Caple: Farewell to Phoenix Municipal Stadium

From SABR member Jim Caple at on March 12, 2014:

How far back does Phoenix Municipal Stadium go? So far that longtime Athletics equipment manager Steve Vucinich can remember when there were signs on the walls indicating the stadium doubled as a Cold War civil defense site.

“After the Giants left and we were cleaning up the locker room in 1982, we found the kind of food that the government put into rations if you had an emergency,” Vucinich said. “We had to throw it away because it was 20 years old, but it was amazing. It had fallen behind one of the lockers. So the clubhouses were approved civil defense bomb shelters.”

In other words, in case of nuclear war, Phoenix residents were supposed to seek refuge in the stadium clubhouses. Which would have posed a considerable problem because there wasn’t even enough room for all the players back in those days.

“We had a bunch of guys doubling up with lockers and we used the visiting clubhouse, which was real small on this side, for the overflow,” Vucinich said. “It was a mess. They had to move out when we had teams coming in for games. So they had to take their stuff home.”

This is the 33rd and final spring that the Athletics will train at Phoenix Municipal, the oldest park in the current Cactus League. Next year they will move into the Cubs’ old Hohokam Stadium facility in Mesa, Ariz. Phoenix Muni was the spring training home for the Giants beginning in 1964 (as well as the regular-season stadium for San Francisco’s Triple-A team), and then the Athletics after that, but in less than three weeks, this will no longer be a Cactus League site.

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Originally published: March 28, 2014. Last Updated: March 28, 2014.