San Diego, CA
Review by Mike
Jack Murphy Stadium was the home of the San Diego Padres of the National League prior to moving to Petco Park in downtown San Diego in 2003. This stadium has undergone several name changes and is currently named for a credit union, but it was Jack Murphy Stadium (brother of legendary Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy) when I visited, so that is what I will call it.
Jack Murphy Stadium has changed a bit since these photos were taken in 1994. I walked around the stadium in 2017 and found it to be a little worse for wear. The upper deck has been fully enclosed and the Chargers have also left, leaving The Murph seeming forlorn and forgotten. The concrete exterior was in need of a good power-washing. These developments can only detract from what was a pleasant, if unremarkable ballpark.
You have to drive east from San Diego to get to the stadium, which stands all by itself in a valley with mountains to the north and south. The views of these mountains were very nice, but, alas, the enclosing of the bowl eliminated this nice feature.
The stadium itself is multi-purpose, but much nicer than most of the others built during the same era. The somewhat rectangular shape allows the seats to be a little closer to the field and it was a little bit smaller and cozier than you would expect from a stadium of the 1960s. The stadium also bucked the artificial turf craze and always featured a natural grass field.
You may notice that the upper deck was completely covered by tarpaulins decorated with logos of the other major league teams. This looked very nice, but made a sad statement about the popularity of the team at the time. Our seats were down by 3rd base, but the southern California sun can be brutal, even in mild San Diego, so we moved up to the loge level, with no objection from anyone, from which we had a very nice view of the action.
The sunbathers out in the centerfield bleachers seemed to care not at all about the goings-on down on the field, nor did anybody else, for that matter. It was a far cry from the wild crowds seen there during the 1998 postseason. This was laidback, southern California baseball. Considering the atmosphere, small crowd, and closed upper deck, it really seemed much more like AAA than a big league game, but it was pleasant enough. Jack Murphy served it’s purpose well, but the Padres, and San Diego, did the right thing by moving downtown to the stunning Petco Park.