Although baseball can be traced back to the early 19th century in the U.S., the National League and the American League did not form Major League Baseball until 1903, which was the first year they Leagues held the World Series.
The first official MLB stadium opened about a decade later and with the exception of the two oldest stadiums, most MLB stadiums are only around 50 years old. Prior to opening official stadiums, most MLB teams played at older ballparks or multi-purpose stadiums in the their home cities.
7. Rogers Centre
Year Opened: 1989
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Home Team: Toronto Blue Jays
The Rogers Centre is home to the only Canadian team in Major League Baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays, and is a multi-purpose stadium that has been home to other sports teams as well. In the early 1970s, Toronto began trying to lure a major baseball team to the city and tried to convince the San Francisco Giants to relocate. After the city failed to get the Giants, Toronto asked the MLB to expand into the area and Toronto received a team in 1976.
The Toronto Blue Jays played at Exhibition Stadium, which was retrofitted to house baseball, until a new ballpark was built. In 1989, the stadium opened for the first time and was called the SkyDome because it was the first stadium to feature a retractable roof. The stadium was called the SkyDome for 15 years and has had several names over the years. It was renamed the Rogers Centre in 2005 after Rogers Communications bought the stadium for $25 million.
6. Kauffman Stadium
Year Opened: 1973
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Home Team: Kansas City Royals
Kauffman Stadium first opened in 1973, but the plans for the ballpark were first proposed in 1967 as the city was looking for a way to keep Charles Finley, the owner of the Kansas City A’s, from moving the team elsewhere. Prior to the proposal of the new stadium the Kansas City A’s had been sharing the Kansas City Municipal Stadium with the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL).
Finley did not want to wait for the new stadium to be constructed and took his team to California. During baseball’s winter meetings in 1967, MLB decided to expand by four teams that would begin playing in 1971, but U.S. Senator Stuart Symington pressured the MLB to allow the new franchises to start playing in 1969 – Kansas City received a new team named the Royals.
The ballpark was originally called Royals Stadium and the KC Royals played their first game there on April 10, 1973. The stadium was the first American League ballpark to use astroturf as a playing surface. In 1993, the stadium was renamed in honor of Ewing Kauffman and the astroturf was replaced by real grass.
5. Oakland Coliseum
Year Opened: 1966
Location: Oakland, California
Home Team: Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Coliseum is a multi-purpose stadium that is home to both the MLB’s Oakland Athletics and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. The idea to build a stadium in Oakland was first proposed in the 1940s by the city’s officials as a way to lure a professional baseball and professional football team to the area. Construction on the stadium began in 1962 and was completed in 1966 – the Oakland Raiders played the first game ever at the Coliseum on September 18, 1966. Charlie Finley, the owner of the Kansas City A’s, decided to move his team to Oakland after the 1967 season.
The team was renamed to the Oakland A’s and they played their first game in the coliseum on April 17, 1968. The Raiders moved out of the coliseum to Los Angeles in 1991, but moved back in 1995; the team will be leaving once again as the Raiders plan to move to Las Vegas in either 2019 or 2020. The coliseum has had several name changes as different companies have bought naming rights over the years: UMAX Coliseum in 1997; Network Associates Coliseum in 1998; McAfee Coliseum in 2004;O.co Coliseum in 201l; and back to its original name in 2016.
4. Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Year Opened: 1966
Location: Anaheim, California
Home Team: Los Angeles Angels
Angel Stadium of Anaheim was first opened in 1966 as Anaheim Stadium and since its opening it has been the home of the Los Angeles Angels. The stadium earned its nickname, the “Big A”, because of the A-frame scoreboard topped with a halo that used to be located behind the outfield wall.
Around 1980, the A-frame scoreboard was moved to the parking lot and a newer scoreboard was installed in the stadium. Also around this time, the stadium was expanded and about 23,000 seats were added, bringing its seat capacity up to 65,158. Angel Stadium became a multipurpose stadium and was also home to the Los Angeles Rams (NFL) from 1980 to 1994.
After the Northridge earthquake in 1994, the stadium underwent renovations throughout the 1996 and 1997 seasons. The stadium reverted back to a baseball only stadium and was renamed the Edison International Field until 2003; the team also changed its name to the Anaheim Angels. The ballpark is now known as Angel Stadium of Anaheim and the team changed its name back to the Los Angeles Angels in 2005.
3. Dodger Stadium
Year Opened: 1962
Location: Los Angeles, California
Home Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodger Stadium is the oldest MLB ballpark west of the Mississippi and the third oldest overall. It is the largest stadium by seat capacity in the League, with the ability to hold 50,000 people. The ballpark is home to the Los Angeles Dodgers who were originally from Brooklyn. Walter O’Malley purchased the team in 1950 and wanted to build them a new stadium in New York, but the city’s politicians prevented him from doing so.
O’Malley eventually moved the team to Los Angeles after the 1957 season and construction on Dodger Stadium began in 1959. Dodger Stadium is one of the best kept ballparks in the League – it receives a fresh coat of paint every year and has a full time arborist to take care of the surrounding landscaping.
2. Wrigley Field
Year Opened: 1914
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Home Team: Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field was first opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park for Charles Weeghman’s Chicago Whales of the Federal League. It was the first ballpark to have permanent concession stands. The ballpark was home to the Chicago Whales for two years before the Federal League went bankrupt. Weeghman then bought the Chicago Cubs and moved them to his ballpark for the 1916 season.
A few years later, Weeghman renamed the ballpark to Cubs Park and he sold the team to William Wrigley Jr. of the Wrigley chewing gum Company in 1921. The ballpark had its name changed one last time in 1927 to Wrigley Field. Besides being the home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field was used by the NFL’s Chicago Bears from 1921 to 1970.
1. Fenway Park
Year Opened: 1912
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Home Team: Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium and has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since it was opened in 1912. The Red Sox played their first game in the stadium on April 20, 1912 against the New York Highlanders (eventually renamed the Yankees), with the Red Sox winning the game.
Fenway is one of the smallest stadiums in the League and one of eight that cannot seat at least 40,000 people. Over the years, the stadium has been renovated and expanded, which has resulted in unique features such as Pesky’s Pole and the Green Monster. However, Fenway still retains most of its original feel and look, including its manually operated scoreboard.