7677 Oakport St., Suit 200
For ticket information call: (510)
plays here: Oakand
Athletics in the American League; the Oakland Raiders of the NFL.
Also, the stadium hosts a variety of rock concerts and entertainment
First opened: 1966
for football. The first A's game was April
Architect: Skidmore, Owings &
Merrill in 1966; HNTB in 1996 for the renovations.
Construction: Tutor-Saliba (1996)
Owner: City of Oakland and Alameda County.
Cost: $25.5 million for the original construction in 1966 (equivalent
to $123 million in 1996 dollars); $200
million for the 1996 renovations.
atrocious Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum represents everything that's
wrong with baseball stadiums, from the unimaginative symmetrical, circular
design, to the accommodation of the Oakland Raiders in the same stadium,
to the location (next to an Oakland freeway), to the name (first it was
named the drab and municipal "Oakland-Alameda County Stadium,"
and now it's named after a software security company that has nothing to
do with baseball).
Fans of big government solutions to, say, health care or education, should
see how governments do when they build ballparks. The stadium is perfectly circular, built with three decks and
no roof. This stadium was originally built with the Oakland Raiders in mind, and the
imposition of a baseball diamond on a football field resulted in a massive
foul territory with the stands distanced from the playing area in a
The seating for baseball games is generally poor, with the bleachers
stretching far away from the playing surface and even front row seats
distanced from the playing field.
The man who brought baseball to Oakland was none other than Charlie
Finley, whose ideas in the promotion of baseball ranged from absurd (he
pushed for an orange baseball) to unfortunate (he successfully pushed for
the designated hitter). Finley had the temperament and tolerance of
George Steinbrenner and the personality of Marge Schott; in the 1973 World
Series, he tried to have second baseman Mike Andrews disqualified (and his
World Series roster spot opened up) when Andrews committed two errors in
the 12th inning of an A's loss.
He brought the Athletics franchise from Kansas City, where they had had a
rough 12-year stint (they were perennially at the bottom of the league,
and attendance never once cleared a million fans after the first season).
The Warriors came over from Philadelphia in the same year - the Jewel Box
is in the same sports complex.
The Raiders left for Los Angeles in 1982, and the A's began a period of
solid baseball under new management. Under manager Tony LaRussa, they went
from a .500 team in 1987 to four first-place finishes in five years,
highlighted by winning the 1989 World Series in a four-game sweep against
the San Francisco Giants. Attendance rose from around 1.3 million from
1984 to 1986, to a high of 2.9 million in 1990 (from 1994 to 1997,
attendance averaged around 1.2 million).
The Raiders came back to Oakland for the 1996 season, after 12 years in
Los Angeles. To satisfy a provision
in the 1995 agreement which brought the Raiders back, a Coliseum renovation project began in
November 1995 and proceeded through the 1996 baseball season. Deadlines
were missed, and the A's played their first few home games of the 1996
season in Las Vegas while work crews installed new seats in the Coliseum.
Although the renovations were projected at $100 million, the cost
eventually ballooned to $200 million.
The outfield bleachers were removed
but the renovations added two 40,000-square-foot clubs, 22,000 seats, 125
luxury suites, a 9,000-square-foot kitchen for the concessions, two new
color video boards and two matrix scoreboards.
Ironically, the Coliseum is probably a better place to play baseball since
the return of the Raiders. The walls are now straight-edged and quirky,
and the stadium's foul territory was greatly reduced in size.
CA. Center field, to the NE, runs along San Leandro Street and the
Southern Pacific Railroad tracks. The third base base side (NW) borders
along 66th Avenue. Home plate (SW), faces the Nimitz Freeway (I-880).
first base (SE) borders on Hegenberger Road.
lines: 330 feet
alleys: 378 (1968), 375 (1969),
372 (1981), 362 (1996)
field: 410 (1968), 400 (1969),
396 (1981), 397 (1982), 400 (1990).
90 (1968), 60 (1969)
territory: Largest in majors. Think Grand Canyon.
The stadium was originally known as a
pitchers' park because of breezes blowing in from nearby San Francisco Bay,
but after centerfield skyboxes were added in 1995 for the return of the
Raiders, this deflected the normal wind patterns. The power alleys were
also shortened by 13 feet, which has helped batters significantly.
After the partial enclosure of this cavernous stadium, prior to the 1996
season, flyballs have carried much better. Prior to 1996, the 1987 Oakland
Athletics had the team record for home runs with 199; in 1996 and 1997,
the team hit 243 and 197 home runs respectively, indicating how much more
run-friendly the newly refurbished Coliseum is.
Between 1979 and 1995, only once did the ballpark have a run index of over
100 (103 in 1989). In 1996 and 1997, the newly renovated ballpark
had run indices of 103 and 108, respectively. But from 1998 to 2000,
the run index dropped to 88, the lowest in the American League.
(Only Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego are
lower over this period.)
It's still a tough place to score, though it's not as extreme as
it used to be. The reasons are:
The foul territory is immense. I mean, gigantic. The rounded playing field
leaves seemingly acres between the baselines and the crowd - the backstop
is 60 feet away and remains almost as distanced from the playing field
from 1st to 3rd base.
Winds coming in off the San Francisco Bay hold up fly balls that get up
too high in a wicked jet stream.
The thick natural grass holds up a lot of ground balls, benefiting ground
Starting in midsummer, shadows often fall across the plate, making it
harder for hitters to pick up pitches.
The wind patterns slightly favor left-handed
batters, though statistically the effect seems not to have shown up in the
past few years.
The right side of the infield and outfield suffers a severe sun problem,
making tracking flyballs a problem. Because of the immense foul territory,
speed at the corners of the outfield is more important than in any other
ballpark. The thick grass favors infielders who have limited range
but strong throwing arms.
Before the renovations in 1996, the smooth, round outfield wall made it
relatively easy to play outfield here, and the number of doubles and
triples was well below average. However, since the renovations, the number
of outfield errors is much higher (thanks to the straight walls and quirky
angles that have replaced the round outfield walls) and the number of
doubles and triples has skyrocketed.
It's only 330 feet to the foul poles, so pull
hitters can benefit (see Matt Stairs, at least prior to 1999). But the
primary part of the A's order posted almost identical stats at home and on
the road: Eric Chavez hit 15 of his 26 HR at home in 2000, and league MVP
Jason Giambi hit 23 of his 43 HR at home and batted 31 points higher at
home. Shortstop Miguel Tejada clocked 16 homers at home and 14 on
the road, and batted 12 points higher on the road; Terrence Long hit 9
homers at home, 9 more on the road and batted 16 points higher on the
do better here - Tim Hudson was 12-1 at home in 2000, with an ERA of 3.63, while
he was 8-5 with a road ERA of 4.83. Similarly, Kevin Appier had a road ERA
that was a run and a half higher than his home ERA. And speed players can use the thick grass to their advantage if
they can keep it on the ground, like Rickey Henderson did in the late 1980s.
Hitters with alley power really struggle here.
Ben Grieve is one example - in 2000, he hit .256 at home and .302 on the
In 1996, the park underwent renovations that changed the shape of the
park. Straight walls and quirky angles have replaced the old, round walls,
thus vastly increasing the chances of committing an outfield error. Below
are the park factors after the renovation:
2001 STATS, Inc.
- Second-lowest batting average, RHB, and hit
factor in AL in 2000
- Third-lowest batting average, run, hit
and home run factor in AL in 1999
- Second-lowest strikeout factor in AL in
Lowest batting average in the AL in 1998
Lowest run factor in the AL in 1998
Lowest hit factor in the AL in 1998
Lowest RHB batting average in the AL in 1998 and 1999
- The Coliseum is such a football
stadium that the backstop is basically a notch cut out of the stands.
In 1968, it was 90 feet away from the plate, but that distance was cut
to a more reasonable 60 feet in 1969.
- A manual scoreboard was installed in
- In September 1997 UMAX Technologies, a
tiny Bay Area subsidiary of a Taiwanese computer hardware maker,
bought the naming rights to the Coliseum. The deal would have given
Oakland, Alameda County and the Raiders NFL franchise more than $17
million over 10 years. However, a dispute arose and a 1998 court
decision reinstated the stadium's original name. Later that year,
Network Associates agreed to pay $5.8 million to put their name on the
stadium for 5 years
- It was once possible to watch games
for free from the concourse behind the field seats by peering between
wooden slats in the cyclone fence.
- Nicknamed "the Mausoleum" by
some fans in the late 1970s, when the scoreboard didnít work and the
entire stadium was gray concrete
- First baseball appearance of "The
Wave." sparked by the drum-toting, dugout-hopping "Crazy
George," on October 15, 1981.