Visit Art.com

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

Aerial view of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

Atlanta, Georgia

Tenant: Atlanta Braves (NL)
Opened: 1965
First Braves game: April 12, 1966
Last game: October 24, 1996
Demolished: August 2, 1997
Surface: Grass
Capacity: 51,500 (1965); 52,013 (1992)

Architects: Heery & Heery and Finch, Alexander, Barnes, Rothschild & Paschal (both of Atlanta)
Builder: Thompson & Street Co. (Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA)
Owner: City of Atlanta and Fulton County
Cost: $18 million

Atlanta Braves tickets:

Location: Left field (N by NE), Fulton Street and Interstate 20; third base (W by NW), Washington Street, Interstate 75/85, and Pulliam Street; first base (S by SW), Georgia Avenue; right field (E by SE), Capitol Avenue.

Dimensions: Foul lines: 325 ft. (1966), 330 ft. (1967); power alleys: 385 ft. (1966), 375 ft. (1969), 385 ft. (1974); center field: 402 ft. (1966), 400 ft. (1969), 402 ft. (1973); backstop: 59.92 ft. (1973); foul territory: large (1966), medium (1977).

Fences: 6 ft. (wire, 1966), 10 ft. (4 ft. plexiglass above 6 ft. wire, 1983), 10 ft. (plexiglass, 1985).

During the 1990s, 50,000 people sat in the seats of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium every single night during baseball season, but it wasn’t always such a great spot for baseball. Once the excitement died down after the Braves moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee in 1966, the stadium became infamous for its ghost-town atmosphere. It was there that only 1,762 people turned out to watch the great Nolan Ryan pitch and a mere 970 came to see a Houston Astros-Braves doubleheader in 1976.

When new owner Ted Turner arrived in 1976, he decided to stage a promotion every day. What followed were some of the most memorable promotional events in the history of baseball. There was Wedlock and Headlock Day-in which the Braves let 34 couples get married on the field before a game and then staged a pro wrestling match after it. Despite those events, the Braves drew less than a million fans for eight straight seasons in the 1970s.

For many years, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was also known as the home of baseball’s worst playing surface. The ballpark didn’t even have a full-time groundskeeper until 1989. Before that, it had been tended by a city streets crew. But when Bobby Cox became manager, he and General Manager John Schuerholz changed almost everything about the stadium. The old infield was ripped out and the entire stadium was resurfaced. The NFL Falcons moved out, leaving the sod safe from damage by football cleats. And as the team on the field gradually transformed itself into the National League’s dynasty of the 1990s, this onetime baseball laughingstock suddenly became one of the most electrifying ballparks in the land.

Aerial view of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
 
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and Atlanta

It was there, on October 14, 1992, that the obscure Francisco Cabrera became a cult hero by stroking a game-winning pinch hit with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the playoff series against the Pirates. The stadium hosted NLCS playoff action in 1991, 1992, and 1993. The first National League playoff game in history was played there on October 4, 1969, and the Cincinnati Reds’ Joe Morgan finished a sensational All-Star Game there in 1972 with a game-winning hit in the 10th inning. Niekro threw the stadium’s only complete-game no-hitter on August 6, 1973. Braves pitchers Gene Garber and Larry McWilliams stopped Pete Rose’s 44-game hitting streak there on August 1, 1978, and on July 6, 1986, Atlanta’s Bob Horner became the first man in history to hit four home runs in a game his team managed to lose. On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron slammed a pitch from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing over the left field fence for the 715th homer of his storied career, lifting Aaron past Babe Ruth for the all-time home run lead. The Braves moved across the parking lot to Turner Field following the 1996 Olympic Games.

Trivia:

  • Three statues outside the stadium honor Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, and Phil Niekro.
  • Used in 1965 by the Class AAA International League Crackers.
  • Hosted the 1972 All-Star game.
  • Big Victor, a large totem-pole-styled figure, stood in the stadium in 1966. The huge head tilted and the eyes rolled whenever a Brave hit a home run.
  • With an altitude of more than 1,000 feet above sea level, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was (until the Colorado Rockies entered the major leagues) the highest park in the majors, which results in many homers and the nickname "the Launching Pad."
  • Chief Noc-A-Homa’s Wigwam replaced Big Victor in 1967. From 1967 to 1971 the teepee stood on a 20-foot-square platform behind the left field fence. In 1972 the teepee was moved to right field. From 1973 to 1977 it was back in left field. From 1978 to August 1982 the teepee was moved to left-center, occupying 235 seats between aisles 128 and 130, rows 18-30. From August to early September 1982 it was removed in anticipation of additional revenue in the playoffs, "causing" a disastrous tailspin for the first-place Braves. Its replacement coincided with the Braves’ comeback to win the division crown in 1982. The teepee’s removal on August 11, 1983, saw another losing streak that could not be overcome by its return on September 16. It stood as a permanent outfield installation until the Braves moved to Turner Field.
  • 22-foot outfield wall never in play.
  • 80-year-old calliope organ installed in 1971.
  • Known simply as Atlanta Stadium until Ted Turner bought the team in 1976.

More on Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium:

Recommended Reading (bibliography):

  • 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.
  • City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
  • Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
  • Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
  • Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
  • Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
  • The Story of America's Classic Ballparks (VHS).

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium seating diagramSouth End GroundsBraves FieldCounty Stadium
Turner Field   

Help us provide a better web site by completing our feedback form

PHOTOGRAPHS:

View inside Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium © 1996 by Munsey & Suppes and Ray Bergman.
Aerial view by Munsey & Suppes.
View of the stadium and Atlanta by Munsey & Suppes.

Updated April 2007

Tickets to Atlanta Braves, Carolina Panthers, NCAA Football, Paul McCartney, College Football Bowl, Justin Timberlake Duluth, NCAA Basketball Tournament, Taylor Swift Atlanta and Wicked Atlanta provided by Ticket Triangle.

BALLPARKS © 1996-2014 by Munsey & Suppes.