The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Major League Ballparks: Largest to Smallest

Sometimes you look at a stadium filled to capacity, and you wonder why they didn’t build it just a bit larger so it could accommodate more people.  On the other hand, you could go to a Mets game at Citi Field in August, and wonder why they didn’t build it half as large, so it wouldn’t look quite so empty.

Here, then, is a complete list (largest to smallest) of each MLB stadium, along with their officially listed seating capacity:

1)  Dodger Stadium – 56,000

2)  Coors Field –  50,480

3)  Yankee Stadium – 50,291

4)  Turner Field – 49,586

5)  Rogers Centre – 49,282

6)  Chase Field – 48,633

7)  Rangers Ballpark – 48,114

8)  Safeco Field – 47,476

9)  Camden Yards – 45,971

10) Angel Stadium – 45,483

11) Busch Stadium – 43,975

12) Citizens Bank Park – 43,651

13) Petco Park – 42,524

14) Great American Ballpark – 42,319

15) Progressive Field – 42,241

16) Minute Maid Park – 42,060

17) Citi Field – 41,922

18) AT&T Park – 41,915

19) Miller Park – 41,900

20) Nationals Park – 41,418

21) Comerica Park – 41,255

22) Wrigley Field – 41,019

23) U.S. Cellular Field – 40,615

24) Target Field – 39,021

25) PNC Park – 38,362

26) Kauffman Stadium – 37,903

27) Fenway Park – 37,499

28) Marlins Park – 36,742

29) O.co Coliseum – 35,067

30) Tropicana Field – 34,078

You can also call this list, the Incredible Shrinking Ballpark.  Ballpark construction certainly is headed down as far as seating capacity is concerned.  During the last boom of construction in the 1960′s and ’70′s, stadiums regularly topped 50,000 seats.  For many years, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park were normally the two “coziest” parks in baseball.  Now, about half the parks seat 42,000 or fewer folks, while 23% of MLB parks now seat fewer than 40,000 fans.

 

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25 thoughts on “Major League Ballparks: Largest to Smallest

  1. glenrussellslater on said:

    Stadiums that I miss—– even though I hadn’t been to most of them—–

    Not in any order. Of course, I miss Shea the most, before they put all the changes into it and the sensory overkill and noise, noise, and more noise.

    1. Humble Jarry Park in Montreal, before the Expos moved into that ugly, sterile monstrosity. At Jarry Park, the fans had so much SPIRIT! They seemed to lose that spirit when the Expos moved into oversized, ugly, and sterile Olympic Stadium.

    2. Comiskey Park, the original one. I was at a game there in the last year that it was up, 1990. Bill Veek’s exploding scoreboard seems almost quaint today, with all the noise and over-sensory noise and overkill.

    3. Shea Stadium, when Jane Jarvis was still playing. (Playing the organ, that is).

    4. Bloomington Stadium. Before it was replaced by Hefty Bag Stadium.

    5. I would have liked the Los Angeles Coliseum. What a cool thing that left field screen must have been. I know that Wally Moon liked it.

    6. I wish that I had a chance to be at the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field.

    7. Arlington Stadium. The Rangers were actually my favorite American League team in the 70s. I was at Arlington Stadium; what a lot of fun those metal bleachers were with everyone stamping their feet when the Rangers rallied and the whole place shaked.

    8. Candlestick Park. I was there when I was 16. What a lot of fun. I went there wearing only an undershirt and jeans; it was actually kind of hot at game time; by the seventh inning, it was windy and cold and I was freezing my you-know-what off. But that was part of its charm…… the legend of Stu Miller being blown off of the pitching rubber, and all the rest. Almost caught a home run hit by Willie McCovey.

    9. Anaheim Stadium. Was there, too. It was kind of like Shea, in a way.

    10. Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. I was there when I was 15.

    11. County Stadium (Milwaukee)

    12. Crosley Field

    13. Forbes Field

    14. Kansas City Municipal Stadium, when the A’s played there. (I’ve only read about it.) I’ve read about how Finley introduced the “Pennant Porch” in right field, before the league disallowed it! What a colorful character Finley was!

    15. You would have liked the stadium the Colt 45s played in, if you like giant mosquitoes! Both Jim Bouton and Rodney Crowell describe it well in their respective books.

    The only ones that I had actually BEEN to, though, were Baltimore Memorial Stadium, Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium (only in its second incarnation), Anaheim Stadium, Wrigley Field, Candlestick Park, Fenway Park and Arlington
    Stadium, and the Astrodome, but just on a tour; never seen a game at an indoor stadium, but that must be kind of cool. The others I’ve only seen on TV. I’m glad that I had the chance to be at some of these stadiums! Great memories!

    Glen

    • Wow. Great list, Glen. You’ve certainly been to more ballparks than I have. I’ve only been to Shea, Fenway, Three Rivers and the old Kingdome. Never even made it to the old Yankee Stadium.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Bill

  2. I think, Bill, that Citi Field will NEVER be paid off if the Wilpon’s maintain ownership. The debt will be continually renegotiated, kicked down an endless, Sisyphean road.

    Not a happy time to be a Met, but what else can we do?

    Kind Regards,
    Michael
    AKA: Grubby Glove

  3. I wish they’d stop expanding Wrigley and just leave it the way it is!

  4. In the years when Citi Field was being built the Mets were averaging a greater number of fans at Shea Stadium per game than the capacity of the new park being built. The lower capacity was done in an attempt to radically raise prices by creating scarcity of product.

    And when Citi Field opened prices were two, three or four (or more) times the cost of an equivalent ticket at Shea.

    What the owners did not consider was that this idea is predicated on an excellent product, year-after-year. That was not provided, as the team on the field declined in parallel with the new park opening.

    Now they are left with mountains of empty seats for most games and no chance to go above 42,000 when a big game does arrive.

    The prices needed to be cut back drastically, and team revenues are much less than they were in the old park.

    They got what they deserved.

    • I think what the owners had failed to understand is that the fans in the cheap seats tend to be more loyal than the ones who can afford the luxury boxes, for whom going to the park is an “event” only when the team is actually winning. So now that tickets are more expensive overall, the working-class fan has been priced out, and, because the on-field product is so poor, the rich have stopped coming as well. Nice going, Wilpons!

  5. My own personal belief is that it has to do with jacking up ticket prices. Here in NYC, when the Mets and Yanks were getting ready to move into stadiums with 15,000 fewer seats than the ones they were leaving behind, no-one in the media asked what that was going to mean to ticket prices – why would popular teams cut off a potential 15,000 fans per game? Well, ticket prices soared, especially regarding luxury boxes and premium seats.

    When I took the stadium tour of The Ballpark in Arlington in 2003, the tour guide brought us into a luxury box and said something that has stuck with my ever since – “This right here is why owners build new ballparks”.

  6. I know nothing about economics, but it seems obvious that whatever makes the most money sense is what the mlb does and Camden Yards and every retro stadium that followed was not only a great marketing and money making idea. It was a great architectural and continuity idea.

    If it`s a great idea, why not follow it? Especially when you consider how different each stadium still is. I`d be interested to know if the number of day of game purchased tickets has gone up up or down across baseball since Camden Yards and the retro stadiums replaced the cement monsters. I`m not talking about luxury corporate sales or promotional gimmick days or family fun days…just the routine days and nights along the 162 game season.

    What`s the point of a 50,000 stadium that will only fill up on opening day? I`d have to check, but I don`t think the older-bigger stadiums filled seats on a regualr basis. As a matter of fact, I remember the old Yankee stadium being no where near sell out on a number of playoff occasions.

    • Well, Steve, I have to agree with you on the old cavernous stadiums often being empty. The old Cleveland Municipal Stadium was one such place, and Shea Stadium often felt that way, too, in some of the Mets worst seasons. No question that Camden Yards launched an architecturally more interesting wave of new stadiums back in the early ’90′s. In the end, there’s probably not much correlation between the size of a park and the overall attendance. It does make you wonder, though, what the next wave of parks will look like, and how large they will choose to build them.
      Thanks, as always,
      Bill

  7. Glen Russell Slater on said:

    “Is this just a way to potentially jack up ticket prices (lower supply creates artificial scarcity?)”

    I was thinking the same thing. I think that might be correct. I’d put nothing below the greedy, arrogant owners.

    Glen

  8. It’s funny…I’ve been in Three Rivers Stadium for a playoff game with 45,000 in the seats, and it seemed pretty low-key, and I’ve talked to people who were at the Wild Card game this year with 5,000 fewer bodies in the stands, and they said it was the loudest place they’ve ever been in their lives. I don’t know what that means, but it means something, I guess.

  9. I’m not going to check the data on this, but I’m pretty sure stadiums 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 on this list have all been among the most crowded in MLB for at least several years in a row at some point since Rogers Centre/SkyDome opened in ‘89. And not that long ago Fenway had vacant rows of seats, while Oakland’s Coliseum was pretty crowded in the ‘88 to ‘92 time frame, when capacity was probably about 55,000. I don’t know that there’s much correlation between capacity and attendance. It seems like in most cases, people will come see an established winning team regardless of the stadium or the state of the local economy. Maybe not in Florida though.

    • There probably isn’t much correlation between capacity and attendance, but building a park that can’t hold more than 40,000 fans certainly means you’ll never enjoy 50,000 coming out to see a ballgame. I know that the idea is make baseball more “intimate,” but, as you point out, fans will fill a much larger park to see their boys play (however distantly from the field) if the team is performing well. It is funny, though, how once an idea takes hold, all others tend to ape it.
      Thanks for reading, Arne.
      Bill

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