District of ColumbiaNational Park -> Griffith Stadium
Last game:September 21, 1961
Demolished:January 26, 1965
Capacity:32,000 (1921); 27,550 (1961).
The National League Washington Senators originally began playing at National Park in 1892. But the National League club went bankrupt and the new Washington Senators were formed, as part of the newly formed American League in 1894. Built of mainly wood, National Park burned while the team was at spring training on March 17, 1911. However, a new ballpark was immediately constructed of steel and concrete. The stadium was not completed by opening day, July 24, 1911, but a single deck was completed, so the ballpark opened. By mid season in 1911, the ballpark was completed. The grandstand extended around homeplate and down the baselines, and a second deck extended around homeplate and the infield. Bleachers extended from the left field foul pole to centerfield. Once completed the capacity at the ballpark was 27,410. A presidential box was constructed near the first base dugout for the President of the United States. William Howard Taft, became the first President to attend baseball games, and to throw out the opening pitch. The outfield wall at National Park varied in height (from 4 to 12 feet), and was very quirky. Centerfield jutted into the outfield because of a huge tree, and five houses, which owners would not sell to the team.
In 1920, National Park was renamed Griffith Stadium after Clark Griffith, the owner. Also in 1920, the only addition was added to the stadium. The grandstand was double decked to both the left and right field foul lines. However, the new second deck of Griffith Stadium did not connect to the original part because the original stands were graded differently. Griffith Stadium remained unchanged after this addition.
The black ball Washington Pilots and their big star, Mule Suttles played at Griffith Stadium, but the team folded after one season. In 1937, the Nashville Elite Giants moved to Washington. Two years later, the Elite Giants moved to Baltimore in 1939, and Josh Gibson and the great Homestead Grays from Pittsburgh moved into Griffith Stadium to replace them.
In the late 1950's, the Washington Senators began to drop in the standings. The last game played at Griffith Stadium was on September 21, 1961. The stadium was demolished in 1965, and is now the site of Howard University Hospital.