MUSIC - Ol' 55 by the Eagles
Photographed in 1991, 1994, 1997 and 2002 using film.
Memorial Stadium "the Old Grey Lady of 33rd Street" - Opened in 1922 (first version) 1950 (second version), closed in 1997 and demolished in 2002. Site is now a YMCA, retirement home and apartment complex.
Location - 900 E. 33rd Street Baltimore, Maryland.
From 1947 thru 1991, Baltimore has long had a love affair with both the old Baltimore Colts and the Baltimore Orioles. They played at old Memorial stadium, which was located at 33rd street and Ellerslie Ave. Memorial was about 5 miles north of downtown Baltimore in a section of town called Waverly. It was located in a semi residential neighborhood. Houses surrounded Memorial stadium on the West, North and East. It was bordered to the South by Eastern high school on 33rd Street.
Built in 1950, it was actually repositioned. In 1922 Baltimore stadium was constructed on the site. In 1950, the stadium was basically gutted and turned from a north south facing stadium to the more familiar south north facing. The St. Louis Browns relocated to Baltimore after the 1953 season and were renamed the Orioles. They started off well too, by winning their first game 3-1 over the Chicago White Sox. The final Orioles game was on October 6, 1991. The outcome wasn't as good as their first ever game. They lost 7-1 to the Detroit Tigers. A packed house of 50,700 saw the curtain come down on Memorial stadium that Sunday afternoon. The final Orioles home run was hit the day before by a relativley unknown outfielder named Chito Martinez. He hit it off Mark Leiter. It was also the last home run ever hit in Memorial stadium. The game was also the last ever win for the Orioles in their former home. A 7-3 victory over Detroit.
It was known by a few different names. "the old grey lady of 33rd St.," and "the world's largest outdoor insane asylum." During Orioles games in the 70's and 80's, the chief lunatic was a fan who always sat in section 34 of the upper deck. "Wild" Bill Hagey would lead the throng in his pretzel like movements of spelling out O R I O L E S. Hagey was a cab driver by trade and self appointed Orioles cheerleader by night. In his straw hat and scraggly beard, he would rile up Orioles fans on any given night. Sadly on August 20, 2007, "Wild" Bill Hagey passed away.
Memorial had its heroes, from Lenny Moore, Art Donovan, Big Daddy Lipscomb, Mike "Mad dog" Curtis, Raymond Berry, Bert Jones and countless other Colts greats. It had its share of Orioles heroes too. Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, the Earl of Baltimore, Earl Weaver, Dave McNalley, Eddie Murray, Brooks Robinson and many others. But the two standouts in Baltimore sports history have to be Johnny Unitas of the Colts and Cal Ripken, Jr. of the birds.
The Colts won two worlds championships in 1958 and 1959 and super bowl V. The Orioles won world series championships in 1966, 1970 and 1983. Not bad for a team that was once the old St. Louis Browns. The Browns were one of the worst teams in baseball. But in 1954, they moved from St. Louis to Baltimore and were reborn as the Orioles.
The old lady of 33rd street was a little rough around the edges towards the end. In 1991, the Orioles left for their new downtown park called Camden Yards. On March 23, 1984, the Colts vanished from Baltimore. On this snowy night, moving vans packed their gear and headed out to Indianapolis, where they are to this day. Both the Colts and Orioles wanted new parks. Memorial stadium was quickly becoming obsolete. The Orioles got their park, but Baltimore lost the Colts. People to this day are still bitter of the vanishing act pulled by the late Colts owner Robert Irsay.
After the Orioles and Colts left, Memorial stadium sat vacant for 2 years. In 1993, the Bowie Baysox of the eastern league played in Memorial stadium while their park was being built. In 1994 football returned in the form of the Stallions. They were part of the Canadian football league. They stayed for 2 seasons. In 1996, the old Cleveland Browns franchise relocated to Baltimore. They were renamed the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens pumped life into the old girl for 2 more years even though Memorial stadium was falling apart. They moved out after the 1997 season.
The asylum sat vacant for four years. It was basically abandoned. The field overgrown with weeds. Seats falling apart. Rust everywhere. Finally in 2001 the wrecking ball came to Memorial stadium. It served the people of Baltimore for almost 50 years. Fans will never forget the exploits of their beloved Colts and Orioles. The site now houses the largest YMCA in Maryland and two apartment complexes. Fittingly, one of the apartment complexes is a retirement home.
The old grey lady of 33rd street did her city proud. Rest in peace.
The old grey lady of 33rd street. Thats 33rd street in the forground. You can see to the right the black number 8. Memorial stadium would host only 8 more Orioles games in 1991. In 1992, the Orioles would move downtown to Camden Yards. Sept 1991
Looking west on 33rd. Sept 91
The exterior of the left field bleachers Sept 1991
Here is a great view of the front and the sign saying 8 more games remain at Memorial stadium. Sept 91
The old picnic area in back of left field. Sept 1991
Even the old grey lady of 33rd street had obstructed view seats and poles. Sept 91
Looking towards home plate. Sept 91
Panorama from the upper deck. Sept 91
You can see the obstructed view from the pole underneath the third base stands. Sept 91
This is the view from the left field bleachers. Frank Robinson was the only player to ever hit a ball completely out of Memorial stadium. He hit it on mothers day in 1966. The lucky pitcher was Luis Tiant of the Cleveland Indians. Sept 91
The view from the upper deck in right. Sept 91
Behind home plate. Sept 91
The concourse in the upper deck. Sept 91
My last look at the only game I saw in Memorial Stadium. Sept 91
Memorial stadium 3 years after the Orioles left. July 1994
The view of the right field bleachers. July 94
The main entrance off 33rd street. July 94
The light standard in left field. July 94
No more baseball diamond. In 1994, Memorial stadium was the home for the Baltimore Stallions of the CFL. They played here for 2 years. They were the only American team to win the Grey cup. They won it in 1994. After the 95 season, the Stallions moved to Montreal. July 94
The goal posts are just about where home plate used to be. July 94
This is the view from the visitors dugout. July 94
You can see the Orioles dugout boarded up. And the poles that hold up the upper deck. July 94
This is the top of the visitors dugout. Memorial stadium was painted a dark blue after the Orioles left. Dark blue was one of the primary colors of the CFL Stallions. July 94
From the upper deck, you can see the faint outline of the baseball diamond. The outfield fence has been taken down, as has the scoreboard that was behind the right field wall. July 94
From the right field bleachers looking towards home plate. ERR the end zone. July 94
You can see the horseshoe shape of Memorial stadium from the upper deck. And the faint outline of the infield. July 94
Box seats behind home plate. No longer for the Oriole fans. July 94
Here you can see the visitors dugout in the middle of the photo. July 94
You can see the Orioles dugout to the left. July 94
The concourse behind home plate on the lower deck. July 94
An auxiliary scoreboard that hung from the upper deck. It was under the third base stands. These seats did not have a view of the scoreboard. July 94
This is the old visitors locker room. Players from Yaz to Harmon Killebrew to Nolan Ryan all used this locker room. July 94
This is the old Orioles locker room. These are the original lockers too. They were being painted blue for the Stallions of the CFL. July 94
These bleachers in left field were where Frank Robinson hit his home run out of the stadium. April 1997
The 1997 season would be the last for pro sports in Memorial stadium. You can see how the rust has taken over. Basically the stadium had already been condemned. The city of Baltimore would UNcondemn it for every Ravens game. It was literally falling apart before it was demolished. April 97
The vast parking lot and the sun going down on the old lady of 33rd street. Doomsday and the wrecking ball would happen in 2001. April 97
You can see the Raven's logo to the left of the picture. April 97
The famous mural in front of Memorial Stadium. Part of it will be moved to Camden Yards after it is demolished in 2001. April 97
The view of Memorial stadium from across 33rd street. April 97
My last ever view of a complete Memorial stadium. April 97
This shot is from basically center field. You can see the old high school in the background. The high school was abandoned for years, but is now in use again. Construction is about to begin on the YMCA and senior housing. June 2002
The view of what was the main entrance to Memorial stadium from 33rd street. June 2002.
Memorial stadium wasn't fancy, but it was home for two legendary teams. Both the Colts and Orioles had distinct advantages playing here. It could be brutally cold and LOUD for Colts games, and swealtering and LOUD for Orioles games. It is too bad the city let it deteriorate to the point it wasn't worth saving. Many a Colts and Orioles fan will never forget the old grey lady of 33rd street. She was one of a kind. Rest in peace. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a strong 7.