Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium: Wikis

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Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
"The Launching Pad"
Atlanta Stadium.jpg
Former names Atlanta Stadium (1965-1976)
Location 521 Capitol Ave, Atlanta, Georgia
Coordinates 33°44′22″N 84°23′22″W / 33.73944°N 84.38944°W / 33.73944; -84.38944Coordinates: 33°44′22″N 84°23′22″W / 33.73944°N 84.38944°W / 33.73944; -84.38944
Broke ground April 15, 1964
Opened April 12, 1966
Closed October 24, 1996
Demolished August 2, 1997
Owner City of Atlanta and Fulton County
Surface Grass
Construction cost $18 million USD
Architect Heery, Inc
Capacity Baseball: 52,007
Football: 60,606
Field dimensions 1966-68 & 1974-96
Left field - 330 ft.
Left-Center - 385 ft.
Center Field - 402 ft.
Right-Center - 385 ft.
Right Field - 330 ft.

1969-1972
Left field - 330 ft.
Left-Center - 375 ft.
Center Field - 402 ft.
Right-Center - 375 ft.
Right Field - 330 ft.

1973
Left field - 330 ft.
Left-Center - 375 ft.
Center Field - 402 ft.
Right-Center - 385 ft.
Right Field - 330 ft.
Tenants
Atlanta Braves (MLB) (1966-1996)
Atlanta Falcons (NFL) (1966-1991)
Atlanta Chiefs (NASL) (1967-1969), (1971-1972), (1979-1981)
Atlanta Crackers (AAA) (1965)
Chick-fil-A Bowl (NCAA) (1971-1991)

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, often shortened to "Fulton County Stadium," was a multi-use (baseball, football, soccer, rock concert, revival meeting, and monster truck) stadium that formerly stood in Atlanta, Georgia. Completed in a then-record 50 weeks for $18 million, it opened in the spring of 1965 as Atlanta Stadium. It was intended as the home of the soon-to-be-relocating Braves, but court battles kept the team in Milwaukee as a lame duck for a year. So the new stadium had a lame duck of its own for that first season: the Atlanta Crackers of the International League, whose previous home had been Ponce de Leon Park at 650 Ponce de Leon Avenue. In its first year it also hosted Atlanta's only Beatles concert, August 18, 1965. In 1966, both the NL's transplanted Braves and the NFL's expansion Atlanta Falcons moved in. In 1967, the Atlanta Chiefs of the National Professional Soccer League (re-formed as the North American Soccer League in 1968) began the first of five seasons played at the stadium. [1] In a move intended to acknowledge the financial contributions of the taxpayers of Fulton County, the stadium's name was changed to the hyphenated Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1976, the same year that Ted Turner purchased the Braves. [2] The Falcons moved to the Georgia Dome in 1992, while the Braves had to wait until the Olympic Stadium from the 1996 Summer Olympics was transformed into Turner Field to move out at the beginning of the 1997 season. The stadium sat 60,606 for football and 52,007 for baseball. The baseball competition for the 1996 Summer Olympics was held at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Contents

Layout

The stadium was relatively nondescript, one of the many saucer-shaped multi-purpose stadia built during the 1960s and 1970s, similar to RFK Stadium, Shea Stadium, the Astrodome, Three Rivers Stadium, Busch Memorial Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, and Veterans Stadium. As was the case for every stadium that used this design concept, the fundamentally different sizes and shapes of baseball and football fields made it inadequate for both sports. In the baseball configuration, 70 percent of the seats were in foul territory. In the football configuration, seats on the 50-yard-line--normally prime seats for football--were more than 50 yards away from the sidelines. One unusual feature of this stadium is the fact that, unlike most multi-purpose stadiums - where the football field was laid either parallel to one of the foul lines or running from home plate to center field - the football field here was laid along a line running between first and third base......similar to that of the Oakland Coliseum. [3] Thus, a seat behind home plate for baseball would also be on the 50-yard line for football. The stadium was refurbished for the 1996 season prior to hosting the Olympic baseball competition.

It was also known for the playing field's poor quality. It didn't have a full-time grounds crew until 1989, instead it had a full-time grounds keeper with a few full time workers. However the majority of groundskeepers were part-time high school and college students. They were employed by the Atlanta Braves as were the usher/usherettes.

Due to the relatively high elevation of the Atlanta area (situated at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains), the stadium boasted the highest elevation in baseball when it opened, at 1,050 feet above sea level. It retained this distinction until the Colorado Rockies were born in 1993. The high elevation made it favorable to home run hitters, resulting in the nickname "The Launching Pad."

The Native American mascot called "Chief Noc-A-Homa" was prominently featured from 1966 until the early 1980s, when the mascot was abandoned.

Fulton County Stadium was designed by a joint-venture team of FABRAP (Finch Alexander Barnes Rothschild & Paschal) and Heery, Inc.

Historic and notable events in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

The site where Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium once stood is now a parking lot for Turner Field. The fence and wall display in the center of the picture commemorates the spot at which Hank Aaron's 715th home run landed on April 8, 1974.
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium before opening in 1966.
A city view of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
August 2, 1997, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium being demolished.

In 1972, the stadium hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Hank Aaron hit a home run during the game, and the National League won the game 4–3 in 10 innings.

The stadium hosted the World Series for the first time in 1991 when the Braves played the Minnesota Twins in what ESPN judged to be the best World Series ever played[4]. The Braves won all three games played in Atlanta, two in their final at-bat, but lost the series in seven games.

The 1992 World Series saw the Braves play the Toronto Blue Jays with the Blue Jays defeating the Braves four games to two, including two of three in Atlanta.

On July 20, 1993, a fire occurred in the stadium press box during batting practice for that evening's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. This fire occurred on the same day that Fred McGriff joined the Braves.

On October 28, 1995, the Braves clinched the 1995 World Series by defeating the Cleveland Indians 1–0 on a one-hit, 8-inning performance by pitcher Tom Glavine. The title was the Braves' first World Series championship in Atlanta, making one title in each of the three cities in which they have resided (also Boston and Milwaukee).

The stadium's final event was Game 5 of the 1996 World Series; Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees closed down the stadium with a 1-0 shutout over John Smoltz of the Braves. Luis Polonia, made the final out in stadium history when Paul O'Neill of the Yankees robbed Polonia of a potential game-tying extra-base hit.

Demolition

Following the Olympics, Fulton County commissioner, Marvin S. Arrington, Sr., had a plan to save the stadium and use it as a professional soccer arena and share the parking facilities between it and Turner Field but he was unable to push it through.[5] Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was imploded on August 2, 1997. A parking lot for Turner Field now stands on the site, with an outline of the old stadium built in. The monument that marked the landing point of Hank Aaron's historic 715th home run stands in the same place it did when the stadium was on the site.

The stadium was demolished in the same week as another Atlanta sports venue, the Omni Coliseum. That arena was the former home of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and the NHL's Atlanta Flames, and was replaced by Philips Arena on the same site.

References

External links

Preceded by
First stadium
Home of the
Atlanta Falcons

1966 – 1991
Succeeded by
Georgia Dome
Preceded by
Milwaukee County Stadium
Home of the
Atlanta Braves

1966 – 1996
Succeeded by
Turner Field
Preceded by
Grant Field
Home of the
Peach Bowl

1971 – 1991
Succeeded by
Georgia Dome
Preceded by
Tiger Stadium
Host of the All-Star Game
1972
Succeeded by
Royals Stadium
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