Cleveland Stadium

From BR Bullpen

(also known as Municipal Stadium, 1931 to 1974)

BUILT: 1931

CAPACITY: 78,000 (1931); 74,483 (1989)

FIRST GAME: July 31, 1932, vs. Philadelphia Athletics (Athletics 1, Indians 0)

LAST GAME: October 3, 1993, vs. Chicago White Sox (White Sox 4, Indians 0)

LARGEST CROWD: 86,288 - October 10, 1948, vs. Boston Braves (World Series)

Cleveland Stadium was the home of the Cleveland Indians from 1931 to 1993, when they moved to Jacobs Field. For much of its existence, it had the largest seating capacity in the Major Leagues, although its other redeeming features were few, as witnessed by its unofficial nickname: the Mistake by the Lake (i.e. Lake Erie). Or, in the words of actress Bette Davis: "What a dump!".

Cold, cavernous, and devoid of any real charm, nobody missed The Grey Lady, a long-standing physical manifestation of the best of intentions going awry. In fact, attendance was so poor in the first few years after it opened that the Indians returned to their old ballpark for week-day games, only using Cleveland Stadium on week-ends when they had a chance of drawing enough fans to make it look slightly less empty.

Among the few redeeming features, parking was close and plentiful, and fans could usually buy tickets on game day without waiting, the lemonade aspect of having a team that was awful for a quarter of a century. The NFL's Cleveland Browns played there too, and the last days of the stadium are more associated with irate Clevelanders taking out their frustration on the building as an effigy of Art Modell. Other major events include rock bands the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd both drawing 100,000 people. On the baseball front, the infamous 1974 10-cent beer night took place here, as well as a game on April 12, 1992 when Matt Young of the Boston Red Sox held the Indians hitless but still lost, 2-1. The Indians also did take advantage of the huge seating capacity to set attendance records here in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the team was second-best to the New York Yankees in the American League, and it was the site of games in both the 1948 World Series and 1954 World Series. It was also the site of the 1935, 1954, 1963 and 1981 All-Star Games. The last game played here in 1993 is the most recent major league game to draw over 70,000 fans (a figure also topped in the two other games played in that final homestand).

In 1994, the Indians moved to Jacobs Field (since renamed), which was immediately beloved by fans, contrary to its predecessor.

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