Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum - Oakland Athletics tickets

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

formerly UMAX Coliseum, Network Associates
Coliseum & McAfee Coliseum

Oakland, California

Tenants: Oakand Athletics (AL); Oakland Raiders (NFL)
Opened: 1966
First A's game: April 17, 1968
Surface: Bluegrass
Capacity: 50,000 (1968), 49,649 (1977), 50,255 (1981), 50,219 (1983), 50,255 (1985), 50,219 (1986), 49,219 (1987), 50,219 (1988), 49,219 (1989), 48,219 (1990), 47,450 (1991), 47,313 (1992), 48,219 (1996, baseball)

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (1966); HNTB (1996).
Construction: Guy F. Atkinson Company (1966); Tutor-Saliba (1996)
Owner: City of Oakland and Alameda County.
Cost: $25.5 million (1966); $200 million (1996 renovations).

Oakland Athletics tickets:

Location: Center field (NE), San Leandro Street and Southern Pacific Railroad tracks; third base (NW), 66th Avenue; home plate (SW), Nimitz Freeway (I-880); first base (SE), Hegenberger Road.

Dimensions: Foul lines: 330; power alleys: 378 (1968), 375 (1969), 372 (1981), 375 (current); center field: 410 (1968), 400 (1969), 396 (1981), 397 (1982), 400 (1990); backstop: 90 (1968), 60 (1969); foul territory: largest in majors.

Fences: 8 ft. (plywood, 1968); 10 ft. (canvas over plywood and plexiglass, 1981); 8 ft. (1986); 8 ft. in left, center and right fields, 16 ft. in the power alleys (1996).

On a stretch of land near an Oakland freeway, Alameda county broke ground for the Coliseum and Sports Arena. Completed in 1966 with only the Oakland Raiders as tenants, the $25.5 million complex lured the Athletics from Kansas City in 1968 and the Warriors from San Francisco in 1971. Although the Coliseum held 48,219 spectators for baseball, the Aís didnít draw 1 million fans in a season until 1973, reaching that level only twice in their first 13 years in Oakland.

The Coliseum has been home to some of the biggest names in baseball. Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Reggie Jackson and Rollie Fingers were A's teammates in the early 1970s. Dick Williams, Alvin Dark, Chuck Tanner, Billy Martin, and Tony La Russa were all managers in Oakland. In the late-1980s the Coliseum became home to another group of Oakland stars: Rookie of the Year winners Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, and Walt Weiss helped produce three consecutive American League titles beginning in 1988 and a World Series title won in the "Bay Bridge" series sweep against the San Francisco Giants in 1989. In the Coliseum, "Catfish" Hunter pitched a perfect game in 1968 and Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brockís stolen base record in 1991.

Aerial of original Coliseum complex
 
Down the left field line

To satisfy a provision in the 1995 agreement to bring the Raiders back to Oakland, after a 12-year stint in Los Angeles, a Coliseum renovation project began in November 1995 and proceeded through the 1996 baseball season. Although the renovations were projected to cost $100 million, the cost eventually ballooned to $200 million. 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. The project has removed the outfield bleachers but added two 40,000-square-foot clubs, 22,000 seats, 125 luxury suites, a 9000-square-foot kitchen, two new color video boards and two matrix scoreboards.

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. In 2003, the deal was renewed for another 5 years at a cost of $6 million. In 2004, Network Associates was renamed McAfee, and the name of the Athletics' stadium was changed accordingly. In 2008, the naming rights deal expired and the Coliseum reverted to its original name.

Walking in from BART
 
Luxury suites built for the Raiders

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Trivia:

  • Surrounded by a beautiful green iceplant slope.
  • Backstop is a notch cut in the stands.
  • 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.
  • Hosted the 1987 All-Star game.
  • Called "the Mausoleum" by some, the term gained popularity in the late 1970s when the scoreboard didnít work, the entire stadium was gray concrete in color, and the Aís were terrible.
  • Expansive foul territory reduces batting average by roughly five to seven points, making this the best pitcherís park in the AL.
  • Winds favor lefthanded batters.
  • Next door to the "Jewel Box," home of the NBAís Golden State Warriors.
  • First baseball appearance of "The Wave." sparked by the drum-toting, dugout-hopping "Crazy George," on October 15, 1981.
  • Rap singer Hammer (Stanley Burrell) was discovered dancing in the parking lots before a game by Finley. He held several jobs with the A's and was eventually promoted to a team vice president.
  • Fans sitting at the foul poles can catch home run fair balls by reaching in front of the foul pole screens.
  • On September 4, 2002, a crowd of 55,528 watched the A's break the American League record for consecutive wins by winning their 20th game in a row. The official capacity of 48,219 does not include upper deck seating in the outfield, which was built for football.
  • The Athletics closed the third deck for the 2006 season, decreasing seating capacity to 34,077.
  • Retired numbers: Jim "Catfish Hunter" (27) in 1990, Rollie Fingers (34) in 1993, Reggie Jackson (9) in 2004 & Dennis Eckersley (43) in 2005.

More on Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum:

Recommended Reading (bibliography):

  • Fodor's Baseball Vacations, 3rd Edition: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballparks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
  • The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
  • Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
  • Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
  • The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
  • Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
  • Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit (2nd Edition) by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
  • Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
  • Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

Coliseum seating diagramColumbia Park ParkShibe ParkMunicipal Stadium
Cisco Field   

Oakland Athletics
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
7000 Coliseum Way
Oakland, California 94621

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PHOTOGRAPHS:

Aerial view of the Coliseum © 2003 by Mike Smith
Inside the Coliseum © 1999 by Ira Rosen.
Aerial view of the original Coliseum complex courtesy of the Oakland A's.
Down the left field line from the upper deck © 1996 by Paul Munsey.
Concourse from the BART station to the Coliseum © 1996 Paul by Munsey.
Luxury suites in the outfield pavilion built for the Raiders © 1996 by Paul Munsey.

Special thanks to Mark Murphy.

Updated April 2006

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