Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Team: Toronto Blue Jays||First Blue Jays Game: April 7, 1977|
|Opened: 1879||Reopened: 1959|
|Capacity: 23,303 (1959), 38,522 (1977), 43,737 (1978)||Dimensions: Foul Lines 330, Power Alleys 375, CF 400|
|Surface: grass (1879-1971), 3-M Tartan Turf (1972), Monsanto (artificial) Turf (1974)||Last Blue Jays Game: May 28, 1989|
|Owner: City of Toronto||Demolition: February 1, 1999|
Here is a brief timeline of the construction and destruction of this stadium.
In 1976, Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Stadium was reconfigured for baseball to lure the San Francisco Giants there. The budget was for $15 million. The actual cost was $17.8 million. As a result the dome was never built and they had to use the football scoreboard which was beyond the right field fence by a good couple hundred feet. This is the only stadium in history to have the infield seats exposed and the outfield seats were covered.
On April 7, 1977, the first game between the new Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox was held. The wind was blowing at 33 km/hr and the wind chill was -10F. Snow was falling for the first three innings and the infield carpet was being cleared by a Zamboni machine borrowed from the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL team). After the third inning, the snow stopped falling and the sun came out. The entire game was played.
There was a "murder" in this park. Dave Winfield of the Yankees caused an uproar when he killed a seagull by throwing a baseball back to the infield. Manager Billy Martin scoffed at the notion that it was done on purpose by saying if it was, it was the first time Winfield hit the cut off man all year.
© 2003-05 Paul Healey. Photographs of the old stadium © their owners. Used without permission.