Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

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Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
The Brick
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City 2013-08-27 13-14.jpg
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City
Former names Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark
SBC Bricktown Ballpark
AT&T Bricktown Ballpark
RedHawks Field at Bricktown
Newcastle Field at Bricktown
Location 2 South Mickey Mantle Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Coordinates 35°27′53.86″N 97°30′28.98″W / 35.4649611°N 97.5080500°W / 35.4649611; -97.5080500Coordinates: 35°27′53.86″N 97°30′28.98″W / 35.4649611°N 97.5080500°W / 35.4649611; -97.5080500
Broke ground October 10, 1995[1]
Opened April 16, 1998[2]
Owner City of Oklahoma City
Operator OKC Athletic Club
Surface Tifway 419 Bermuda
Construction cost $34 million[3]
($49.2 million in 2014 dollars[4])
Architect Architectural Design Group, Inc.
Project manager White & Associates[5]
Structural engineer Zahl-Ford, Inc.[6]
Services engineer PSA Consulting Engineers[6]
General contractor Oscar J. Boldt Construction Co.[2]
Capacity 13,066 (9,000 currently)
Field size Left Field: 325 ft
Center Field: 400 ft
Right Field: 325 ft
Tenants
Oklahoma City RedHawks (PCL (1998-present)
Big 12 Tournament (1998-2001, 2003, 2005-present)

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark[7] opened in 1998 in downtown Oklahoma City's Bricktown Entertainment District, replacing All Sports Stadium. It is the home of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team. The park has seating for up to 13,066 fans and currently utilizes a seating capacity of 9,000 for RedHawks games.

The stadium frequently hosts the Big 12 Baseball Tournament. The first Big 12 tournament was held at All Sports Stadium in 1997 before moving to Bricktown in 1998. The tournament has been held at Bricktown every year since, except for 2002 and 2004, when it was contested at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the home park of the Texas Rangers.[8] It is also home to two games of the Bedlam Series, in which the Oklahoma Sooners face the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Construction[edit]

Oklahoma City voters approved a temporary one-cent sales tax increase in December 1993 to fund the Metropolitan Area Projects Plan (MAPS), the city's capital improvement program created to build and upgrade sports, recreation, entertainment, cultural and convention facilities.[9] During the 66 months the sales tax was in effect, more than $309 million was collected.[9]

The $34 million[3] Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark became the first major MAPS structure to be completed, helping spark a revitalization in Bricktown. Architectural Design Group of Oklahoma City served as the ballpark's architect and Oscar J. Boldt Construction Co., was the ballpark's general contractor.[3]

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on October 10, 1995,[1] but actual construction did not begin until August 1996 due to escalating construction costs and the redesign of the ballpark by architects.[10] The ballpark opened on April 16, 1998 with the RedHawks falling to the Edmonton Trappers 6-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 14,066 fans.[11]

Features[edit]

Statues of legendary baseball players with Oklahoma ties stand before the ballpark's three main gates.

A 7-foot-6 bronze statue of Mickey Mantle stands on a 3-foot granite base at the third base pavilion.[12] Mantle, the New York Yankees' switch-hitting star, was born in Spavinaw and raised in Commerce. The Baseball Hall of Fame centerfielder's statue was dedicated on the ballpark's opening day April 16, 1998. Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench grew up in Binger, and a nine-foot statue of the former Cincinnati Reds star greets fans at the ballpark's home plate gate. The statue was dedicated July 27, 2001.[13]

An 8-foot-8 statue of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn was dedicated July 2, 2005.[14] The Cy Young Award winning left-hander hailed from Buffalo, New York, but chose to make Broken Arrow and Hartshorne his home after managing the Tulsa Drillers from 1967-71. His statue sits outside of the ballpark's right field gate.

Approximately 480,000 bricks make up the exterior of the ballpark, which mixes retro charm with modern accommodations. A 10-foot tall, 185-foot long LED video board was added in left field for the 2011 season.

The ballpark has received numerous accolades since its opening in 1998, including being named the No. 2 minor league ballpark in the country by Baseball America the year it opened[15] and being hailed as one of the country's top 10 minor league stadiums in the 2013 10Best Readers' Choice Awards, presented by USA Today.[16]

Name changes[edit]

The stadium was to be called "Southwestern Bell Park". When the general public learned that Bricktown wasn't part of the name, there was an uproar. Due to public pressure, the stadium opened as Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark (later SBC Bricktown Ballpark after Southwestern Bell's name change). In March 2006, the ballpark was renamed AT&T Bricktown Ballpark following the merger between SBC and Old AT&T. After AT&T reevaulated its sports marketing strategy, they gave up naming rights, resulting in the RedHawks Field at Bricktown designation for 2011.

On April 4, 2012, it was announced that Newcastle Gaming Center (owned by the Chickasaw Nation) had purchased naming rights to the ballpark, with the new Newcastle Field at Bricktown name effective immediately.[17] However following public uproar over the prior name change, one day later on April 5, 2012 (the opening day of the 2012 RedHawks season), Newcastle Gaming Center announced that it would once again rename the ballpark as the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.[18][19]

Notable Games[edit]

  • The ballpark opened April 16, 1998 with the RedHawks losing to visiting Edmonton, 6-3, in front of 14,066 fans—the third-largest crowd for an Oklahoma City home opener behind 14,801 in 1992 and 14,488 in 1987.[11] The ballpark's four-game opening weekend attracted the most fans ever for a four-game baseball series in Oklahoma. A total of 42,851 people attended the four games for an average of 10,713 per game, which paced minor league baseball that weekend.[20]
  • The RedHawks recorded their first win at the ballpark April 17, 1998, beating Edmonton, 8-2.[21]
  • From 2006 to 2010, the park hosted the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game, originally called the Bricktown Showdown (2006–08). The single-game playoff between the champions of the International and Pacific Coast Leagues effectively serves as a winner-take-all World Series game between the two Triple-A leagues. The first one was played on September 19, 2006, when the Tucson Sidewinders beat the Toledo Mud Hens 5-2 before a crowd of 12,572.[2]
  • The RedHawks set the team record for most runs scored in a game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and tied the club record for most runs scored in a game overall in a 24-5 win against Colorado Springs on August 3, 2013.[23]

History of Ballparks in Oklahoma City[edit]

Amateur teams started playing on makeshift fields shortly after the state's Land Run in 1889 in a centrally located site near where Bricktown sits today.[24] In fact, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark sits within a block of the original site.[24]

The city's first ballpark structure was Colcord Field, located along the banks of the North Canadian River in 1904, which was home to Oklahoma City's first professional baseball team. The facility was also called Saratoga Park, Liberty Park and Western League Park before being destroyed by flooding in 1923.[24]

Holland Field, located at NW 4 and Pennsylvania, was built in 1924 and later became Tribe Park in the early 1940s and Texas League Park in 1946.[24]

All Sports Stadium opened in 1962 and was located at NW 10th Street and May at the state fairgrounds.[24] The 89ers played there for 36 seasons.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Aiken, Charolette (October 11, 1995). "Bricktown Ballpark Leads Off with a Hit". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Knight, Graham (November 3, 2009). "Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "AT&T Bricktown Ballpark". City of Oklahoma City. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ "Project Construction Experience". White & Associates. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark". DC&D Technologies. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Ballpark Regulations". Minor League Baseball. July 1, 2009. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  8. ^ "2012 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship". Big 12 Conference. February 12, 2012. Archived from the original on February 11, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "MAPS". City of Oklahoma City. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  10. ^ Aiken, Charolette (August 14, 1996). "Bricktown Ballpark On Deck Construction Firm Pledges Fast Start". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Hersom, Bob (April 17, 1998). "Opening an Era: Edmonton Spoils Ballpark Opener". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). p. 136. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ Hersom, Bob (March 25, 1998). "Mantle Honored". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). p. 23. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  13. ^ Hersom, Bob (July 26, 2001). "Cast in Greatness". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). p. 1D. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  14. ^ Hersom, Bob (July 2, 2005). "The Greatest Lefty of All". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). p. 1C. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Magazine Praises Bricktown Ballpark". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). December 15, 1998. p. 25. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Best Minor League Ballparks". USA Today. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  17. ^ Shadrick, J. P. (April 4, 2012). "OKC RedHawks Introduce 'Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark'". Oklahoma City RedHawks. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ Tramel, Berry (April 5, 2012). "Chickasaws Reverse Course on Bricktown Ballpark Name". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  19. ^ "RedHawks, Chickasaw Nation Announce Naming Rights Agreement". KOCO (Oklahoma City). April 5, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ Hersom, Bob (April 20, 1998). "RedHawks Fans Are No. 1". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). p. 97. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  21. ^ Hersom, Bob (April 18, 1998). "RedHawks Get First Win at Brick Little Sets Pace in 8-2 Victory Over Edmonton". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). p. 20. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  22. ^ "RedHawks-Astros Notebook: Big-League Team Tops Oklahoma City 9-6". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). March 30, 2011. p. 2C. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  23. ^ "RedHawks Tie Team Record in 24-5 Win". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). August 3, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b c d e Rohde, John (April 12, 1998). "Back Where They Started". The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City). Retrieved December 26, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
All Sports Stadium
Home of the
Oklahoma City RedHawks

1998 – present
Succeeded by
current