We are in that wonderful time of the year where all the sports worlds collide. NFL and college football are in full swing, hockey is finally back, playoff baseball is starting to get hot, and basketball regular season games are about to begin.
Going to sports games is something that people around the world have done for generations and will continue to do for generations to come. Families spend years sitting in the same seats, tailgating at the same spots, all to watch the team that they love.
A lot of things have changed over the years. Beloved stadiums have been demolished in order to make room for new, more advanced ones. Most of the knocked down stadiums were in the spots of where the parking lots stand now for the current stadiums.
Looking back, we are going to check out Shea Stadium, Texas Stadium, the Spectrum, Comiskey Park and Mile High Stadium. All of these stadiums were featured in an article by complex.com called Rest In Pieces: 50 Demolished Sports Stadiums We Love.
Photo Credit: Marty Yawnick
On April 17, 1964, Shea Stadium officially opened it’s doors to the public. It was to be the new home of the New York Mets. Shea was not only a huge part of baseball, but history in general. It was home to concerts, political and religious visits (Pope John Paul II visited here), football, and baseball of course.
The New York Jets had a stint playing at Shea Stadium. According to Joe Namath, a Jets great, said it was the toughest place to play in the NFL. The Jets won the AFC Championship game at Shea which took them to the Super Bowl in 1968. (The Jet’s only Super Bowl Win) They continued to play there until 1983 before moving over to Giant’s Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The Mets had quite an exciting stay at Shea as well. In the first year that it opened, it helped the MLB All Star Game. And then 5 years later, they won their first World Championship. (The Mets won 2 World Series, both happening at Shea Stadium)
Besides sports, Shea Stadium was home to a large amount of concerts. The Rolling Stones play a six night concert series here, Elton John and Eric Clapton teamed up for a two night performance, the Summer Festival for Peace featuring Janis Joplin was held here, The Who, Bruce Springsteen played here in the early 2000’s and who could forget The Beatles iconic Shea Stadium performance.
Shea Stadium was demolished at the end of 2008. Where the iconic stadium once stood, is now Citi Field, the new home to the New York Mets.
Photo Credit: Don… TheUpNorth Memories Guy… Harrison
Next, we are taking a trip over to Chicago to take a look at Old Comiskey Park, or “The Baseball Palace of the World”. Comiskey Park was home to the Chicago White Sox from 1910-1990.
From the 1970’s to the day of it’s demolition, it was the oldest MLB park in use. It held over 6,000 major league games. The Chicago White Sox hold 3 World Series titles, only one happening in the era of Old Comiskey Park.
Interesting fact, the Chicago Cubs played their 1918 World Series Games in Comiskey Park because it had more seating available than Weeghman Park, the home of the Cubs. Just like Shea, baseball wasn’t the only sport being played here.
Comiskey was home to the Chicago Cardinals in 1922-1925 and then again in 1929-1959. The Chicago Cardinals are now the Arizona Cardinals, and they have never won a Super Bowl. They made a Super Bowl appearance in 2007, but they lost it to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Old Comiskey was demolished in 1991, after the White Sox ended their final season in September of 1990. Old Comiskey is in the spot of where one of the parking lots to Guaranteed Rate Field.
Photo Credit: Cavalier92
Heading back east to the city of brotherly love, we are going to take a look at The Spectrum. Home of the Philadelphia Flyers and the Philadelphia 76ers, as well as the Philadelphia Phantoms, the minor league hockey team and the Philadelphia Wings, the city’s lacrosse team, The Spectrum has seen it’s share of championships and iconic moments.
Opening in September of 1967, it became a home for not only sports, but for concerts as well. 1967 was not only huge because the 76ers had a new arena to play in, but they also won their 2nd NBA championship that year. (2 out of the 3 NBA Championships that the 76ers have won would happen in the time of the Spectrum, but none actually happened there.)
The Flyers also had quite the luck in the Spectrum. On May 19th, 1974, the Philadelphia Flyers hoisted the Stanley Cup up after defeating the Boston Bruins. This would be the first time that the Flyers have ever won the Cup, and they would go on to win it again a year later against the Buffalo Sabres, in Buffalo.
Besides great sports moments, the Spectrum has been home to many great concerts. Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen for 8 sold out nights, Billy Joel (twice! a six show stint in 1990 and then again in 1993), the Grateful Dead, and a farewell concert from Pearl Jam on the night the Spectrum closed it’s doors for the final time.
Both the Flyers and the Sixers played their last games there in 1996 when the Wachovia Center opened, becoming their new home. The Phantoms stayed there along with the Wings until it closed in 2009.
The Spectrum was demolished in November of 2010. Where the arena once stood is now a parking lot that is between XFINITY Live! and Citizen’s Bank Park.
Photo Credit: Bill Wilt
Heading south for our next stadium, we are going to look at Texas Stadium that was home to “America’s Team”. Before Texas Stadium was built, the Cowboys played at the famous Cotton Bowl Stadium.
Opening in 1971 and staying open until 2008, the Cowboys had a glorious stay here. They won 5 Super Bowls and 8 conference championships during their time in Texas Stadium.
The most interesting thing about Texas Stadium is that there was a hole in the roof, that many say is there so “God can watch his favorite team play”. This hole allowed for the fans to keep dry, but it exposed the field to the weather and elements. The Thanksgiving Day game in 1993 against the Miami Dolphins proved that the weather could make it’s way into the stadium when the field was covered in snow.
While the stadium was huge (it held 65,675 people), it was really only used for football. There were the occasional concerts and other events, but it was pretty much used for the Cowboys. Some concerts that took place here though would be The Jacksons, Madonna, Garth Brooks, Metallica and Shania Twain.
In 2008, the Cowboys played their final game in Texas Stadium and it was demolished in 2010. America’s Team now has their state of the art stadium, AT&T Stadium.
Photo Credit: Joseph Hollick
For our final stadium, we are traveling out west to take a look at the Denver Bronco’s home, Mile High Stadium. Not only did it house the Bronco’s but it was home to the Colorado Rockies for a short period of time as well.
Opened in 1948, it was originally used as a baseball stadium for the Denver Bears, and once the Broncos came into town, they decided to use it for football. Having only 17,000 seats originally, it wasn’t ideal for a football stadium, so it was increased to 34,000 seats. By time it held it’s final game, it was able to hold more than 75,000 people.
For two seasons (1993 and 1994) Mile High was home to the Colorado Rockies. This was because their stadium was being built and they had no where else to play.
This stadium just like the others was home to many concerts. Some of the artists that performed at the Mile High include, The Rolling Stones, U2, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and Bruce Springsteen.
The final game that was played in Mile High Stadium was December 23rd, 2000, just a year after the Denver Broncos won their second Super Bowl. The stadium was demolished after the end of the 2001 season. Where it once stood is now a parking lot for the new Stadium at Mile High.
Though these stadiums may be gone, they are still special to the cities that they are in. The now parking lots to newer, better stadiums hold memories that are irreplaceable to the fans that spent so much of their time at these stadiums.