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BULLEThistory archive
History Archive Photo
Vintage postcard illustrating
the historic ballpark.

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The Old Ballpark
Wrigley Field is old. And Fenway Park is older. The oldest baseball stadium still in use, however, is in the small town of Bisbee, Arizona.

By Lauren Proper

Bisbee The roof isn't retractable and it only seats 1,500 people, but Bisbee's Warren Ballpark holds the bragging rights to a record many larger, well-known and historic stadiums wish they had.

Baseball fanatics hardly ever put the diminutive stadium on their list of fields to visit, finding one way or another to disqualify it. They can't deny the facts, though: Warren Ballpark is the oldest baseball stadium still in use in the United States. Sorry, Red Sox fans, but Fenway takes a backseat.

Warren Ballpark was built in 1909 by a subsidiary of the Calumet & Arizona Mining Co. for $3,600 to provide recreation to miners and their families. The Bisbee team played its first game on June 27 that year and formed a semiprofessional team that eventually became known as the Bisbee Copper Kings, which was recently revived as part of the independent Arizona-Mexico League. One of the ballpark's more notorious historical happenings, however, had nothing to do with baseball.

In June 1917, I.W.W. union miners went on strike in Bisbee and Douglas over wages and mining safety concerns. On July 12, after weeks of unrest, a large sheriff's posse forced almost 1,200 striking workers to march to the ballpark. Once there, those who refused to go back to work were loaded onto railcars and sent to New Mexico.

The next morning, the Bisbee Daily Review, published a strongly worded article in support of what became known as the Bisbee Deportation, calling it "The Great Wobbly Drive." The paper praised the action as "a blow at traitors, spies and anarchists that will make this clique tremble everywhere west of the Rocky Mountains" and hailed the nearly 3,000 vigilantes as heroes.

It didn't take long for the games to resume, and for the next nine decades a wide variety of players entered the diamond in Bisbee. Teams ranging from the New York Yankees' farm team to the Bisbee High School Pumas have called the ballpark home.

Despite its rough patches, Warren Ballpark has weathered the past 10 decades and stands as a testament to baseball history. It's something to brag about.

>> Back to History Archive

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