Cooper Stadium was a baseball stadium in Columbus, Ohio and was the home of the minor league Columbus Clippers from 1977 to 2008.

Cooper Stadium
"The Coop","County Stadium"
Cooper stadium interior.jpg
Former namesRed Bird Stadium (1932-1954)
Jets Stadium (1955-1970)
Franklin County Stadium (1977-1984)
Location1155 West Mound Street
Columbus, OH 43223
OwnerFranklin County
OperatorFranklin County
Capacity17,500 (1932-1959)
12,000 (1960-1976)
15,000 (1977-2008)
Field sizeLeft Field - 355 ft
Center Field - 400 ft
Right Field - 330 ft
SurfaceNatural Grass (1931-1983, 1998-2008)
AstroTurf (1984-1997)
Construction
Broke ground1931
OpenedJune 3, 1932[1]
Renovated1977
ClosedSeptember 1, 2008
Construction cost$450,000[1]
($8.43 million in 2019 dollars[2])
ArchitectHoward Dwight Smith[3]
Tenants
Columbus Red Birds (AA) (1931-1954)
Columbus Blue Birds (NNL2) (1933)[4]
Columbus Bullies (APFA/AFL) (1938-1941)
Columbus Jets (IL) (1955-1970)
Columbus Magic (ASL) (1979-1980)
Columbus Clippers (IL) (1977-2008)

HistoryEdit

Cooper Stadium was built in 1931 as Red Bird Stadium as the home for the then-Columbus Red Birds of the American Association, one of the minor league teams of the St. Louis Cardinals. It was constructed using the same blueprints which were used for building Red Wing Stadium in Rochester, New York in 1929. The Cardinals owned both teams when the respective stadiums were built.

When the Red Birds moved to Omaha after the 1954 season, the International League's Ottawa Athletics moved to Columbus as the Jets and took up residence at the stadium. Accordingly, it was renamed Jets Stadium. The Jets moved out in 1970, and the stadium sat dormant for six years.

When the International League granted a new franchise to Columbus, the county government bought and renovated Jet Stadium, which was renamed Franklin County Stadium, for the newly minted Clippers. In 1984 the stadium was renamed in honor of Harold Cooper, who was responsible for bringing the Jets to Columbus in the 1950s, and had AstroTurf installed, which was removed by 1997. The stadium is owned and operated by the Franklin County government. It is located in the section of the city known as Franklinton.

Tenants and eventsEdit

Over the years, Cooper Stadium has been home to the Columbus Red Birds, a farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals; the Negro league Columbus Blue Birds;[4] the Columbus Jets; and, after the renovation was completed, the Columbus Clippers. From 1939 through 1941, Cooper Stadium (then named Red Bird Stadium) was also home to the Columbus Bullies, two-time champions of the third American Football League.

Cooper Stadium hosted the 1989 Triple-A All-Star Game. The team of National League-affiliated All-Stars defeated the team of American League-affiliated All-Stars, 8–3.[5]

The stadium has also hosted a number of other events, such as roller derbys, music concerts (including Aerosmith, Rush, Bob Dylan & Garth Brooks), professional wrestling (including Bobo Brazil, the Sheik, & Ali Baba) and hosted evangelist Billy Graham.

Cooper Stadium also hosted the OHSAA Ohio high-school boys baseball State Tournament.

Final baseball gameEdit

The Clippers moved from Cooper Stadium after the 2008 season to a new ballpark, Huntington Park, which is located in the Arena District in downtown Columbus. On September 1, 2008, the final game was played as the Toledo Mud Hens defeated the Columbus Clippers in front of 16,770 fans, the third largest crowd in stadium history.

 
Cooper Stadium Box Office

Racetrack conversionEdit

As of May 1, 2008, a proposal to turn the site of Cooper Stadium into an auto racing facility was being considered.[6] This is not a completely new use for the facility, as the parking lot south of the stadium has been used for Sports Car Club of America and autocross racing as well as motorcycle training. On June 27, 2011, the Columbus City Council voted to rezone the site to allow for a racetrack to be built.[7]

On December 20, 2011, the Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment approved a special permit by a vote of 4-0 that would clear the way for developer Arshot Investment to build a half-mile racetrack, automotive research and technology center. Arshot planned to spend up to $40 million to develop the 47-acre site.[8]

Rumored plans also included a $22 million overhaul to eventually become the OHSAA stadium for most outdoor events (baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, etc.). This would then make Cooper Stadium a multi-purpose stadium.[citation needed]

By April, 2017 the first base side of the stadium had been demolished, leaving the third base side and bleachers still standing as what was to become the straightaway grandstands of the proposed race track. No other construction had been completed and according to an article appearing in the The Columbus Dispatch, the project appeared to be dead.[9]

As of May, 2019 the former stadium site sits half demolished and abandoned.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Cooper Stadium - Project Ballpark
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  3. ^ Jagtiani, Aruna (March 11, 1998). "Smith's Architecture Discussed". Northwest Columbus News. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Lowry, Philip J. (2006). Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of Major League and Negro League Ballparks. New York: Walker Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-8027-1562-1.
  5. ^ "Triple-A All-Star Game Results (1988–1992)". Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "Developer Could Turn Cooper Stadium Into Racetrack". 2008-05-01. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  7. ^ Lane, Liz (2011-06-27). "Columbus City Council OK's Racetrack". NBCi4 Columbus. Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  8. ^ Ferenchik, Mark (2011-12-21). "Columbus City Approves Special Permit". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
  9. ^ Ferenchik, Mark (2017-04-09). "Cooper Stadium Project Stalls as Developer Ducks Questions". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  10. ^ Ferenchik, Mark (2017-04-09). "Long After Racetrack Plan Fizzled, Cooper Stadium Site Remains Abandoned". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-02-07.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 39°56′47.06″N 83°1′41.58″W / 39.9464056°N 83.0282167°W / 39.9464056; -83.0282167