Magnificent Metal Monday – “Take Me Out to the Ballgame …”

a’s favorite pastime” is more than just the sport, it’s the experience of being in and “part of” the stadium. Thanks to an article from Steel Specialties, Inc, here’s a look at the “steel foundation” of some of America’s most beloved baseball stadiums, and what goes into building one of these beauties, the oldest being Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox since its opening in 1912.

Credit: Steel Specialties: 3d render emptry stadium evening without people

While the first stadiums were constructed out of wood in the mid to late 19th century, including Bennett Park (Detroit), Colombia Park (Philadelphia), Eastern Park (Brooklyn), these ballparks ultimately saw their demise by fire. As the sport gained popularity, owners found long-term solutions in the construction of steel, steel reinforcement, and concrete. Today, stadiums look for reliable steel structures as their foundation. 

According to Steel Specialties, “Goodison Park in Liverpool, England was the first to use steel structures. Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium (1909-1970) was the first concrete and steel stadium in the United States, then came Fenway Park, Ebbets Field, and Wrigley Field  which were specifically built for baseball and used steel structures in their foundation.”

Completed in 1909, Shribe Park was home to both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Philadelphia Athletics and since the stadium was made from steel, the designers of it could create what is called a two-tier grandstand. This allowed fans a much closer and more intimate view of the game from the upper decks. In turn, the game’s popularity also increased. (Source: Federal Steel Supply). With the success of Scribe Park, next came “The House that Ruth Built” — Yankee Stadium. Babe Ruth had proven himself to be such a successful baseball player that the team needed a much bigger stadium to house all their new fans. The designers of Yankee Stadium took the two-tier grandstand design one step further and created the 3-tier grandstand, something that would not have been possible without the use of steel.

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