall with the following dedication:

As A Memorial To All Who So Valiantly Fought And Served In The World Wars With Eternal Gratitude To Those Who Made The Ultimate Supreme Sacrifice To Preserve Equality And Freedom Throughout The World.

Time Will Not Dim The Glory Of Their Deeds.128

The last line of the dedication is a quote from General John J. Pershing, who commanded the American Expeditionary Force in World War I.129 The urn containing earth from United States military cemeteries was encased in the memorial wall.130

Baltimore hosted the All-Star Game on July 8, 1958, before 48,829 spectators.131 The city added temporary platforms in front of the stands, extending from the dugouts to the left- and right-field corners to hold 1,500 additional chairs and raise the ballpark’s seating capacity from 47,778 to 49,278.132

In 1961 the city made the first of several structural changes to the ballpark, inserting “field-edge boxes, lowering the 8-foot wall that had distanced the fans from the players, and shrinking a foul ground that had bedeviled fielders and batters alike.”133 In 1964 the city added escalators and extended the upper deck on either end of the stadium’s horseshoe, increasing its capacity to 54,017.134 The city also replaced wood benches with metal benches, and installed seats or chair backs in the upper deck.135 Additional changes over the next 20 years included renovation of the press box and its restaurant-lounge, and “on the mezzanine, the closing of several sections to make an owner’s box, a Designated Hitters box, additional broadcasting boxes and several corporation-rental sky boxes.”136 In 1985 the city added office space and fan restrooms to the exterior of the ballpark facing 33rd Street.137

The original center-field scoreboard was installed by the Spencer Display Corporation in 1954, with the $152,000 cost being covered by advertising dollars from the Gunther Brewing Company.138 The scoreboard was 65 feet tall with a clock advertising Longines watches and took a crew of two to operate.139 The city installed a $903,000 electronic scoreboard in 1970 advertising National Beer.140 As noted by the Baltimore Sun, “[w]hile this is electronic age, 12,468 light bulbs, 377,135 electrical connections, 14,997 relays and 123,848 solid-state components represents a lot of potential for typographical human error.”141 In 1985, next to the main scoreboard, the city installed a Diamond Vision video scoreboard to broadcast replays.142

Both the Colts and the Orioles made sports history during their years at Memorial Stadium. The Colts were the NFL champions in 1958 and 1959, and won Super Bowl V in 1971.143 The 1959 championship was won in Memorial Stadium, 31-16 over the New York Giants, before a crowd of 57,545.144 The 1959 game, played at Yankee Stadium, is considered by many to be “the greatest game ever played.”145 Chicago Tribune sportswriter Cooper Rollow famously described the scene of a Colts game at Memorial Stadium as “the world’s largest outdoor insane asylum.”146

During a playoff game between the Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976, an airplane crashed into the stadium’s upper deck. “Fortunately,” wrote an observer, “the game had been a rout, and spectators began leaving early in the fourth quarter. Had the score been close, the crowd would have remained and there is no way to approximate the extent of the casualties.”147 The Colts played their last home game at Memorial Stadium on December 18, 1983, a 20-10 victory over the Houston Oilers before 20,418.148 Mayflower moving trucks containing the team’s belongings departed Memorial Stadium on March 28, 1984, for the Colts’ new home in Indianapolis, and Baltimore was left without a football team for after 31 seasons.149

The Orioles won three World Series championships at Memorial Stadium, in 1966, 1970, and 1983. They clinched the 1966 World Series at Memorial Stadium with a 1-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the 1970 World Series with a 9-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.150 The Orioles lost three other World Series, in 1969, 1971, and 1979. Oriole Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer holds the distinction of having played in each of the Orioles’ six World Series.151

The Orioles played their final game at Memorial Stadium on October 6, 1991, a 7-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers in front of a sellout crowd of 50,700.152 That game helped the 1991 Orioles set the team’s single-season attendance record for the ballpark at 2,552,753.153 During a pregame ceremony, Brooks Robinson and Johnny Unitas threw “out the ‘last’ first balls.”154 Mike Flanagan was on the mound for the final pitch, and after the game many famed Orioles returned to the field one last time while the public-address system played James Horner’s Field of Dreams soundtrack. A Sun sportswriter noted that “Frank Robinson made the last run from third base to the plate before it was uprooted and transported to the new stadium. The All-Time Orioles Team was introduced one by one, beginning with Brooks Robinson at third base, then Frank, then Boog Powell and Jim Palmer and a parade of former players that numbered 78 in all.”155

The Orioles moved to Camden Yards after the 1991 season, and the Eastern League Bowie Baysox played their inaugural season at Memorial Stadium in 1993.156 The Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League played their home games there in 1994 and 1995, winning the league championship their second season in Baltimore.157 The NFL Baltimore Ravens played two seasons at Memorial Stadium, 1996 and 1997.158

Demolition of the ballpark began in February 2001.159 Opposition by preservationists momentarily held off destruction of the stadium’s front façade and memorial plaque while the city debated whether a portion of the structure was worth saving.160 Their efforts were unsuccessful and the remaining portion of Memorial Stadium met the wrecking ball.161

The former site of Memorial Stadium as of 2020 was a youth baseball and football field, as well as a YMCA and a retirement center.162 The YMCA gymnasium includes portions of Memorial Stadium’s Ring of Honor hanging above the basketball court.163 Part of the original memorial wall (“Time Will Not Dim The Glory Of Their Deeds”) along with the urn that once was in Memorial Stadium, now reside in a plaza in Camden Yards between Oriole Park (VI) and M&T Bank Stadium.164 The two foul poles installed at Camden Yards were once used at Memorial Stadium and the plaque honoring Babe Ruth that was dedicated at Memorial Stadium in 1955 now is located at Camden Yards on Eutaw Street.165



1 Byron Bennett, “The Six Different Ballparks Known As Oriole Park,”, December 30, 2013, (accessed January 8, 2020).

2 Byron Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds,”, February 12, 2012, (accessed January 8, 2020). The Colts left in March 1984.

3 Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds.”

4 “City-Owned Stadium, Is Demand of Mayor,” Baltimore Sun, December 22, 1921: 15.

5 “City-Owned Stadium.”

6 “Venable Park Is Chosen for Huge Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, April 14, 1922: 24; “Applicants Rush for Stadium Jobs,” Baltimore Sun, April 16, 1922: 4.

7 “Hanlon Now on Park Board,” Baltimore Sun,” October 3, 1916: 9; “Officials Hustling on Army-Navy Game,” Baltimore Sun, April 18, 1922: 24.

8 “Venable Park.”

9 “Venable Park.”

10 “Venable Park.”

11 “Ground Is Broken for New Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, May 9, 1922: 3; John Steadman, “The Seven-Month Miracle, Baltimore’s Original Stadium,” in The House of Magic, 1922-1991, 70 Years of Thrills and Excitement on 33rd Street (Baltimore: Baltimore Orioles, 1991), 76.

12 “Ground Is Broken.”

13 “Ground Is Broken.”

14 “Ground Is Broken.” “

15 “Work on Stadium Pushed to Utmost,” Baltimore Sun, October 7, 1922: 7.

16 “Work on Stadium.”

17 “Officials Inspect Venable Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, October 14, 1922: 3.

18 “To Push Stadium Car Line,” Baltimore Sun, October 26, 1922: 26.

19 Army Declares War on Ticket Scalpers, Intelligence Department Keeping Watch on Army-Marine Game Admissions, Profiteering Is Reported, Car Line to Stadium Will Be Completed Before Day of Contest,” Baltimore Sun, November 22, 1922: 20.

20 Steadman, “The Seven-Month Miracle,” 79.

21 Phones to Be Used in Following Game,” Baltimore Sun, November 30, 1922: 5.

22 “Invites Educators to Army Day Event,” Baltimore Sun, October 19, 1922: 3.

23 “40,000 to See Army-Marine Classic Today,” Baltimore Sun, December 3, 1922: 20.

24 “40,000 to See.”

25 “Baltimore Devotes Day to Football Contest Dedicating Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, December 3, 1922: 1.

26 “70,000 in Stadium for Game, Is Estimate of J. Cookman Boyd,” Baltimore Sun, December 3, 1922: 3.

27 “70,000 in Stadium for Game.”

28 “New Seating Plan for Stadium Ready,” Baltimore Sun, December 11, 1923: 7; 30,000 Additional Seats at Stadium Under Way,” Baltimore Sun, July 30, 1924: 22.

29 “City to Pave Three Streets at Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, May 14, 1924: 3.

30 “Baltimore Stadium as Planned by Park Board,” Baltimore Sun, February 11, 1923: ES24.

31 Charles DeLuca, “Old Baltimore Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, April 22, 1991: 6A.

32 “Parade Gives Throngs Thrill Before Game,” Baltimore Sun, November 30, 1924: 1.

33 “City to Be Host to President Before Game,” Baltimore Sun, November 22, 1924: 22.

34 Chief Executive of United States Merely Glimpsed by Stadium Crowd,” Baltimore Sun, November 30, 1924: 5.

35 Henry Hyde, “Army Downs Navy, 12-0,” Baltimore Sun, November 30, 1924: 1.

36 “Use of Stadium Limited by Vote Of Park Board,” Baltimore Sun, January 7, 1925: 24.

37 “Use of Stadium.”

38 “Use of Stadium.”

39 “New Seats at Stadium Will Be Made oif Wood,” Baltimore Sun, June 29, 1926: 6.

40 “New Seats at Stadium.”

41 “Highlights of Stadium’s History,” Baltimore Sun, November 18, 1979: C4.

42 “Highlights of Stadium’s History.”

43 Stanton Tiernan, “Preserved Seats for the Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, October 18, 1936: M9.

44 “20,000 Stadium Seats Condemned as Unsafe by Buildings Bureau,” Baltimore Sun, September 14, 1940: 24.

45 “Stadium Sets Up All-Time Attendance Record in 1942,” Baltimore Sun, January 15, 1943: 4; “Easter Sunrise Service at Baltimore Stadium, Baltimore Sun, April 6, 1941: M11.

46 “Highlights of Stadium’s History”; Craig E. Taylor, “Redskins Play Here Sunday,” Baltimore Sun, August 29, 1943: SP3.

47 “Highlights of Stadium’s History.”

48 Craig E. Taylor, “Stadium Gets Two Pro Tilts,” Baltimore Sun, May 19, 1944: 14; Craig E. Taylor, “Redskins Get 2 Grid Dates,” Baltimore Sun, January 6, 1945: 10; Craig E. Taylor, “Pro Football Teams Signed,” Baltimore Sun, April 13, 1946: 14.

49 John Steadman, “Goings on in Lonely Acres,” in The House of Magic, 1922-1991, 70 Years of Thrills And Excitement on 33rd Street, 80.

50 James H. Bready, Baseball in Baltimore: The First Hundred Years (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1998), 204-208; Jesse A. Linthicum, “Sunlight on Sports,” Baltimore Sun, July 5, 1944: 15; “Oriole Ball Park Destroyed by Fire,” Baltimore Sun, July 5, 1944: 19.

51 Frank Lynch, “Out of the Ashes,” in The House of Magic, 1922-1991, 70 Years of Thrills And Excitement on 33rd Street, 65; “Orioles Plan Stadium Use for Present,” Baltimore Sun, July 5, 1944: 22.

52 Lynch, 66.

53 Lynch, 66.

54 Lynch, 66-67.

55 Lynch, 68.

56 Lynch, 68.

57 “Huge Baltimore Athletic Stadium Backed by Mayor,” Washington Post, August 31, 1944: 8.

58 Bready, Baseball In Baltimore, 206-209.

59 Jesse A. Linthicum, “Sunlight on Sports,” Baltimore Sun, October 3, 1944: 14.

60 Linthicum.

61 Lynch, 69.

62 Lynch, 69.

63 Lynch, 69.

64 “Oriole Fans Jam Stadium in ‘Big World Series’ Style,” Baltimore Sun, October 10, 1944: 1.

65 Lynch, 70.

66 “65,000 See Navy Eleven Crush Notre Dame,” Baltimore Sun, November 5, 1944: 1.

67 Steadman, “Goings on in Lonely Acres,” 80-81.

68 “Highlights of Stadium’s History.”

69 “Orioles Agree to New Terms for Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, January 25, 1946: 24.

70 “Highlights of Stadium’s History.”

71 “Colts Turn Back Brooklyn By 16-7,” Baltimore Sun, September 8, 1947: 29.

72 “Ruling Due Soon on Stadium Games,” Baltimore Sun, August 8, 1945: 24.

73 “Team Barred Stadium Use,” Baltimore Sun, August 9, 1945: 22.

74 “10,000 Watch Elites Open NAL Season,” Afro-American, May 13, 1950: 18. For reasons unknown, ProQuest Historical Newspapers has this filed under the Baltimore Sun.

75 “10,000 Watch Elites.”

76 “10,000 Watch Elites.”

77 Steadman, “The Great Ballpark Controversy,” in The House of Magic, 1922-1991, 70 Years of Thrills and Excitement on 33rd Street, 71-72.

78 “Stadium Site in Druid Hill Is Proposed,” Baltimore Sun, October 20, 1946: 32.

79 Steadman, “The Great Ballpark Controversy,” 71.

80 Steadman, “The Great Ballpark Controversy,” 72; “Now It’s June, Stadium Plans Again? Ask Cynics,” Baltimore Sun, June 6, 1948: 28; “Stadium Unit’s Possible Costs Undetermined,” Baltimore Sun, October 30, 1948: 24.

81 Linthicum, “Sunlight On Sports,” Baltimore Sun, August 18, 1948: S17; “Babe Ruth’s Name Given To Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, August 21, 1948: 20.

82 “Mayor Backs Stadium Plea, Approves Move to Change Its Name to ‘Memorial’ Bowl,” Baltimore Sun, December 1, 1949: 26.

83 “Stadium Issue to Be Argued, Mothers Called to Meeting on Naming of Memorial,” Baltimore Sun, October 5, 1948: 11.

84 “Stadium Issue to Be Argued”; “P.T.A. Poll Today on Stadium Name,” Baltimore Sun, November 30, 1049: 30.

85 “Mrs. B. Opposes Stadium Loan, Wants Bowl Made Solely a Memorial to War Dead,” Baltimore Sun, October 26, 1948: 8.

86 “Mrs. B. Opposes Stadium Loan”; “Marie Bauernschmidt’s Family,” June 3, 2014, (accessed January 10, 2020).

87 “Proposals: City of Baltimore Department of Public Works,” Baltimore Sun, March 12, 1949: 21.

88 “Mayor Backs Stadium Plea.”

89 “Mayor Backs Stadium Plea.”

90 “Stadium Renamed Memorial Bowl, Park Board Takes Action at Meeting With Veterans,” Baltimore Sun, December 7, 1949: 32.

91 “10,310 Stadium Seats Assured, Low Bid of $747,345 Submitted for Bowl Job,” Baltimore Sun, December 15, 1949: 15.

92 “Stadium Job Is Awarded, 10,310 Additional Seats Due to Be Finished by Spring,” Baltimore Sun, December 22, 1949: 11.

93 Steadman, “The Great Ballpark Controversy,” 72-73.

94 “Highlights of Stadium’s History.”

95 “Bids Sought for Stadium Upper Deck,” Baltimore Sun, February 19, 1953: 34.

96 “Local Stadium Expansion Starts,” Baltimore Sun, April 7, 1953: 13.

97 “Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds, Memorial Stadium: A Commemorative Issue,” Baltimore Sun, September 29, 1991: T4.

98 “Colts’ Slightly Damp Debut Brings Out 22,800 for Game,” Baltimore Sun, September 21, 1953: 28.

99 “And Joy, 23,715 Cheer Colts in Victory,” Baltimore Sun, September 28, 1953: 32.

100 Bready, Baseball in Baltimore, 221-222.

101 “Kerns and Caballero Homer as Birds Beat Wings 5-3” Baltimore Sun, September 18, 1953: 21.

102 “Kerns And Caballero; Birds Rally for Two Runs in Eighth Inning to Edge Rochester,” Baltimore Sun, September 19, 1953: 12.

103 “Standing in 3 Leagues, International League Semi-Final Playoffs,” Baltimore Sun, September 20, 1953; Walter Taylor, “Orioles,” Baltimore Sun, September 22, 1953: 13; “International League,” Baltimore Sun, September 22, 1953: 13; “International League,” Baltimore Sun, September 23, 1953: 21.

104 Linthicum, “Baltimore’s Return to Big Leagues Is All but Signed,” Baltimore Sun, March 15, 1953: 1.

105 “Big League Ball Back in City as Browns Deal Is Approved,” Baltimore Sun, September 30, 1953.

106 James H. Bready, The Home Team Our Orioles (25th Anniversary Edition), (self-published, 1959), 49.

107 “Big League Ball Back in City.”

108 “Big League Ball Back in City.”

109 “Big League Ball Back in City”; Bready, Home Team Our Orioles, 49.

110 Bready, Home Team Our Orioles, 49.

111 “Gala Parade to Welcome Orioles Here,” Baltimore Sun, February 21, 1954: 38; Jim Bready, “The First Opening Day,” The House of Magic, 1922-1991, 6.

112 Bready, “The First Opening Day,” 8.

113 Bready, “The First Opening Day,” 5.

114 Bready, “The First Opening Day,” 8-9; “Turley Triumphs Over Chicago, 3-1,” Baltimore Sun, April 16, 1954: 25.

115 Joseph M. Sheehan, “Baltimore Hails Return to Majors,” New York Times, April 16, 1954: 25.

116 “Stadium Project Ceremonies Held,” Baltimore Sun, September 10, 1954: 20.

117 “Stadium Project Ceremonies Held.”

118 “Stadium Work Draws Praise on Final Tour of Inspection,” Baltimore Sun, October 9, 1954: 11.

119 Lou Hatter, “Burk Passes for Two Scores as Eagles Whip Colts,” Baltimore Sun, August 14, 1955: 1D.

120 Hatter, “Burk Passes.”

121 “Parades, Memorial Stadium Dedication Schedule Today.”

122 “Rites at Stadium Viewed by 33,791, Mayor Dedicates Bowl to Baltimore War Dead,” Baltimore Sun, May 31, 1956: 32.

123 “Parades, Memorial Stadium Dedication Schedule Today.”

124 “Parades, Memorial Stadium Dedication Schedule Today.”

125 “Parades, Memorial Stadium Dedication Schedule Today.”

126 “Parades, Memorial Stadium Dedication Schedule Today.”

127 “Parades, Memorial Stadium Dedication Schedule Today.”

128 Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds.”

129 Bennett, Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds.”

130 Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds.”

131 Lou Hatter, “American Leaguers Triumph, 4-3,” Baltimore Sun, July 9, 1958: 1.

132 Bob Maisel, “Interest Up on All-Stars, Baltimore to Become World Diamond Capital Tuesday,” Baltimore Sun, July 5, 1958: S13; Bob Maisel, American Stars Rated 13-10 Over Nationals, Baltimore Sun, July 6, 1958: 1D.

133 Jim Bready, “Taming the Monster,” The House of Magic, 23.

134 Bready, “Taming the Monster,” 23-24, 27; “Board Urges 2 Escalators for Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, February 20, 1963:44.

135 Bready, “Taming the Monster,” 24.

136 Bready, “Taming the Monster,” 24.

137 Bready, “Taming the Monster,” 23.

138 “Meeting Called on Scoreboards,” Baltimore Sun, March 19, 1954: 36; “Approval Given for Scoreboard,” Baltimore Sun, October 24, 1953: 4.

139 Bready, “Taming the Monster,” 24-25; Jim Elliot, “Frank Robinson Defends League,” Baltimore Sun, October 1, 1966: B1.

140 Lou Hatter, “New Scoreboard Enjoys Preview,” Baltimore Sun, August 22, 1970: B1.

141 Hatter, “New Scoreboard Enjoys Preview.”

142 Sandy Banisky, “Diamond Vision Screen Goes by Board at Memorial Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, June 18, 1992: 5D.

143 (accessed January 24, 2020).

144 John Steadman, “You Can Still Hear the Echo,” The House of Magic, 49.

145 Childs Walker, “Greatest Came from NFL’s Best,” Baltimore Sun, December 14, 2008: D1.

146 Steadman, “You Can Still Hear the Echo,” 46.

147 Steadman, “You Can Still Hear the Echo,” 62.

148 Vito Stellino, “3 Interceptions, Dickey Pace Win,” Baltimore Sun, December 19, 1983: D1.

149 Steadman, “You Can Still Hear the Echo,” 62-63.

150 (accessed January 12, 2020); (accessed January 12, 2020).

151 (accessed January 12, 2020).

152 Peter Schmuck, “Wave It Bye-Bye, Flanagan Provides Last Bit of Magic,” Baltimore Sun, October 7, 1991: 1D.

153 Schmuck; Kent Baker, “Turnstiles Spinning at a Record Pace, Attendance Record Only 33,155 Away,” Baltimore Sun, October 6, 1991: 3D.

154 Bob Brown, “So Long, Farewell, Goodbye,” The House of Magic, 113.

155 Schmuck.

156 Chris Kaltenbach, “Twenty-Five Years Ago, Memorial Stadium Enjoyed the Start of One Last Fling With Professional Baseball,” Baltimore Sun (Online), March 27, 2018, (accessed January 8, 2020).

157 Ryan Baillargeon, “After 20 years, a Grey Cup Celebration at Last,” Baltimore Sun, July 27, 2015: D.1.

158 Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Glory of Their Deeds”.

159 Carl Schoettler, “Timeless Tribute as Memorial Stadium’s Demolition Looms,” Baltimore Sun, November 11, 2000: 1E; Byron Bennett, “A Drive Around Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium,”, February 3, 2015, (accessed January 11, 2020).

160 Jamie Stiehm, “Demolition Advised for Dedicatory Wall at Memorial Stadium,” Baltimore Sun, October 26, 2001: 3B.

161 Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds”; Bennett, “A Drive Around Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium.”

162 Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds.”

163 Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds.”

164 Bennett, “Memorial Stadium – Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds.”

165 “The Goddess ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ – The Bar That Ruth Bought,”, June 20, 2013, (accessed January 11, 2020).