RFK Stadium

RFK Stadium, a significant landmark in Washington, D.C., holds a special place in American sports history. Known for its multi-purpose design, RFK Stadium was home to the Washington Senators and later the Washington Nationals, along with various other sports teams.

Stadium Facts about RFK Stadium

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Opened On: October 1, 1961
  • Home Team: Washington Senators (1962-1971), Washington Nationals (2005-2007)
  • Stadium Nicknames: RFK Stadium (named after Robert F. Kennedy)
  • Dimensions: Varied over the years
  • Capacity: Around 45,000 for baseball
  • Attendance Record: 45,596 (July 7, 1969, for baseball)
  • Surface: Grass
  • Architect: George Dahl, Osborn Engineering
  • Owner: District of Columbia (government)

The History

RFK Stadium, originally named the District of Columbia Stadium, was opened in 1961. It was renamed in 1969 to honor the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The stadium was primarily the home of the Washington Senators until they moved to Texas after the 1971 season. It later briefly housed the Washington Nationals from 2005 until 2007, when Nationals Park was opened.

Design and Features

RFK Stadium was designed as a multi-sport facility, capable of hosting baseball, football, and soccer. It featured a circular, symmetrical design typical of the era’s stadiums. Its most distinctive feature was the bouncing stands, particularly in the lower deck, which fans rhythmically moved during exciting moments of the games.

Renovations

Over the years, RFK Stadium underwent various renovations to accommodate the needs of its different tenants and improve fan experiences. These included updates to the seating, scoreboard, and sound system. The stadium also underwent modifications to better suit baseball and soccer layouts as required.

Facilities

The facilities at RFK Stadium were reflective of its time. It offered standard concession stands and merchandise shops, providing fans with a range of food and memorabilia options. The seating was designed to offer good sightlines for various sports, although it lacked the intimacy of modern single-sport stadiums.

Memorable Moments at RFK Stadium

  • First Senators Game: Hosting the Washington Senators in their inaugural game at the stadium.
  • Final Senators Game: A memorable yet tumultuous final game in 1971 before the team’s relocation.
  • Washington Nationals’ Inaugural Season: Welcoming Major League Baseball back to D.C. in 2005.
  • Frank Howard’s Home Runs: Known for his towering home runs, Howard lit up RFK during his tenure with the Senators.
  • Hosting the All-Star Game: The 1962 MLB All-Star Game brought the league’s best to RFK.

Interesting Baseball History at RFK Stadium

  • Transitional Role in D.C. Baseball: RFK served as a bridge between the old Senators and the new Nationals era.
  • Hosting Historic Players: The stadium saw many greats, from Harmon Killebrew to Frank Howard.
  • Multi-Sport Design Influence: RFK’s design influenced the trend of multi-purpose stadiums in the U.S.
  • Return of Baseball to D.C.: RFK played a crucial role in bringing MLB back to Washington, D.C., after a long absence.

Non-Baseball Events

RFK Stadium was a hub for various events beyond baseball. It was well-known as the home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and D.C. United of MLS. The stadium also hosted numerous concerts, political events, and other large gatherings, showcasing its versatility and cultural significance in Washington, D.C. The array of events at RFK Stadium highlights its role as an iconic multi-purpose venue in the city’s history.