World Baseball Network
Dec. 31, 2022
Do you love baseball? Do you have an itch to travel? If you answered yes to both those questions, World Baseball Network has a list of historic and unique ballparks you might like to visit.
10. Oxford-University Stadium at Swayze Field – Oxford, Mississippi
The home of the defending NCAA Division I national champions, Oxford-University Stadium was built in 1989 as the new home of the University of Mississippi baseball program. The field is named for Tom Swayze, the head coach at Ole Miss from 1950-71, who had six of his Rebels go on to play in the Major Leagues. If you sit in the student section in right field, expect to get wet – the students spray beer in the air after every Ole Miss home run.
9. Dunn Field – Elmira, New York
The longtime home of professional baseball teams known as the Pioneers, Elmira’s Dunn Field, built in 1939, now hosts a Pioneers ballclub in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League and the Elmira College Soaring Eagles. The 4,020-seat ballpark was also the site of long-time player, coach, and manager Don Zimmer’s wedding, which took place on the field before a Pioneers game on Aug. 16, 1951, in which Zimmer played and went 3-for-4.
8. Parc Victoria/Stade Municipal – Quebec City, Quebec
Also built in 1939, Quebec City’s Stade Municipal hosted the Montreal Expos’ Double-A affiliate from 1971-77. The stadium went dark for 20 years, but got a renovation in the late 1990s that brought independent baseball to town.
7. Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium – Boone, North Carolina
The home of Appalachian State’s baseball program is the rare ballpark that might be at its prettiest when there’s no baseball being played. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains in Boone, N.C., there are no shortage of photos of Smith Stadium during peak foliage season.
6. Hiram Bithorn Stadium – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Built in 1962 with an architectural look that reflects that era, Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan was briefly a part-time host to the Expos during their final years in Montreal. It’s also been home to the Senadores de San Juan and the Cangrejeros de Santurce of the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League.
5. Tokyo Dome – Tokyo, Japan
Since opening in 1988, the Tokyo Dome has been the home of the Yomiuri Giants ever since, while also hosting the Nippon Ham Fighters from 1998 to 2003. In 2023, the Tokyo Dome will host games in pool play and the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic – the fifth time the stadium has hosted WBC games. Major League Baseball has played five regular season two-game series at the Tokyo Dome. In 2019, when Seattle and Oakland visited, Ichiro Suzuki played his final MLB game at the Tokyo Dome, retiring after the second game of the set.
4. Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Home to two of the Dominican Republic’s most famous winter league teams, Tigres de Licey and Leones de Escogido, the 14, 469-seat Estadio Quisqueya also carries the name of Juan Marichal, one of the greatest pitchers to come from the island nation. Opened in 1955, It is based on the design of Miami Stadium, which opened six years earlier. The ballpark has hosted 10 Caribbean Series, with both Licey and Escogido winning twice on their home diamond.
3. Rickwood Field – Birmingham, Alabama
Built in 1910, Rickwood Field is a living tribute to the history of minor league and Negro League baseball. It has hosted various incarnations of the Birmingham Barons, who still return annually to play the Rickwood Classic, a Barons home game where both teams wear period uniforms. From 1920 until 1960, Rickwood Field was the home of the Birmingham Black Barons, with whom Willie Mays, from nearby Fairfield, won the Negro American League championship in 1948. The old ballpark has been a shooting location for the movies Cobb and 42, and hosted Major League spring training in 1911, 1919, and 1920.
2. Hanshin Koshien Stadium – Nishinomiya, Japan
Owned by the Hanshin Electric Railway Co., Koshien Stadium is the host of Japan’s annual National High School Baseball Championship, as well as the NPB’s Osaka/Hanshin Tigers. The tournament, colloquially referred to as “Summer Koshien,” draws 49 teams to the stadium for a two-week tournament, a cultural touchstone in Japan. A number of elements of the stadium are based on the Polo Grounds, the former home of the New York Giants, New York Yankees and New York Mets, such as the look of the scoreboard and outfield bleachers.
1. Estadio Latinoamericano – Havana, Cuba
The home of Cuba’s winningest team, Industriales, Estadio Latinoamericano is the second-largest baseball stadium by capacity in the world, with only Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles being larger. Another Cuban team, Metropolitanos, played there from 1974 to 2012. From 1954 to 1960, the park was home to the International League’s Havana Sugar Kings, the Class AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, who hastily moved to Jersey City, N.J. following the Cuban Revolution. Major League teams have visited the park to play exhibition games against the Cuban National Team twice; on March 28, 1999, when the Baltimore Orioles visited, and on March 22, 2016, when the Tampa Bay Rays faced the Cuban team in a game attended by then-President Barack Obama. The game marked the first visit by a U.S. President to Cuba since 1928.