5 Oldest Ballparks in the US
The legacy of America's favorite pastime can still be felt in ballparks built when the sport was young. Some of the country's oldest baseball stadiums continue to host Major League Baseball teams, but you can also capture the historic spirit of the sport at minor league ballparks—some of which have been around even longer. Below is a list of the 5 oldest parks in the country.
Even though Birmingham, Alabama, doesn’t field a major league team, the city has a rich baseball heritage. It’s home to Rickwood Field, the nation’s oldest professional baseball park still containing its original structure. Rickwood opened in 1910, two years before Fenway Park. The Birmingham Barons, a minor league team with roots dating back to the 1880s—the earliest days of American baseball—called Rickwood home until 1988. The team returns to play a ceremonial exhibition game there each season. Legends of baseball, such as Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, all played games at Rickwood. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Rickwood Field is open to visitors who want to pay their respects to this granddaddy of ball fields.
Since 1912, it has been the home for the Boston Red Sox, the city's American League baseball team, and since 1953, its only Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. While the stadium was built in 1912, it was rebuilt in 1934. It is the oldest active ballpark in the MLB. Because of its age and constrained location in Boston's dense Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood, the park has been renovated or expanded many times, resulting in quirky features including "The Triangle", Pesky's Pole, and the Green Monster in left field. It is the fifth-smallest among MLB ballparks by seating capacity, second-smallest by total capacity, and one of eight that cannot accommodate at least 40,000 spectators.
Built in 1894, League Stadium is the home of the Dubois County Bombers of the collegiate summer Prospect League and formerly the Dubois County Dragons of the independent Frontier League. The Southridge Raiders, an Indiana High School Athletic Association 3A baseball team, also use the field. The Dragons moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2003. The ballpark has a capacity of 2,783 people.
The ballpark opened in 1894 and was renovated in 1991 for the filming of A League of Their Own, adding additional seating to the park while maintaining the original grandstand. In 1995, the stadium served as the set of Soul of the Game, an HBO movie.
Just 50 miles down the road from League Stadium is Bosse Field. Opened in 1915, it was the first municipally owned sports stadium in the United States and is the third-oldest ballpark still in regular use for professional baseball, surpassed only by Fenway Park (1912) in Boston and Wrigley Field (1914) in Chicago. It is the home field for the professional minor league Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League, as well as high school and American Legion games, and in the past hosted spring training for the Detroit Tigers, college baseball, high school, college, and NFL football, college soccer, and concerts. Six Baseball Hall of Fame members played for Evansville teams at Bosse Field during their minor league careers, including Chuck Klein, Hank Greenberg, Warren Spahn, Bob Uecker, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris.
Sports fans make pilgrimages to Chicago to see its two storied stadiums: Soldier Field, home to football's Chicago Bears, and Wrigley Field, where baseball's Chicago Cubs play. Wrigley opened in 1914, making it the second-oldest active MLB ballpark behind Fenway. Fans love the remaining legacy elements of the stadium, including ivy-covered outfield walls and a hand-turned scoreboard over the center-field stands. Wrigley was the last major league stadium to add lights, holding out until 1988 before adding night games to its home schedule. Like Fenway Park, Wrigley is on the smaller side for a major professional sports venue—its nickname is "The Friendly Confines" because of its close quarters.