Ready to make history at Petco Park.

At Petco Park, everything appears ready.

Padres street lamp banners have been hung around the ballpark. Bunting decorates the stands. The playing field is immaculate. Tomorrow the home team starts a new baseball season undefeated.

Many baseball experts say 2021 might be the beginning of a Golden Age for the San Diego Padres. All of the pieces are in place. Finally.

I walked around Petco Park this evening and felt the quiet anticipation.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A stadium falls. A university rises!

The last standing part of old San Diego Stadium, once home of the football Chargers and baseball Padres, is about to fall. Meanwhile, San Diego State University’s new Mission Valley campus has begun to rise!

I took photos this morning from the west side of the now vanished stadium parking lot that show the final section of stands being demolished. In the foreground, you can see the grading and initial construction work that will ultimately result in SDSU Mission Valley!

I posted photographs of earlier stages of the stadium’s demolition that were taken from its east side here.

To learn more about the future SDSU Mission Valley, its new Aztec Stadium, River Park and more, check out this web page!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Demolition of San Diego Stadium is underway!

San Diego Stadium, built in 1967, once home of the baseball Padres and football Chargers, which has been known over the decades as Jack Murphy Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium, and most recently SDCCU Stadium, is presently being demolished!

I walked down Rancho Mission Road this afternoon to take a couple of photographs through a construction fence surrounding the old stadium parking lot.

I see the big mural at the back of the scoreboard titled The Fan Game, by artist Mario Uribe, is still standing. If you want to see photographs of this cool sports mural from earlier this year, click here.

Eventually the area occupied by the stadium and its parking lot will be transformed into a huge extension of San Diego State University. I’ve heard the new campus referred to as either SDSU West or SDSU Mission Valley. A new 35,000 person capacity Aztec Stadium will also be built at this site, as well as a beautiful new river park.

To read more about the project, click here.

UPDATE!

Here are more photos I took a couple weeks later. Most of the mural is gone, and a larger chunk of the stadium is missing!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Sculpture and mural at San Diego stadium.

Those who’ve attended events at SDCCU/Qualcomm/Jack Murphy/San Diego Stadium might have noticed two works of public art outside. One, situated between the trolley station and stadium, is a sculpture of Jack Murphy and his dog. The other is an enormous, very colorful mural on the back of the scoreboard.

According to a plaque at its base, the Jack Murphy Sculpture, created by San Diego artist A. Wasil, debuted during the rededication of Jack Murphy Field on January 21, 2003.

A. Wasil was a sculptor who became known internationally for his work in cast bronze. He created several major pieces. Many of his sculptures have religious themes, such as the installations at Mission San Luis Rey and Notre Dame University. His bronze bust of Christ was accepted by The Vatican.

His 16 feet tall Jack Murphy Sculpture depicts the San Diego Union sports editor and columnist who advocated for a new San Diego stadium. Jack Murphy influenced Barron Hilton, who would move his Chargers football team from Los Angeles to San Diego. In 1965, a 50,000-seat stadium in Mission Valley was resoundingly approved by San Diego voters. Jack Murphy also helped convince baseball owners to bring the minor league San Diego Padres into the National League. The Padres would play at renamed Jack Murphy Stadium until 2004, when they moved to the new downtown Petco Park.

Given current plans to redevelop land under the old stadium and its enormous parking lot into SDSU West, this historic sculpture might not remain here for long. But who knows?

The sculpted Jack Murphy is accompanied by his Labrador Retriever, Abe.

That huge colorful mural on the back of the stadium’s scoreboard is titled The Fan Game. It was created in 1989-1990 by artist Mario Uribe.

The 13 panel mural measures 45 feet by 150 feet, and depicts excited fans cheering in the stands. The mural is so huge it can be seen from both Interstate 15 and Interstate 8!

Mario Uribe’s fine art has been collected by many museums, and he has created other notable works of public art. Learn more at his website here.

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Fun photos of SDCCU Super Shred Event!

Look at all these smiling faces! My own face is smiling because I got a big box of old documents shredded for free this morning. I drove down to SDCCU Stadium and took part with thousands of others in the enormous Super Shred Event!

Will SDCCU and Shred-It set yet another world record for paper shredding this year? I’m guessing, yes!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Model of Lane Field stadium at Petco Park.

Completed model of Lane Field stadium in the garage of baseball historian Bill Swank. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Completed model of Lane Field stadium in the garage of baseball historian Bill Swank. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.

A fascinating scale model of the Lane Field stadium, home of the Pacific Coast League Padres from 1936 to 1957, is now located inside the front lobby of the San Diego Padres business office. The model was built by baseball historian Bill Swank, author of several books, including Echoes from Lane Field : A History of the San Diego Padres 1936-1957.

Fans of the early Padres used to head to Lane Field to see their favorite team in action. Many fond baseball memories were made in downtown San Diego near the waterfront, at the end of West Broadway between Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway. Today the area is occupied by two hotel buildings and Lane Field Park, which features a small baseball diamond, plaques that honor an era of local baseball history, and three colorful banners that celebrate former players at Lane Field, including legendary hitter Ted Williams.

Bill Swank created the detailed model of long-vanished Lane Field to preserve a bit of San Diego history for the enjoyment of Padres fans. The model is in 1:128 scale and made out of basswood. Care was taken during its construction to maintain a high degree of accuracy.

According to Bill Swank, the model is “so accurate to scale that it’s even 87’ from home to first base. It wasn’t until the 1950s that a groundskeeper measured the distance and discovered it was only 87 feet… and had been 87 feet since 1936! I believe the mistake was made by taking the measurement off the hastily drawn blueprint.”

Bill Swank has provided the following additional information concerning his model:

January 1997: Because I had blueprints for Lane Field, San Diego Hall of Champions Historian Don King asked if I would like to participate in building a scale model of the original home of the San Diego Padres to be displayed at the Hall of Champions.

May 1997: It took me longer to finish the model than it took the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to build the actual ballpark. Bill Lane signed an agreement to relocate his Pacific Coast League Hollywood Stars to San Diego on January 28, 1936. A ballpark had to be built at the northwest corner of Broadway and Pacific Highway in less than two months, because the renamed “Padres” first game was scheduled for March 31, 1936. The cost of construction was approximately $25,000. (San Diego beat the Seattle Indians, 6-2, on Opening Day.)

July 1997: My Lane Field model was unveiled at the San Diego Hall of Champions on the Prado.

September 2000: The model was transported to the remodeled Federal Building after the Hall of Champions moved from the Prado.

April 2017: When the Hall of Champions closed in 2017, a new home was found for the model at Petco Park.

February 2018: The Lane Field model went on display in the front lobby of the Padres business office.

I have enjoyed an up-close and personal look at this very cool model. Here are several historical photographs of Lane Field, followed by a few photos of the model beneath glass that my camera captured.

With a little imagination one can almost see fans in the stands, players on the field, and hear the crack of a batted home run…

Lane Field (1936) before the grandstand roof was added. Photo from the Bill Swank collection.
Lane Field (1936) before the grandstand roof was added. Photo from the Bill Swank collection.

Panoramic view of Lane Field includes long ticket line for 1954 PCL Championship game with Hollywood Stars (Padres won, 7-2). Photo by Ray Hacecky, Sr.
Panoramic view of Lane Field includes long ticket line for 1954 PCL Championship game with the Hollywood Stars (Padres won, 7-2). Photo by Ray Hacecky, Sr.

Opening Day, March 30, 1940. Southpaw Wally “Preacher” Hebert took the mound and beat the Los Angeles Angels, 5-1. Photo from the Hebert Family.
Opening Day, March 30, 1940. Southpaw Wally “Preacher” Hebert took the mound and beat the Los Angeles Angels, 5-1. Photo from the Hebert Family.

A new attendance record (13,466) was set on May 2, 1948 for a game with the San Francisco Seals. During the game, fans stood and sat in the outfield against the fence. A ball that went into the crowd was a ground rule double. Photo from the Bill Swank collection.
A new attendance record (13,466) was set on May 2, 1948 for a game with the San Francisco Seals. During the game, fans stood and sat in the outfield against the fence. A ball that went into the crowd was a ground rule double. Photo from the Bill Swank collection.

Model of Lane Field as it appears today.
Scale model of Lane Field stadium, displayed in lobby of the Padres business office.

This model was built to honor the men who played baseball at Lane Field and the fans who loved them.
This model was built to honor the men who played baseball at Lane Field and the fans who loved them.

Memories from San Diego's baseball past live on at Petco Park.
Memories from San Diego’s baseball past live on at Petco Park.

Many thanks to the San Diego Padres, the super friendly Petco Park Navigators and Bill Swank who made this fun post possible!

Go Pads!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

New turf and big dreams at Petco Park!

In late February, trucks haul in rolls of turf to resod the grass playing field at Petco Park!
In late February, trucks haul in rolls of turf to resod the grass playing field at Petco Park!

I was walking past Petco Park this morning when I noticed a long line of trucks waiting next to the ballpark. Each of the trucks was transporting rolls of sod.

It must be that time of year–about a month before the start of the season–when the field receives its brand new turf!

Beautiful new grass fits perfectly with the promise of a brand new season. Not only do the Padres have a team full of talented, hungry young players, but they recently signed baseball phenom Eric Hosmer.

Many of the people I speak to are dreaming of a much improved year ahead. Is it possible that the Padres will contend in 2018?

I can’t wait to find out!

Rolls of sod are lifted up and brought into Petco Park. Spring can't be far away now!
Rolls of sod are lifted up and brought into Petco Park. Spring can’t be far away now!

I took this photo a couple weeks ago from the Park at the Park. Workers were busy preparing the ball field for the Padres' 2018 season.
I took this photo a couple weeks ago from the Park at the Park. Workers were busy preparing the baseball field for the Padres’ 2018 season.

Numerous trucks were lined up all around Petco Park this morning. A promising new season is around the corner, and the outfield is getting a lot of fresh new turf!
Numerous trucks were lined up all around Petco Park this morning. A promising new season is around the corner, and the ball field is getting some fresh new turf!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A very cool tour of Petco Park in San Diego!

Ballpark tours of Petco Park include a behind-the-scenes and on-the-field look at the home of the San Diego Padres.
Tours of Petco Park include a behind-the-scenes and on-the-field look at the home of the San Diego Padres.

Today I went on a very cool guided tour of Petco Park, baseball home of the San Diego Padres. The one and a half hour tour, which is offered to the public seven days a week, provided a behind-the-scenes look at parts of the ballpark that fans usually don’t see.

I was blown away!

A super knowledgeable and friendly tour guide showed our small group why Petco Park is regarded by many as the best ballpark in Major League Baseball. People in our group who were visiting San Diego, and who were fans of other teams, seemed to enjoy themselves just as much as me!

We saw several parts of the unique Western Metal Supply Co. Building, ventured into the Press Box, and got to briefly see the exclusive Lexus Home Plate Club. We walked out onto the field, and everyone took photos while sitting in the visiting team’s dugout. Then we entered a tunnel that led to the visiting team’s locker room. After passing through a service corridor used for Petco Park deliveries and maintenance, we emerged into daylight, entered the Padres Team Store, and finally ended up at the Padres Hall of Fame.

The following photos provide just a small taste of this awesome experience. If you find yourself in San Diego, take the tour! If you love baseball, it’s a must!

People wait by a ticket window for a fascinating ballpark tour at Petco Park in San Diego.
People wait by a ticket window for a fascinating ballpark tour at Petco Park in San Diego.

Paty, our knowledgeable and super friendly tour guide, familiarizes everyone with the history of Petco Park.
Paty, our knowledgeable and super friendly tour guide, familiarizes everyone with the history of Petco Park.

Personalized bricks in the Palm Court Plaza were purchased by more than 10,000 fans when the ballpark was built. The bricks sold out in 5 minutes!
Personalized bricks in the Palm Court Plaza were purchased by more than 10,000 fans when the ballpark was built. The bricks sold out in 5 minutes!

The Breitbard Hall of Fame was recently relocated from Balboa Park's Hall of Champions to the main concourse level of Petco Park. San Diego sports legends and champions are honored with plaques.
The Breitbard Hall of Fame was recently relocated from Balboa Park’s old Hall of Champions to the main concourse level of Petco Park. San Diego sports legends are honored with plaques.

A view of the ball field in January from inside the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. Trucks are getting the field ready for an upcoming Monster Jam event.
A view of the ball field in January from inside the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. Trucks are getting the field ready for an upcoming Monster Jam event.

A Padres fan on the tour checks out the left field foul pole painted on a corner of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. The tolling of the nearby mission bell connects every game to San Diego history.
A Padres fan on the tour checks out the left field foul pole, which is attached to a corner of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. The tolling of the nearby mission bell during every game reminds fans of San Diego’s history.

An amazing view of the ballpark can be enjoyed from The Rail, an exclusive seating area high up in the Western Metal Supply Co. Building.
An amazing view of the ballpark can be enjoyed from The Rail, an exclusive seating area high up in the Western Metal Supply Co. Building.

The Loft at Petco Park contains pool tables, a fun vibe and cool elements of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building's history that have been preserved.
The Loft at Petco Park contains pool tables, a fun vibe and cool elements of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building’s history that have been preserved.

As we continue counterclockwise around the upper level of Petco Park, we learn more Padres facts. We hear stories about the players and relive special moments.
As we continue counterclockwise around the upper level of Petco Park, we learn more Padres facts. We hear stories about the players and relive special moments.

A series of photo murals along the upper level depict Padres history. This one from March 24, 1951 shows Whitey Wietelmann out at first base.
A series of photo murals along the upper level depict Padres history. This one from March 24, 1951 shows Whitey Wietelmann out at first base.

As we walk along, San Diego's South Bay comes into view.
As we walk along, San Diego’s South Bay comes into view.

We are about to go behind-the-scenes and check out the Press Box!
We are about to go behind-the-scenes and check out the Press Box!

Inside a lounge area for the press is a glass display case full of memories from Jerry Coleman's life as baseball player, Marine aviator, and Padres broadcaster. The flag was presented to him upon his retirement by the military.
Inside a lounge area for the press is a glass display case full of memories from Jerry Coleman’s life as baseball player, Marine aviator, and Padres broadcaster. The folded flag was presented to him by the military upon his retirement.

We get to sit inside writer's row, where the press watches each game and composes their stories! The official scorer has a special seat in one corner.
We get to sit inside writer’s row, where the press watches each game and composes their stories! The official scorer has a special seat in one corner.

Way to the left we can see the control room for the music, lights and video board, and the spot occupied by the public address announcer.
Way to the left we can glimpse the control room for the music, lights and video boards, and the spot occupied by the public address announcer.

Before the 2018 season begins, some workers are doing a bit of gardening at the ballpark!
A couple months before the 2018 season begins, some workers are doing a bit of gardening at the ballpark!

Here's another fun part of the Petco Park tour. Walking out onto the field!
Here’s another fun part of the Petco Park tour. Walking out onto the field!

We head to the area behind home plate. In addition to other features, we are shown how Petco Park was built to provide close in, direct views of the action from every seat.
We head to the area behind home plate. In addition to other features, we are shown how Petco Park was built to provide intimate, direct views of the action from every seat.

Sitting in the visiting team's dugout! How cool is this?
Hanging out in the visiting team’s dugout! How cool is this?

If you find yourself in San Diego, you should take a cool tour of Petco Park!
If you find yourself in San Diego, you should take a cool tour of Petco Park!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Baseball flags debut at historic Lane Field Park!

Two of three huge banners that celebrate the history of baseball at San Diego's Lane Field. On the left you can see Ted Williams, one of the greatest Major League Baseball hitters of all time, taking a swing.
Two of three huge flags that celebrate the history of baseball at San Diego’s old Lane Field. On the left you can see Ted Williams, one of the greatest Major League Baseball hitters of all time, taking a swing.

Three huge, colorful flags will soon be flying above Lane Field Park. They were created by local artist Lisa Schirmer in a coordinated effort between the Port of San Diego and the Hensel-Phelps Construction Company. They celebrate the history of baseball at Lane Field.

The vivid banners, which Lisa calls windglyphs, are titled Spirits of the West Wind. They feature two images of baseball legend Ted Williams and one of Eddie Erautt. Both played baseball at long-vanished Lane Field, which was located in downtown San Diego right next to the water.

Ted Williams was perhaps the greatest Major League hitter of all time. The baseball legend was born in San Diego. Early in his baseball career he played for the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres at Lane Field, helping his team win the PCL pennant in 1937.

Eddie Erautt pitched three and a half seasons for the PCL San Diego Padres. He went 16-12 in 1954 when the Padres were PCL champions and 18-10 in 1955.

Images of the players on two windglyphs were based on photographs in Bill Swank’s book Echoes from Lane Field.

I love how large, bright and colorful these flags are, and how they celebrate an important page in San Diego baseball history. Bill Swank says the way they billow reminds him how the wind would blow off San Diego Bay and carry home runs over the right field wall of Lane Field, to bounce onto Pacific Highway. Many great memories where made here.

This Wednesday, there will be an official unveiling of the colorful banners at 8:30 am. I was fortunate to get a preview today, during a flag-raising rehearsal for the coming event.

Enjoy some photos!

Three colorful windglyphs created by San Diego artist Lisa Schirmer fly above Lane Field Park.
Three colorful windglyphs created by San Diego artist Lisa Schirmer fly above Lane Field Park.

Rehearsal of a flag raising. The public art unveiling ceremony takes place later this week. That unfurled banner shows Ted Williams fielding a ball. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Rehearsal of a flag raising. The public art unveiling ceremony takes place later this week. That unfurled banner shows Ted Williams fielding a ball. Artist Lisa Schirmer stands on the left. Photo courtesy of Bill Swank.

Local baseball expert Bill Swank shows his book Echoes from Lane Field, which recounts the early years of San Diego baseball and the Padres.
Local baseball expert Bill Swank shows his book Echoes from Lane Field, which recounts the early years of San Diego baseball and the Padres.

The banner depicting pitcher Eddie Erautt is based on one of these old baseball photos.
The banner depicting pitcher Eddie Erautt is based on one of these old baseball photos.

On the center banner, Eddie Erautt pitches the ball.
On the colorful center banner, Eddie Erautt winds up to pitch the ball.

The wind adds life to a wonderful baseball memory. Ted Williams is taking his classic swing.
The wind plays with a baseball memory. Ted Williams seems to come alive as he takes his classic swing.

Action photo of Ted Williams used by Lisa Schirmer in one windglyph. Photographer: Heber Epperson. Courtesy of Autumn Durst Keltner.
Action photo of Ted Williams used by Lisa Schirmer in one windglyph. Photographer: Heber Epperson. Courtesy of Autumn Durst Keltner.

Baseball memories take flight in the San Diego sky at Lane Field Park!
Baseball memories take flight in the San Diego sky at Lane Field Park!

Here’s a good pic I took at a later time…

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

San Diego Padres Hall of Fame players at Petco Park.

The face of Dave Winfield, a past San Diego Padres superstar, now in the Baseball Hall of Fame, greets fans on the north side of Petco Park's historic Western Metal Supply Co. building.
The face of Dave Winfield, a past San Diego Padres superstar, now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, greets fans on the north side of Petco Park’s historic Western Metal Supply Co. building.

Just before the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in San Diego, a special section at Petco Park was readied to showcase our baseball team’s greatest players. In addition to large iconic images of four Padres favorites which had been added to the north end of the Western Metal Supply Co. building, an impressive “Padres In Cooperstown” wall of plaques was installed near the Padres Hall of Fame, which itself opened on July 1, 2016.

The faces you see in my photos bring back many memories. My fond memories include the magical 1984 season, which I followed closely when I was a young man. I hope any Padres fans visiting my blog might enjoy their own special memories.

Randy Jones as a Padre starting pitcher won the Cy Young Award in 1976. Today he is in the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.
Randy Jones as a starting pitcher won the Cy Young Award in 1976. Today he is in the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.

The familiar face of Tony Gwynn, Mr. Padre, on the Western Metal Supply Co. building. One of the best Major League Baseball hitters of all time.
The familiar face of Tony Gwynn, Mr. Padre, on the Western Metal Supply Co. building. One of the best Major League Baseball hitters of all time.

The face of Trevor Hoffman, who pitched as a closer for over 15 years with the San Diego Padres. His 601 saves are the second most in MLB history.
The face of Trevor Hoffman, who pitched as a closer for over 15 years with the San Diego Padres. His 601 saves are presently the second most in MLB history.

Legends who played baseball with the San Diego Padres who are now in Cooperstown's National Baseball Hall of Fame include Ted Williams and Willie McCovey.
Legends who played baseball with the San Diego Padres who are now in Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame include Ted Williams and Willie McCovey.

A wall at Petco Park is dedicated to Padres coaches and players who are now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Names include Rollie Fingers, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Goose Gossage.
A wall at Petco Park is dedicated to Padres coaches and players who are now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Names include Rollie Fingers, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Goose Gossage.

National Baseball Hall of Fame players who spent time with the Padres also include Roberto Alomar, Greg Maddux and Mike Piazza.
National Baseball Hall of Fame players who spent time with the Padres also include Roberto Alomar, Greg Maddux and Mike Piazza.

Dave Winfield played for the San Diego Padres from 1973 to 1980. A talented outfielder, he swung the bat with incredible power. A special plaque for him now stands in front of the "Padres In Cooperstown" wall at Petco Park.
Dave Winfield played for the San Diego Padres from 1973 to 1980. A talented outfielder, he swung the bat with power. A special plaque for him now stands separately in front of the “Padres In Cooperstown” wall at Petco Park.

Tony Gwynn was simply one of the best Major League Baseball players of all time. He spent his entire career as a San Diego Padre. He was a cheerful soul loved by everyone who knew him.
Tony Gwynn was simply one of the best Major League Baseball players of all time. He spent his entire career as a San Diego Padre. He was a cheerful soul loved by the fans and everyone who knew him.

The smiling face of Tony Gwynn on a very special plaque. It stands proudly in front of the "Padres In Cooperstown" wall at Petco Park.
The smiling face of Tony Gwynn on a very special plaque. It stands eternally in front of the “Padres In Cooperstown” wall at Petco Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!