Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

stadium_name = Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
nickname = "The Launching Pad"

location = 521 Capitol Ave.
Atlanta, Georgia| broke_ground = April 15, 1964
opened = April 12, 1966
closed = October 24, 1996
demolished = August 2, 1997
owner = City of Atlanta and Fulton County
operator =
surface = grass
construction_cost = $18 million USD| architect = Heery, Inc
former_names = Atlanta Stadium (1965-1976)
tenants = Atlanta Braves (MLB) (1966-1996)
Atlanta Falcons (NFL) (1966-1991)
Atlanta Chiefs (NASL) (1967-1969), (1971-1972), (1979-1981)
Atlanta Crackers (IL) (1965)
Chick-fil-A Bowl (NCAA) (1971-1991)
seating_capacity = 52,007 (baseball), 60,606 (football)
dimensions = 1966-68 & 1974-96
Left field: 330 ft.
Left-Center: 385 ft.
Center Field: 402 ft.
Right-Center: 385 ft.
Right Field: 330 ft.
Left field: 330 ft.
Left-Center: 375 ft.
Center Field: 402 ft.
Right-Center: 375 ft.
Right Field: 330 ft.
1973 only
Left field: 330 ft.
Left-Center: 375 ft.
Center Field: 402 ft.
Right-Center: 385 ft.
Right Field: 330 ft.

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, sometimes shortened to "Fulton County Stadium," was a multi-use (baseball, football, soccer, rock concert, revival meeting, and monster truck) stadium that formerly stood in Atlanta, Georgia. Completed in a then-record 50 weeks for $18 million, it opened in the spring of 1965 as Atlanta Stadium. It was intended as the home of the soon-to-be-relocating Braves, but court battles kept the team in Milwaukee as a lame duck for a year. So the new stadium had a lame duck of its own for that first season: the Atlanta Crackers of the International League, whose previous home had been Ponce de Leon Park at 650 Ponce de Leon Avenue. In its first year it also hosted Atlanta's only Beatles concert, August 18, 1965. In by|1966, both the NL's transplanted Braves and the NFL's expansion Atlanta Falcons moved in. In 1967 the Atlanta Chiefs of the National Professional Soccer League (reformed as the North American Soccer League in 1968) began the first of five seasons played at the stadium. [ [ Atlanta Chiefs] ] In a move intended to acknowledge the financial contributions of the taxpayers of Fulton County, the stadium's name was changed to the hyphenated Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1976, the same year that Ted Turner purchased the Braves. [ [ Braves Ballpark History] ] The Falcons moved to the Georgia Dome in 1992, while the Braves had to wait until the Olympic Stadium from the 1996 Summer Olympics was transformed into Turner Field to move out at the beginning of the by|1997 season. The stadium sat 60,606 for football and 52,007 for baseball. The baseball competition for the 1996 Summer Olympics was held at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.


The stadium was relatively nondescript, one of the many saucer-shaped multipurpose facilities built during the 1960s and 1970s, usually known as cookie-cutter stadiums, like those in Washington, New York, Houston, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. As was the case for every stadium that used this design concept, the fundamentally different sizes and shapes of baseball and football fields made it inadequate for both sports. In the baseball configuration, 70 percent of the seats were in foul territory. In the football configuration, seats on the 50-yard-line--normally prime seats for football--were more than 50 yards away from the sidelines. One unusual feature of this stadium is the fact that, unlike most baseball stadiums used for football where the football field was laid either parallel to one of the foul lines or running from home plate to center field, the football field here was laid along a line running between first and third base. Thus, a seat behind home plate for baseball would also be on the 50-yard line for football. The stadium was refurbished for the 1996 season prior to hosting the Olympic baseball competition.

It was also known for the playing field's poor quality. It didn't have a full-time grounds crew until 1989, instead relying on a city work crew.

Due to the relatively high elevation of the Atlanta area (situated at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains), the stadium boasted the highest elevation in baseball when it opened, at 1,050 feet above sea level. It retained this distinction until the Colorado Rockies were born in by|1993. The high elevation made it favorable to hitters, resulting in the nickname "The Launching Pad."

The Native American mascot called "Chief Noc-A-Homa" was prominently featured from 1966 until the early 1980s when the mascot was abandoned.

Fulton County Stadium was designed by a joint-venture team of FABRAP (Finch Alexander Barnes Rothschild & Paschal) and Heery, Inc.

Historic and notable events in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

* In by|1972, the stadium hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Hank Aaron hit a home run during the game, and the National League won the game 4-3 in 10 innings.

* On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron became baseball's all-time career home run leader by hitting his 715th home run off the Los Angeles Dodgers' Al Downing.

* The stadium hosted the World Series for the first time in 1991 when the Braves played the Minnesota Twins in what ESPN judged to be the best World Series ever played [ [ ESPN: The World Series 100th Anniversary] ] . The Braves won all three games played in Atlanta, two in their final at-bat, but lost the series in seven games.

* The 1992 World Series saw the Braves play the Toronto Blue Jays with the Blue Jays defeating the Braves four games to two, including two of three in Atlanta.

* On July 20, 1993, a fire occurred in the stadium press box during batting practice for that evening's game. This fire occurred on the same day that Fred McGriff joined the Braves.

* On October 28, 1995, the Braves clinched the 1995 World Series by defeating the Cleveland Indians 1-0 on a one-hit, 8-inning performance by pitcher Tom Glavine. The title was the Braves' first World Series championship in Atlanta, making one title in each of the three cities in which they have resided (also Boston and Milwaukee).

* The stadium's final event was Game 5 of the 1996 World Series; Andy Pettite of the New York Yankees closed down the stadium with a 1-0 shutout over John Smoltz of the Braves. Luis Polonia, made the final out in stadium history when Paul O'Neill of the Yankees robbed Polonia of a potential game-tying extra-base hit.


Following the Olympics, Fulton County commissioner, Marvin S. Arrington, Sr., had a plan to save the stadium and use it as a professional soccer arena and share the parking facilities between it and Turner Field but he was unable to push it through. [Arrington, Marvin, "Making My Mark", Mercer University Press, 2008, p.167] Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was imploded on August 2, 1997. A parking lot for Turner Field now stands on the site, with an outline of the old stadium, and a plaque marking the spot where Hank Aaron's historic 715th career home run landed on April 8, 1974, in what was formerly the Braves bullpen.

The stadium was demolished in the same year as another Atlanta sports venue, the Omni Coliseum. That arena was the former home of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and the NHL's Atlanta Flames, and was replaced by Philips Arena on the same site.


External links

* [ Two vintage postcards showing the stadium from the air. Both cards were published around 1965 or 1966]
* [ TerraServer photo of old stadium outline in parking lot, and Turner Field]

succession box
title = Home of the
Atlanta Falcons
years = 1966 – 1991
before = First stadium
after = Georgia Dome
succession box
title = Home of the
Atlanta Braves
years = 1966 – 1996
before = Milwaukee County Stadium
after = Turner Field
succession box
title = Home of the
Peach Bowl
years = 1971 – 1991
before = Grant Field
after = Georgia Dome
succession box
title = Host of the All-Star Game
years = 1972
before = Tiger Stadium
after = Royals Stadium

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