Music - American Storm by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet band
Photographed in 1994, 1995 and 2005 using film.
Progressive Field - Opened in 1994 and is still in use. Known as Gateway Stadium during construction, Jacobs Field 1994 -2007, Progressive Field 2007 - present.
The change from old cavernous Cleveland stadium to Jacob's field in 1994 was a change for the good. The old park had seen it's day. As many Clevelander's have said, old Municipal stadium was a dump, but it was OUR dump. There could be 30,000 people in the old girl, and it would still feel empty. The Indians had been planning for a new stadium for years, and in 1994 they got it. In May of 1990, the voters of Cuyahoga County approved a 15 year sin tax on alcohol and cigarettes to fund both Jacob's field and the Gund arena. They would be built side by side in downtown Cleveland as part of the gateway sports and entertainment complex. In June of 1992, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown at the construction site. Soon after, demolition began on the old central market, which had stood for over 100 years. The market along with old warehouse buildings were demolished and up sprang Jacob's field and the Gund arena. Jacob's field is located at 2401 Ontario Street in downtown Cleveland, and is in the shadows of Terminal tower. The difference in the Jake and old Cleveland stadium is like night and day. The old park lacked everything modern. The luxury boxes were not up to the standards of the new parks being built. Not to mention the cold blast of wind that could turn a baseball game into a frigid experience. The Jake has just about everything a new park could want, except (so far) a World Series championship.
It took two years to construct Jacob's field. Finally the opening of the park was here. On April 4th 1994, President Bill Clinton threw out the first pitch to Sandy Alomar, Jr., and the Jake was open for business. The Cleveland Indians would face the Seattle Mariners in the first game at the new yard. The pitching matchup was a good one, as "El Presidente," Dennis Martinez would face Randy Johnson. The Indians would prevail in their first game by the score of 4-3 in 11 innings. Eric Plunk would get the win, and the first home run would be hit by Seattle's Eric Anthony. Anthony's home run was also the first hit at the Jake. Sandy Alomar, Jr., had the first Indians hit. A standing room only crowd of 41,459 witnessed the history of the first game. The first Indian home run would be in the second game, as future hall of famer Eddie Murray had the honor. The first season at the new park was a huge success, both on the field and at the ticket office.
The Jake would host it's first World Series in 1995, in which the Indians lost to the Atlanta Braves. Two years later, the Jake would host both the All Star game as well as the World Series. Unfortunately, the Indians would also lose that series to the Florida Marlins. Still, fans poured into the Jake in record numbers. Between June 12, 1995, and April 4, 2001, the Indians sold out a record 455 straight games. They say records are made to be broken, and the Boston Red Sox are fast approaching that mark.
The Jake is a beautiful new park, even though it is now 14 years old. It is clean, easy to get to, and comfortable. It has the largest free standing video scoreboard in the world. It also has picnic areas in centerfield, as well as lots of room on both concourses. The Indians also pay tribute to their past by having the retired numbers in right field. Starting off with Bob Feller and his number 19, Earl Averill and his number 3, Larry Doby's number 14, big Bob Lemon and number 21, Mel Harder and his number 18, Lou Boudreau's number 5 and last but not least, the number 455 which is for the fans and the sellout streak.
All in all, the Indians have been a huge success at the Jake. So far, they have won 7 central division titles, and have made it to 2 World Series. The Indians have had a very competitive team ever since the move. Young stars dot the roster now, and they show no signs of going back to mediocrity.
Here is to the Jake. The old municipal stadium had a soft spot for many Clevelanders, but it was time for her to go. The Jake is as modern as you can get WITHOUT being over the top. It is just right.
Location - 2401 Ontario St. Cleveland, Ohio Quicken Loans Arena is right in back of left field.