My Great American Ballparks

I love baseball. I've been a fan since I was a kid, and an obsessive fan from the Cincinnati Reds' 1970 pennant-winning season through the baseball strike of 1994-1995. Since then, I've remained a Reds fan and a baseball fan, but not particularly a major league baseball fan.

Still, I have some great baseball memories. Once upon a time, I hoped to visit all major league parks in my lifetime (but they keep building new ones, doggone it!). Though I've given up on that dream, I still treasure the memories of the eight major league parks or stadiums I've visited in my lifetime. They are:

1. Crosley Field, the home of the Reds from 1912 through June 24, 1970. In fact, I remember attending the last game at Crosley, won by the Reds with back-to-back home runs by Lee May and Johnny Bench.

2. Riverfront Stadium, where I attended countless Reds' games during its 1970–1995 life. Among my wonderful memories of this cookie-cutter stadium are seeing Tom Seaver come out of the players entrance after a 1979 playoff game my friend Bob and I couldn't get into. Also, taking my daughter Aubrey and son Aaron to many $1 clergy-pass games in the mid-80s and attending the game BEFORE Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's hit record.

3. Great American Ballpark, (see photo above) the Reds' home since 1995. A nicely designed park with many nice features. Unlike Riverfront and Crosley, there's not a bad seat in the house.

4. Shea Stadium, the home of the New York Mets from 1964 to 2008. I attended a game or two there in 1979 and/or 1980.

5. Yankee Stadium.I'm so glad I made it to a game in "The House That Ruth Built" before this historic venue was demolished in 2008-2010. I was there in 1979, I think.

6. Fenway Park. Attending a Red Sox game in Fenway was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Especially since the demolition of the original Yankee Stadium, there is no more hallowed place in baseball than Fenway (and Wrigley in Chicago; both were built in 1912).

7. Anaheim Stadium, now called Angel Stadium of Anaheim. I was ten-year-old boy attending an Angels' game here in 1968 with my grandparents, two years after the then-California Angels (one of the the first two American League expansion teams, debuting in 1961) moved into their new home after having spent four seasons renting Dodger Stadium.

8. Busch Memorial Stadium, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1966 to 2005. I attended a couple games here in 1971 and/or 1972. I remember well persuading my dad to leave a game in which the Reds (my team) were down six or seven runs late in the game. On the way home, listening to the game on the radio, we heard as the Reds rallied and won the game in dramatic fashion. Since that day, I don't think I've ever left a game early.

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