Hiram Bithorn Stadium
Hiram Bithorn Stadium (Spanish: Estadio Hiram Bithorn) is a baseball park in San Juan, Puerto Rico, built in 1962 and designed by Puerto Rican architect Pedro Miranda. It is operated by the municipal government of the city of San Juan. Its name honors the first Puerto Rican to play in the major leagues, Hiram Bithorn, who first played with the Chicago Cubs in 1942. Built in 1962, under the mayoral administration of Felisa Rincón de Gautier, replacing Estadio Sixto Escobar, the stadium is home to the Santurce Crabbers, of the Puerto Rico Baseball League. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.
|Location||Gobernador Piñero, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Owner||Municipality of San Juan|
|Operator||Municipality of San Juan|
|Field size||Left Field – 325 ft (99 m)|
Left-Center – 375 ft (114 m)
Center Field – 404 ft (123 m)
Right-Center – 375 ft (114 m)
Right Field – 325 ft (99 m)
Backstop – 60 ft (18 m)
|Surface||Natural grass (1962–1994)|
Turf Nation (2015–present)
|Senadores de San Juan (LBPRC) (1962–1974, 1984–2000, 2003–2004, 2010–2011, 2014–2015)|
Cangrejeros de Santurce (LBPRC) (1962–1982, 1989–2004, 2008–2009, 2012–present)
Atléticos de San Juan (PRSL) (2008–2011)
Academia Quintana (PRSL) (2008–2011)
Montreal Expos (MLB) (2003–2004; secondary)
The stadium has approximately 18,000 seats. The stadium is 325 feet (99 m) down the left field line, 325 feet (99 m) down the right field line and 404 feet (123 m) to center field. The fences are 8 feet (2.5 m) high. When the Expos played home games at Hiram Bithorn, the field dimensions were set to match Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
The first outdoor National Basketball Association game was played between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks on September 24, 1972 during that year's preseason. The Suns defeated the Bucks, 116–103.
In the mid-1990s Hiram Bithorn Stadium was planned to be the home of the yet-to-be named Puerto Rico team, a charter franchise of the United League (UL) which was a planned third league of Major League Baseball (MLB).
The stadium hosted Major League Baseball's Opening Day Game in 2001, in which the Toronto Blue Jays faced the Texas Rangers in an American League match-up. However, 4,000 who bought tickets were turned away when the police determined the safe capacity of the park had been vastly exceeded.
It was the object of a major overhaul under the mayoral administration of Jorge Santini, before becoming the part-time home of the Montreal Expos of the National League in 2003 and 2004 prior to their move to Washington, D.C. as the Washington Nationals. The Expos played 22 "home" games in each season as a result of poor attendance at their home Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Prior to Major League Baseball's announcement of the Montreal Expos' move to Washington, Puerto Rico and San Juan made an effort to lure the Expos franchise to the island territory permanently.
Hiram Bithorn Stadium hosted parts of the first two rounds of the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Pool C, which included the teams of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama, and the Netherlands, was played there. It also hosted Pool 2 of the second round of the Classic which featured Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, the top two finishers from Pool C and Pool D. Pool D games of the 2009 World Baseball Classic were played there between March 7 and March 11, 2009. The Hiram Bithorn Stadium hosted the 2013 World Baseball Classic with Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and newcomers Spain in Pool C.
The Marlins were to play the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 30 and 31, 2016 in honor of Roberto Clemente Day. However, on May 6, 2016, it was announced that the Puerto Rico games would be postponed due to the ongoing Zika virus outbreak, and moved to Marlins Park.
The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins played a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium on April 17 and 18, 2018. It is the first time since 2010 that a Major League Baseball regular-season game was played in Puerto Rico.
Along with sporting events, the stadium has hosted concerts by many famous artists.
Some of the concerts that have been held at the venue:
- The Byrds – April 30, 1967
- Santana – October 31, 1971
- The Jackson Five – July 17, 1973
- Blue Angel/Peter Frampton – August 22, 1981
- Blue Öyster Cult – October 28, 1983
- Bon Jovi/Scorpions: Love At First Sting Tour – July 13, 1984
- Black Jack/Ozzy Osbourne: Bark At The Moon Tour – August 4, 1984
- The Motels/Men At Work – August 2, 1985
- Sting – November 9, 1985
- Cinderella/Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet Tour – February 21, 1987
- The Beach Boys – April 4, 1987
- Poison/Ratt: Dancing Undercover Tour – June 12, 1987
- Toto/Rod Stewart:Out of Order Tour – July 1, 1988
- Stryper: In God We Trust Tour – January 14, 1989
- Whitney Houston: The Bodyguard World Tour – April 24, 1994
- Laura Pausini: World Wide Tour – May 10, 1997
- Billy Joel – February 11, 1999
- Mana: Unplugged – May 6, 2000
- Backstreet Boys – May 19 & 20, 2001 - Black & Blue Tour
- MEF: March 19, 2011, March 17, 2012, and March 16, 2013
- Rihanna – October 29, 2013 – Diamonds World Tour
- Vargas FAIA, Benjamin, ed. (2014). La Vereda Tropical / Down Where the Trade Winds Blow (in Spanish and English). San Juan, PR: AIA. ISBN 9780692324301.
- U.S. National Park Service. "National Register of Historic Places Program". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- "Blue Jays beat up Rangers in baseball's season opener". CBC Sports. 2001-04-01. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- "MLB moves Puerto Rico series amid concerns about Zika virus". ESPN.com. Retrieved 6 May 2016.