Griffith Stadium

Griffith Stadium, nestled in the heart of Washington, D.C., holds a special place in the tapestry of American baseball history. This venerable park, known for its intimate setting and unique characteristics, was more than just a ballpark; it was a cultural landmark in the nation’s capital.

Stadium Facts about Griffith Stadium

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Opened On: July 24, 1911
  • Closed On: September 21, 1961
  • Home Team: Washington Senators (American League), Homestead Grays (Negro leagues)
  • Stadium Nicknames: N/A
  • Dimensions: Left Field – 405 feet, Center Field – 421 feet, Right Field – 320 feet
  • Capacity: Approximately 27,000
  • Attendance Record: Not available
  • Surface: Grass
  • Architect: Osborn Engineering
  • Owner: Washington Senators

The History

Griffith Stadium’s history is deeply embedded in the annals of American baseball. Opened in 1911, it was the home of the Washington Senators for five decades and played a significant role in shaping the city’s sporting culture. The stadium was also a key venue in the Negro leagues, hosting the Homestead Grays, one of the most successful teams in the league’s history.

The park witnessed the evolution of baseball through some of its most transformative years, including the integration of the sport. The closure of Griffith Stadium in 1961 marked the end of an era in Washington, D.C.’s baseball history, preceding the relocation of the Senators to Minnesota.

Design and Features

Griffith Stadium was known for its unique and quirky design, which included an unusually large outfield and asymmetrical dimensions. This layout created a distinctive playing experience, influencing both offensive and defensive strategies. The stadium’s architecture reflected the design sensibilities of the early 20th century, with a classic, unadorned style that prioritized function over form.

One of the stadium’s most notable features was its intimate setting, which brought fans close to the action, creating a personal and engaging baseball experience. The park’s small size contributed to a cozy atmosphere, making it a favorite among baseball purists.


Over its lifetime, Griffith Stadium underwent various renovations to adapt to the changing needs of baseball and its fans. These included adding lights for night games, expanding seating capacity, and improving facilities like locker rooms and concessions. Despite these changes, the stadium maintained much of its original charm and continued to be a beloved venue for its traditional baseball atmosphere.

The park’s limitations, particularly its small size and outdated facilities, eventually led to discussions about the need for a more modern stadium, culminating in the team’s relocation and the stadium’s closure.


Griffith Stadium’s facilities were characteristic of its era, focusing more on the game and less on luxury amenities. The concessions offered traditional ballpark fare, while the seating, though not as comfortable as modern standards, provided fans with an up-close view of the game.

The stadium lacked many of the modern comforts found in newer ballparks, but its historical significance and unique atmosphere more than made up for these shortcomings. The park’s location in the city made it easily accessible to fans, adding to its appeal.

Memorable Moments at Griffith Stadium

  • Presidential Opening Day Ceremonies: A tradition of U.S. Presidents throwing the ceremonial first pitch.
  • Homestead Grays’ Successes: The stadium was the backdrop for numerous Negro leagues triumphs.
  • Mickey Mantle’s Legendary Home Run: One of the longest home runs in MLB history, hit in 1953.
  • All-Star Games: Hosting the MLB All-Star Game in 1937 and 1956.
  • Final Game: The emotional last game played at Griffith Stadium in 1961.

Interesting Baseball History at Griffith Stadium

  • Integration Milestones: Hosting significant games during baseball’s integration era.
  • Historic Rivalries: The venue for many memorable games against American League rivals.
  • Unique Field Layout: Its quirky dimensions influenced game strategies and outcomes.
  • Legendary Players and Performances: Hosting some of baseball’s greatest players, including Walter Johnson and Josh Gibson.

Non-Baseball Events

Beyond baseball, Griffith Stadium was a versatile venue that hosted a variety of events, underscoring its role as a multi-use facility. It was the site of NFL games, boxing matches, and large concerts, making it a central hub for entertainment and sports in Washington, D.C. These events highlighted the stadium’s importance beyond baseball, as a cultural and community landmark in the nation’s capital.