Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cleveland Municipal Stadium

In a nation built on catchy sports-oriented nicknames -- Dizzy, Mickey, Refrigerator, the King, Fuzzy, the Green Monster, the House That Ruth Built, the Fumble, The Drive, A-Rod, Meadowlark, the Great One, the Ain'ts, the Evil Empire, The Big Sombrero, Pronk -- there can only be one:


They called it this because the name BIG CITY FACILITY DESIGNED FOR CONGREGATION seemed too festive. This stadium was built in 1931, which featured the first use of aluminum in a large, multipurpose stadium facility, spearheaded by city manager William R. Hopkins and others (include the Van Sweringen's and the Indians ownership) for the usual reasons; to attract big crowds downtown to spur development and commerce, especially their own.

Cleveland Municipal Stadium was neither a WPA project, nor was it created in an effort to secure the 1932 Olympics, though these are both popular rumors. I was once told and perpetuated the idea that it was built for the 1936 Olympics, which took place in Berlin. That's a sexier legend, but no less false.

The Indians played here in 1932 and 1933, but fans were not happy with the gigantic outfield (which reduces the chance of home runs, of course - see: 1954 World Series) and as the Depression depressed ticket sales, the team moved back to League Park in 1934.

By 1936 the Cleveland ball team began playing Sunday and holiday games here, to take advantage of the potential 74,000 seats (there were 81,000 seats during football season) making it their home for evening games in 1939 because League Park had no lights, and the permanent home of the Indians in 1940.

In 1936 Cleveland Municipal Stadium was home to the Cleveland Rams. On September 24, 1935 the Seventh Eucharistic Congress was held there attracting 75,000 to a midnight mass and an estimated 125,000 Catholics to the service next morning.

Cleveland Municipal Stadium was torn down in 1995, and no one noticed.

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

No comments:

Post a Comment