RFK Stadium - Washington Nationals tickets

Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium

Wide angle view

Originally named D.C. Stadium

Washington, D.C.

Tenants: Washington Senators (AL; 1962-1971); Washington Nationals (NL; 2005-); Washington Redskins (NFL; 1961-1996); DC United (MLS; 1996-)
Opened: October 1, 1961 (Redskins game)
First Senators game: April 9, 1962
Last Senators game: September 30, 1971
First Nationals game: April 14, 2005
Last Nationals game: September 23, 2007
Surface: Grass (Prescription Athletic Turf)
Capacity: 43,500 (1962), 45,016 (1971,baseball); 55,672 (football)

Architect: George A. Dahl (Dallas), Osborn Engineering (Cleveland) and Ewin Engineering Associates (Washington, DC)
Construction: n/a
Owner: Government of the District of Columbia, under the auspices of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission
Cost: $24 million

Washington Nationals tickets:

Location: Corner of Independence Avenue and 22nd Street in Southeast Washington D.C.

Dimensions: Left field: 335 ft.; left-center: 380 ft.; center field: 408 ft.; right-center: 380 ft.; right field: 335 ft.; backstop: 60 ft.

Fences: Left field: 7 ft. (wire screen).

Aerial view

The Montreal Expos announced they were moving to Washington, DC on September 29, 2004. A move had been in the works since the team was bought by the other 29 Major League Baseball team owners in 2002. On November 22, 2004, it was announced that the team would change its name to the Washington Nationals.

A September 2004 agreement between the Expos and Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams calls for the team to play for three seasons at RFK Stadium while a new ballpark is built. However, the relocation is subject to certain contingencies, including a vote by team owners and passage of legislation by the Washington's City Council to finance the entire cost of a ballpark on the Anacostia River waterfront, south of the Capitol. Votes scheduled for November 2004 by both of those bodies on their respective issues were delayed.

On December 14, 2004 the District of Columbia Council voted to require private financing for at least half the cost of a new ballpark. However, when MLB voiced its opposition to the provision, it was quickly overturned by the council in favor of a plan to solicit private proposals to assist in financing a new ballpark.

The Nationals are scheduled to move into their new stadium on the Anacostia riverfront in April 2008.

Exterior view

After the 1960 season, the original Senators moved to Minnesota. However, Washington, DC was granted an expansion team, also called the Senators, for the next season. The new team played its first season at Griffith Stadium, then moved into the new DC Stadium in 1962. The Washington Redskins of the National Football League had already played here the previous fall, as the stadium was ready by October of 1961.

While the Redskins flourished at the stadium, the Senators never did. They moved to Arlington, Texas after the 1971 season. In the top of the ninth inning of the last Senators game at RFK Stadium, with the Senators leading 7 to 5 and two out, several hundred youths in the yelling crowd of 14,460 surged onto the playing field. The field was vandalized as fans took souvenirs, and the Senators had to forfeit to the Yankees.

RFK Stadium Trivia:

  • Hosted the 1969 and 1962 (II) All-Star games.
  • U.S. presidents traditionally opened each season by throwing out the first ball in this stadium.
  • Renamed Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in 1969 in honor of the late Senator.
  • There are 5 tiers of seats (60% under cover).
  • The stadium has 7 entrances.
  • Parking for over 10,000 cars and 300 buses.
  • President George W. Bush, who was once a part-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team formerly known as the Washington Senators, was the first president since Richard Nixon to throw the ceremonial first pitch of the first regular season game of the year at RFK Stadium on April 14, 2005.
  • After measuring the field with a laser on July 21, 2005, the Nationals moved the distance markers in both power alleys closer to the foul lines to more accurately reflect the 380 feet indicated. Also, the distance to center field was found to be 407.83 feet, not the 410 feet previously indicated.

View from center field

More on RFK Stadium:

Recommended Reading (bibliography):

  • Baseball in Washington, D.C. by Frank Ceresi, Mark Rucker & Carol McMains.
  • 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.
  • The Story of America's Classic Ballparks (VHS).

RFK Stadium game informationGriffith StadiumArlington StadiumRangers Ballpark in Arlington
Jarry ParkOlympic StadiumHiram Bithorn StadiumNationals Park

Washington Nationals
RFK Stadium
2400 East Capitol Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003

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PHOTOGRAPHS:

Wide angle view of RFK stadium © 2005 by Paul Munsey.
Aerial view of RFK Stadium courtesy of the Franklin Digital Collection.
Exterior view of RFK Stadium © 2005 by Paul Munsey.
View of RFK Stadium from center field © 2005 by Paul Munsey.

Updated September 2007

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