Mario V, Chicago, IL -- Aug 18, 2007 15:47 PM
10 visit(s). My rating: 7
Anything negative I can think of to describe old Municipal Stadium has surely been stated a thousand times over in almost every form of media known to man. Parking was often accompanied by a walk through 300 yards of gravel and mud, your safety outside the ballpark was sometimes a genuine concern after night games, and you could not help but notice the peculiar mixture of fish and industry odor wafting through the air. Once you got into the ballpark you were greeted with a walk through completely featureless concourses that smelled of rust and damp air. Concessions were sparse and unevenly distributed through the walkways, and you often found yourself walking through portions that were devoid of fans and staff alike. You might have a hard time envisioning just how this place looked in November with 74,000 people buzzing around for the Browns.


Mario V, Chicago, IL -- Aug 18, 2007 15:51 PM
10 visit(s). My rating: 7
A first time visitor to the park would likely buy a few souvenirs and a drink and hot dog, then find the ramp leading to their seats in the upper deck. As they climbed the stairwell they eyeball the aisle seats, cross referencing the ticket stub looking for the appropriate row, only to notice that the numbers painted on sometime in the mid 70's have peeled and weathered off to the point of non existence. They turn back to count the rows behind them, only now noticing the terrifying heights which they have attained from the ground. Row 24...25...26. The fan settles into a battered, tiny wooden seat that may have been as likely painted yellow by maintenence crews, as the very air around it. The game begins and sometime towards the fourth inning, as the Indians coast their way towards another loss in an atrocious summer campaign, the fan notices something startling: there isn't another person within 100 foot radius of them.


Mario V, Chicago, IL -- Aug 18, 2007 15:53 PM
10 visit(s). My rating: 7
Hence, the great things about Cleveland Stadium. First, tickets were DAMN cheap. Even in a relative sense to the 80's...before the age of rude, restricted level access, and scalpers demanding $250 for regular season games. On an average summer weekday night, you could bring a few Pepsi cans in tow and get everyone tickets for $5. You could walk anywhere you pleased before, during, and after the game,running down towards the bullpens for autographs without a staff member checking your ticket to remind you of your place in the social class system. Once you did return to your designated seat, you had the sublime personal choice to remain in your own splendid solitude, free of blocked views from people ignorantly having conversations in the aisle, happily watching from high and above, filling in box scores to a game that felt like it belonged solely to you and those you came with. Or you could move down to the lower deck, with the support columns at your back and among the other 7,000 hardy fans.


Mario V, Chicago, IL -- Aug 18, 2007 15:55 PM
10 visit(s). My rating: 7
Into my teenage years, the staff were regularly obliging to ignore any kind of strict seating regiment and let my friends and me move right down on the field or sit behind the dugouts. One great thing about a losing team that needs all the support it can get, I suppose. Of course, concerning the game itself, Municipal Stadium offered the kind of experience one only sees at Wrigley Field these days. No replay boards gifting you with plays you should have been watching at the time, or blaring car commercials between innings. One felt as if all the money that needed to be begged and inticed from you was taken at the gate and concession stands. Also absent were artificial crowd pumpers and sound meters. The noise came from all those empty seats, which you would grab on either side and slam rhythmically back into their bolts.


Mario V, Chicago, IL -- Aug 18, 2007 15:56 PM
10 visit(s). My rating: 7
The Indians themselves were a scrappy team of players, clawing and scratching for wins that so often did not come, and you really felt a sense of connection and kinship with the team..... that the environment they were given to play in was the same you were presented to watch in. Nothing can ever replace that sort of intangible...not through promotions, field dimensions, or architectural design. The Jake is a place that appeases every aesthetic of comfort known to man, and does a great job of providing a sense of "got my dollars worth" to it's patrons, but it lacks the ability to cultivate loyalty to the Tribe through the level of punishment, discomfort, and humilty one suffered at the hands of the stadium, and the numbers on it's scoreboard. In it's own strange way, it was the perfect place for a kid to bring a glove and learn about every nuance of baseball, to take a sense of identity that can be carried with them no matter what new baseball city they may move to. It's something that brings a weird, misleading smirk to the faces of Cleveland sports fans old enough to remember, and I'm glad I was able to experience it.


Bruce B, Lakewood, OH -- Sep 05, 2007 11:30 AM
10 visit(s). My rating: 5
About the only remnant of the old place that you can still see is the big neon Chief Wahoo sign that used to adorn the southeast corner of the stadium. It is at the Western Reserve Historical Society about 15 minutes away from site and still glows in all of its splendor. I miss this place, even though Jacobs Field is beautiful and has had a lot of winning baseball. Cleveland Stadium had a certain smell (cigar smoke and beer) and the magic of coming up the ramps to your seat and seeing the field that doesn't exist at the new, cleaner, more ploitically correct and open "Jake". It's the place of my first foul ball catch- Tony Oliva, first autograph- Sam McDowell and seeing Mickey Mantle in 1966 on a Cub Scout Field trip.


Wes K, Franklin, TN -- Oct 05, 2007 22:38 PM
10 visit(s). My rating: 3
I saw at least 500 games at the Mistake on the Lake. I just missed the great 1954 team, as I was only 3 then, but I remember Herb Score pitching before he got hit in the eye. My uncle (a baseball scout) believed that Score was a better pitcher than Sandy Koufax and had an even better curve with a late breaking drop. This place should have been just a football stadium. The only two good things I can say about going to baseball games there in the 1960's and 1970's were being able to buy a general admission ticket and then moving behind home plate after a couple innings, and being able to get out of the park with no traffic jams. One evening, when the Indians were about 35 games behind Baltimore in the standings, and the weather was lousy, and the opponent for a double header was the just as lame Washington Senators, Eddie Leon hit consecutive foul balls to the area where I was sitting. I was the ONLY person sitting within 10 seats of both balls, and I got both of them. The attendance that night was something like 2,500. The second game of that doubleheader went 20 innings, and by the time the game was in the 17th inning, there wasn't 500 people left in the park.


David G, Keego Harbor, MI -- Jun 10, 2009 12:39 PM
2 visit(s). My rating: 1
All of the comments here about the great seats because of lack of enforcement, the ability to leave the stadium without worrying about traffic jams, etc. are reflections of a crappy team, not the stadium. I'd like to give a more neutral perspective: First of all, the stadium stank like urine and body odor. There was evidence of vermin everywhere, like feces and actual dead rats and pigeons. There were posts obscuring view (common to parks of the time). Seats were tiny. The low decks obscured any fly balls. The layout was flat out boring. It was way too big. Bottom line: horrible sight lines, ugly stadium, terrible parking, etc. By far the worst stadium of any kind that I've ever been to.


Dwight Jellison, canton, OH -- Oct 16, 2012 10:37 AM
1 visit(s). My rating: 5
you made a comment about cleveland, being a medium sized city, building a massive stadium. keep in mind that at one point cleveland was the sixth largest city in north america. this was during the boom of the steel industry. cleveland's population collapse didn't occur until the economic downturn of the 70s. during the 40s and 50s the indians had no problem filling the stadium and the browns filled the stadium for 4 consecutive decades. the stadium, when built, really wasn't too big. it just became too big when the indians were not competitive (between the early 60s until the early 90s) and for the final season of cleveland browns football.


randy mast, MEDINA, OH -- Apr 30, 2014 18:02 PM
10 visit(s). My rating: 5
It was a rat hole, but it was our rat hole. It belonged to true fans that were there at the last game of the season in October. Keep in mind we never played a meaningful game in Cleveland for 41 years but you could get a general admission ticket for three bucks and bring in a bag of chili dogs from the Hot Dog Inn and have a great experience with 5000 of the loyal fans that would show up on a Tuesday Night. Fondest memory was watching the Seattle Pilots beat Louie Tiant as he gave up a home run to Diego Segui. Also was there on a night the game was called for fog. What a place !


Zach LaFleur, Fowlerville, MI -- Sep 14, 2014 17:09 PM
1 visit(s). My rating: 5
Oops, Andrew, your added 1932 track and field diagram doesn't show up yet? If we would have had a stadium this big in Detroit, it would be still in use today, for the capacity is even greater than any in New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles (with the exception of Memorial Colosseum), which didn't have adequate space for a baseball field in it ever, especially now! The only downside of such a large stadium is if it isn't sold out, local broadcasts aren't allowed, at least in the NFL! You'd have to tune in to a station at least 75 miles away, and you probably know how spotty digital reception is at this distance, a lot worse than the old analog broadcasting, I'll say!


Frank Capo, Ashtabula, OH -- Dec 20, 2014 11:20 AM
10 visit(s). My rating: 5
Saw many, many games here including the 1981 All-Star game which, by the way, still has the attendance record for an All-Star game. It was cavernous, to be sure and not well kept but I never saw rats or anything. It wasn't a bad place to watch a baseball or football game. The first sections of the upper deck were fairly close to the field because of the beam construction used in those days. I wish they would bring back that type of construction. Upper decks in today's modern ballparks are way too steep and too far from the field. Ask anyone who has been in the upper deck at the Jake.


Peter S, Chicago, IL -- May 09, 2016 10:28 AM
6 visit(s). My rating: 3
I enjoy your site but find it riddled with errors. In this article you state that Rocky Colavito lead the Indians in some pennant races in the 60s. Rocky was traded to the Detroit Tigers on the last day of spring training in 1960. I suggest that if you don't know something, just leave it out. Regarding the stadium, the only defining term I can think of is "too big."