The Twitter account @MLBCathedrals has been tweeting out some really cool pictures of old ballparks and obviously the ones in San Diego have caught my eye.
These pics of San Diego Stadium the year it opened are great. It was built as a multi-purpose stadium but the Major League Padres team wouldn't play in it until two years later in 1969. The Chargers had it all to themselves until 1968 when the minor league Padres team took up residence. You can see them here practicing on the mound-less all turf field. Since the AAA team didn't move in until 1968, I wonder if the date on the photo is correct. Though I suppose they could have tested it out prior to 1968, which would explain the field's condition.
Here's a shot from above of the Stadium in the same year for a Monday Night Football game. Look at that sea of cars. Parking was probably just a few pennies at the time.
This next picture of the dugout grabbed a lot of attention on the day it was tweeted. I for one wasn't that surprised that the Padres dugout still existed. It's pretty obvious that no one wants to put any money into Qualcomm stadium, so why would they do any demolition or clean up the trash when they could just leave it to decompose?
The view and the lighting remind me of when I "earned" a tour of the Murph by compiling Compadres points all season. My roommate and I lived near the stadium at the time and we'd attend a lot of games. Even when we didn't buy a ticket we'd drive thru and be allowed to enter for free after the 7th inning. We'd catch the last 2 innings of the game and swipe our Compadres cards.
We also discovered a trick to multiply our points. The Compadres kiosks were grouped in threes and if you swiped your card quickly through them all, then the points would be tabulated and added to your account before the 1997 computers could process that they were duplicates. By the end of the season we had enough points to get a tour. We thought it would be a private tour on a game day and we'd get to meet some players. Instead it was after the season was over and the clubhouse was cleared out. There were a few hundred people there and they still didn't even want to turn on the lights, so everything had this eerie look to it. This picture captures the condition and the look of the stadium during the tour perfectly. It sucked.
The Padres dugout at Qualcomm Stadium still exists, however, it is buried under seats added for the Chargers. pic.twitter.com/KqHgQYBS0R— Ballpark History (@MLBcathedrals) November 18, 2013
This next picture is from Opening Day in 1995. It was a game against the Astros on April 26th. Notice the 9,000 bleacher seats under the scoreboard that were added since the 1967 picture. You may also notice that the American Flag is at half staff. There was a discussion about it on Twitter and it was agreed that it was because of the Oklahoma City Bombing the week prior. You can see it wasn't a sellout, the max capacity at the time was 47,750. The recorded attendance was just shy of 42,000.
Before the seats were added and the stadium was enclosed I used to love to sit in the upper deck and get a view of Mission Valley and University Heights. It's too bad the NFL pressured the Chargers into doing it.
This last picture is of Petco Park as they were laying the foundation. Oh, how things have changed. It was taken in the year 2000, no doubt using an early Instagram filter.