All Sports Stadium
Oklahoma City, OK
Review by Gary
Once located on the Oklahoma state fairgrounds, All Sports Stadium was home to the Oklahoma City 89ers from 1962 to 1997. The dug-in bowl stadium had a capacity of 15,000 and opened in 1961. The ballpark had a combination of reserved seats, general admission aluminum bleachers and a tall outfield wall festooned with colorful advertisements.
All Sports harkened back to the day when you took the kids to just see a ballgame. There were no merry-go-rounds, water slides, or bouncy castles to be found here. From most any seat in the park, the skyline of downtown Oklahoma City could be viewed beyond the right field fence.
Oklahoma City has been home to professional baseball for all but a few years since 1904, when the Metropolitans (Mets) were established as the city's first team. Speaking of Mets, Legendary NY Met broadcaster Bob Murphy called games for the 89ers’ forerunner, the Oklahoma Indians, from 1949-1952. The Oklahoma-born Murphy made his first appearance in a baseball broadcast booth with the Muskogee (OK) Reds.
The 89ers were named for the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, when an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres. The Unassigned Lands were considered some of the best-unoccupied public lands in the United States. As a fan of my adopted team, the Texas Rangers, catching an occasional 89ers game at All Sports gave me the opportunity to see future Rangers as the 89ers were the AAA team of Texas from 1983-2010.
The stadium was closed in 1997 after the franchise’s new downtown home, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark was ready. 1997 marked the end of an era for Oklahoma City baseball in many ways. The American Association folded at the end of that season and the club moved back to the PCL, re-branded as the Oklahoma Red Hawks for the 1998 season. In the year after baseball left All Sports, Oklahoma City's first Triple-A ballpark had been repurposed as a household hazardous waste collection site. All Sports was demolished in 2005 and with it all of its baseball memories gone by the “waste” side.
"All Sports Stadium will always hold a special place in my heart. Growing up in New York, there was only major league baseball around me. The minor leagues were not even on my radar. These were small, distant places where rookies came from and lousy players went to fade away. As a result, All Sports Stadium is the first minor league ballpark I ever visited as we passed through Oklahoma City on the road from Dallas to St Louis. I didn't get to see a game, but I got to walk around what, to me, seemed very exotic place. A small ball park, with intimate seating, compared to Shea Stadium. I was entranced. It took the strike of 1994 to get me out to my first minor league baseball game, at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut, but it was All Sports Stadium that first sparked the interest in the minor leagues that has led me to this lifelong Adventure."