Cuicchi: 1976 exhibition launches Superdome baseball amid hopes for MLB franchise

From SABR member Richard Cuicchi at Crescent City Sports on April 26, 2020:

When New Orleans businessman Dave Dixon originally envisioned the Louisiana Superdome, he intended it to be a multi-sport, multi-function facility. While a new home for the NFL New Orleans Saints provided the primary impetus for building the new stadium, Dixon sold the Superdome’s stakeholders on the concept that it should ultimately host NBA and MLB teams as well.

The first professional baseball game was played in the Superdome on April 5, 1976. Unlike with football and basketball, the Superdome didn’t have a baseball tenant when it initially opened. New Orleans had been unable to lure a big-league baseball team for the opening of the facility. Superdome officials settled for a three-game exhibition series between the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros, but still had hopes of eventually getting a team.

From the beginning of the Superdome project, the Louisiana Superdome Baseball Commission naturally assumed it would be just a matter of time before it would land a major-league franchise in New Orleans. After all, the Astrodome in Houston had been a huge success with MLB’s Astros franchise, and the Superdome had the lure of being an even more spectacular facility. Consequently, pursuit of a professional team began well before construction of the facility began in 1971.

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Originally published: April 29, 2020. Last Updated: April 29, 2020.