Revisiting Municipal Stadium

Artwork of Cleveland Indians Municipal Stadium
Hello Tribe fans! I am the new blogging host of Deep Left Field and my name is
Paneech. I will do my best to keep you updated on all the good news headed toward Lake Erie this upcoming baseball season.

I was really debating on what to do for a nice first post. Why not be a little nostalgic and take a trip down memory lane. I want to share with you all I have learned about Municipal Stadium, the home of the Indians from 1931-1993. The bluegrass surface also served as home for the Cleveland Browns. The stadium cost $3 million to build in 1931. It was renovated in 1967 for $5 million, and again in 1974 for $3.6 million. The seating capacity for baseball was 74, 483. Originally, Cleveland voters approved building the stadium by a margin of 2-1 in November of 1928. However, a series of lawsuits and negative media attention revealed issues which soured the majority of supporters. By the time Municipal Stadium was formally opened on July 1, 1931, it was generally regarded as a mistake. This is where the “Mistake by The Lake” tag originated.

The very first Indians game played at the old stadium was on July 31, 1932. The first night game happened on June 27, 1939. The last home game was on October 3, 1993.  Here are some memorable moments from Municipal Stadium:

  • Hosted MLB All-Star game in 1935, 1954, 1963, and 1981.
  • Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak ended here on July 17, 1941.
  • On September 23, 1949, Bill Veeck buried the 1948 pennant in center field before a game, the day before the Indians were mathematically eliminated.  ( Can you say goat?)
  • On June 4, 1974 the Indians were forced to forfeit a game when drunk and unruly fans took over the field and would not leave.
  • No player ever hit a ball into the center field bleachers at Municipal Stadium.

On a personal level, I recall going to Municipal Stadium several times as a young baseball fan, especially in my late teens toward the end of Municipal Stadium.  It was great to buy a $4.00 bleacher seat and be two rows behind the first base dugout by the fourth inning every time we went.  I graduated high school with 30 other people.  We had a good football team in 1984, co-champions of our conference.  In the fifth week, the weather was particularly bad — rainy, cold and miserable.  We drew about 1500 because we were playing an undefeated team.  I will never forget opening my paper the next day to see that my high school football team drew more people than a Cleveland Indians home game did — true story!

Tags: Cleveland Indians History Mistake By The Lake Municipal Stadium Tribe

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