4. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
This ballpark is the first retro major league stadium in baseball. It is one of the most highly praised stadiums in Major League Baseball. It is located in downtown Baltimore in the Camden Yards Sports Complex.
Some sports writers have written that Camden Yards “was the stadium that brought in a new era of decadence to Major League Baseball.” It opened in 1992. It was the brainchild of current Red Sox exec Larry Lucchino. The stadium that the Orioles played in during the 1980’s was in a deteriorating condition.
Larry Lucchino was very smart and saw ahead of the trend of enjoying baseball through individual experience: luxury box seats, clean sight lines, unique food vendors, souvenirs that fans couldn’t find anywhere else. Above all, he wanted a stadium that tied into the heart of the city. You will see that connection when you look at the giant mill building in right field – the longest brick building ever built on the East Coast.
There are two orange seats in Oriole Park that are separate from all the dark green seats. One of the orange seats in right-center field marks the spot where Eddie Murray hit his 500th home run and the second orange seat in the left bleachers marks the spot where Cal Ripken, Jr. hit his 278th home run, the most ever hit by a shortstop.
Oriole Park Camden Yards has aged well over the last 20+ years.Its legacy is very easy to spot when you look at all the new ballparks that popped up following Camden Yards’ success.
3. Dodger Stadium
Opened in 1962 and otherwise known colloquially as Chavez Ravine, Dodger Stadium is a throwback to post-war desire to migrate to the West Coast, especially with the advances in airline travel.
Walter O’Malley tried to build a dome stadium in Brooklyn, NY but did not reach an agreement with the city officials for the purchase of the land.
Turning west he did reach an agreement with the city of Los Angeles over a parcel of land called Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers went west. O’Malley purchased 352 acres, and it was upon this property that Dodger Stadium was built.
The stadium has gone through some renovations over the years, but it is still very much the same park that was built in the 1960’s. It is the oldest ballpark west of the Mississippi.
Like all the other ballparks mentioned in this article, Dodger Stadium has had numerous upgrades like replacing of most of the seats from the mid-1970’s which had a “Space Age” feel. The colors of the seats in the 70’s were bright yellow, bright blue and bright orange and red.
There has been an upgrade on the LED video displays, the Green Necklace was built, which is a green walkway that goes all around the stadium, leading to a beautiful outdoor plaza with 360 degrees of spectacular views of Santa Monica Bay and the city skyline.
The biggest reason why this is a nostalgic ballpark is what happened in the stadium. The legend of Sandy Koufax grew out of Dodger Stadium, along with the resurgence of Dodger baseball in the 1980’s with Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Kirk Gibson and others.