Hmmm…

I was digging around on the internets earlier tonight when I stumbled upon this:

Image titled “Pre Mount Davis Coliseum” from flickr user Photoscream

Take a long, hard look at the photo (click to enlarge). Then tell me what you think.

Update 9:50 AM – Okay, ready? The title “Pre Mount Davis Oakland Coliseum” is extremely misleading. There’s no date listed on the picture, but based on other pictures I have seen and archives, the pic goes back to the 1969-71 era. Here’s why.

1. The greater number of aisles on the lower half of the field level. Those were filled in around 1972.
2. The all-green-seats look was the original look to the Coliseum. The orange seats, as we remember them, were phased in over an almost decade-long period in the 80′s as the green seats deteriorated.
3. The exterior “hill” surrounding the Coli has no stairs! None next to the gate tunnels or anywhere else for that matter. There’s only a ramp and “trails” leading down from the plaza concourse, the latter of which may have been tough to negotiate if one were drunk following a game.
4. No DiamondVision!
5. Trees are very young.
6. The outfield fence is pulled in somewhat. The initial dimensions, according to Andrew Clem, were 330-378-410-378-330, not the 330-375-400-375-330 that we all knew so well. The former dimensions lasted only the ’68 season.
7. The few cars in the players’ lot in the upper left hand corner are pretty old.
8. The loge area had not yet been converted to suites.
9. The paths from the on-deck circle to the plate didn’t last long.
10. The dugout roofs are painted green and are otherwise unadorned.

In a few years, the Coliseum will be 50 years old. It’s lived a very full life – several lives, even. This version was the one that lured Charlie Finley, and you can see why he came. It was a pretty good spot back then – fresh, green, almost pastoral. The “Mausoleum” reputation it got wasn’t solely because of the stadium. It was because hardly anyone showed up.

If you want to see good closeup pictures of the Coli in its late 80′s glory, check out this flickr set by Jerry Reuss. That Jerry Reuss? Yes, that Jerry Reuss. Who knew the guy was such a stadium buff?

56 thoughts on “Hmmm…

  1. Dang, you forget just how not-ugly it used to be. I mean, I know the concessions and layout of the dark concrete labyrinth behind the seats is grossly outdated, but bulldoze Mt Davis, bring back the grass and bleachers and our park wouldn’t be half bad.

    I assume you think something’s fishy about the photo? Why are we looking long and hard and saying hmmmm….?

  2. @Patrick – Not fishy at all. Just look at the details.

  3. The seats aren’t Orange and the dugouts are all green?

  4. There’s dirt paths from the on-deck circles to the home plate area… can’t say I’ve seen that.

  5. I’ve seen this photo before on the interwebs as well. As someone who was born in the early ’90s and does not have any memories of the pre-Mt. Davis Coliseum, I’ve done quite my share of digging around for photographic evidence that our ballpark was once indeed a decent place to watch a game. That said, looking at a picture like this makes me lament over what used to be…

  6. Really, the more I look at it, the more beautiful it is. It’s bringing back a lotta childhood memories, from my first game ever with my dad as the A’s took on George Brett and the Royals, to the ’89 series he took me to all 4 games of.

    Much prettier than Dodger Stadium IMO and MUCH better than Candlestick. Yeah, we had a pretty damn fine park I gotta say. Thanks Al

  7. Well, if Mick was warmer, are you getting at how the bleacher seats were ACTUALLY bleachers, as in long benches?

  8. @Patrick – That’s a small part of it. There’s more to it than that.

  9. I recall there being eucalyptus trees past the centerfield scoreboards

  10. lol, u referring to the tarp over the center sections?

  11. There’s also no centerfield scoreboard. Hmm… Is it something to do with the date this photo was presumably taken? My first guess would be that it was just prior to the ’96 renovations, but my gut is telling me its much, much earlier than that….

  12. @JL yeah, look at the cars parked in the upper left corner parking lot. I’m thinking this was taken in the very early 70s

  13. Its a model of the coliseum, not an actual picture of it.

  14. @Patrick: If so, I’m amazed. The Coli had green seats back in the ’70s? I’ve always thought it had orange seats from the get-go until the renovations in the ’90s. (again, my age and ignorance is showing…)

  15. sections 200-234 are different is all i can think of? the current set up of seats are cut into “two sections” in the picture above.

  16. @Drew: Now if THAT’S the case, then I’ve been thoroughly mind-f*cked….

    • @Drew/JL – I thought that it was a model, then I realized it’s a real picture.

      I’ll leave it at that for the next several hours so that I can catch a few winks and other readers can look at it in the morning.

  17. I mean, it looks like one of those “scale model” things that architects design. Look at the trees.

  18. anybody know why they switched from green seats during a time to orange? i mean green seats looked so much better as they even do now with how they ruined the coliseum.

  19. I dont see any advertising of any sort? Man a tear comes to my eye when I see this…

  20. Based on the cars parked in the lot this photo was taken in the 60′s which is why the eucalyptus trees are so small.

  21. so many aisles in the lower bowl… also first picture that shows up for oakland coliseum 1980′s.

  22. Is there no third level concourse? No West Side club? I have no idea if those were original or part of a renovation.
    .
    Zero advertising, no signs for any team. So maybe it’s early 1968.

  23. Virtually everything in the picture is green. It’s actually kinda eerie how much color the Coliseum has now compared to them.

    Also, not being familiar with the Coliseum pre-Mt. Davis, the bleachers look odd to me. It appears that some are temporary and some are permanent. I’ve heard stories about the bleachers smelling like marijuana from miles away…a friend’s dad once tried to convince me that he and his friends kept a bong in the Coliseum bleachers, and left it there between games…

  24. I can’t help but think what a terrible place this would be for football by today’s standards when you wheel those seats into the outfield. Of course, temporary seating in the LA Coliseum is equally haphazard. Somehow this picture makes you think failed Olympic bid.

  25. I thought it was a model at first, but the details are just too good for it to be a model… if you look in the outfield… someone is cutting the grass… I also remember as a kid that the seats were always orange. However, I didn’t go to my first A’s game till I was in high school, and that was mid 80s. This picture makes me wish I could see Dave Kingman hitting homers

  26. Is it a photo of the field is being prepped for its first “official” use in the baseball configuration, in April of 1968? Either way, it’s visual proof that Mount Davis sucks ass.

  27. I have been comparing and contrasting with my favorite pre Mt. Davis photo… There are a lot of little differences… No scoreboard in CF, orange seats, the concourse behind the bleachers has a lot of details that aren’t there yet in this picture (flag poles, awnings over concession stands, paintings, etc)…

  28. So, what’s the deal with the outfield fence? From the photo, it appears to be one of those temporary roll it out/roll it up deals. I know there was a discussion here about the current asymmetric OF configuration a few weeks back. This pic makes for a nice contrast to today.

  29. When did the orientation of the parking spots change? I have no recolection of parking east-west.

  30. You can kind of see the guy moving the hatch pattern into the grass near the left field line in ML’s picture. But what it is he’s wants us to see I’m not sure beyond the green, the lack of backstop fence yet, the outfield wall having its original distance markers on it and this being pre-jumbotron in center field. It was probably taken very early based on the configuration, colors and the cars.
    .
    As for the photo itself it just makes me sad. Just a reminder of what Oakland bending over and begging the Raiders to have their way with them has done to what was once a nice stadium.

  31. It was such a nice place to watch a game, I mean there are limitations but it was still damned nice. I wonder the plan was to rebuild that Schottman discussed with the JPA?

  32. Okay, ready? The title “Pre Mount Davis Oakland Coliseum” is extremely misleading. There’s no date listed on the picture, but based on other pictures I have seen and archives, the pic goes back to the 1969-71 era. Here’s why.

    1. The greater number of aisles on the lower half of the field level. Those were filled in around 1972.
    2. The all-green-seats look was the original look to the Coliseum. The orange seats, as we remember them, were phased in over an almost decade-long period in the 80′s as the green seats deteriorated.
    3. The exterior “hill” surrounding the Coli has no stairs! None next to the gate tunnels or anywhere else for that matter. There’s only a ramp and “trails” leading down from the plaza concourse, the latter of which may have been tough to negotiate if one were drunk following a game.
    4. No DiamondVision!
    5. Trees are very young.
    6. The outfield fence is pulled in somewhat. The initial dimensions, according to Andrew Clem, were 330-378-410-378-330, not the 330-375-400-375-330 that we all knew so well. The former dimensions lasted only the ’68 season.
    7. The few cars in the players’ lot in the upper left hand corner are pretty old.
    8. The loge area had not yet been converted to suites.
    9. The paths from the on-deck circle to the plate didn’t last long.
    10. The dugout roofs are painted green and are otherwise unadorned.

    In a few years, the Coliseum will be 50 years old. It’s lived a very full life – several lives, even. This version was the one that lured Charlie Finley, and you can see why he came. It was a pretty good spot back then – fresh, green, almost pastoral. The “Mausoleum” reputation it got wasn’t solely because of the stadium. It was because hardly anyone showed up.

    If you want to see good closeup pictures of the Coli in its late 80′s glory, check out this flickr set by Jerry Reuss. That Jerry Reuss? Yes, that Jerry Reuss. Who knew the guy was such a stadium buff?

  33. Wow!!!! The old gray lady sure looks different.. a lot more baseball like without mt. Davis… Maybe the coliseum could have been easier to update to todays baseball standards if it still looked like this. Never really remembered the coliseum without mt. Davis til now.. Suxs.. very sad

  34. Looking at all those pics reminds me of the days I would sit in third deck eating all my crap I got from the Safeway Saturday Barbecue. I even remember getting a pitcher that was shaped just like the Kool-Aid dude. Those views of the hills were quite beautiful.
    By the way, the A’s ESPN page describes pre-Mt. Davis Coliseum as “This very plain and drab stadium…” Not my recollection at all, especially when the Haas family took out a loan and brought in an out-of-town manually-operated scoreboard, some gourmet food, and a new diamond vision.
    I will be thrilled for a new stadium, but I will definitely be sad when the Coliseum goes, such great memories.

  35. My current scorn for the Coliseum is completely based on what it was. It’s like a zen thing… To know hate, you must know love. This stadium was once better than adequate for it’s era. Now it is not even adequate for that period of time…. The lack of vision is disturbing. Talk about short term priority boxing out long term vision…

  36. You know what looking at Jerry Reuss’ photos reminded me of with the views of the old stadium and then ending with the current monstrosity… looking at before and after images of Mount Saint Helens. It was Fuji of the West before and afterward it was an ugly moonscape. Kinda how I feel about the Coliseum taken alone without considering the changes to ballparks in the last 20 years.

  37. Jeffery, you said it. That’s also the basis of my scorn for both the current Coliseum and Oakland in general to a large degree. At a time when EVERYONE else was making their stadiums better or replacing them, the city of Oakland in a typically boneheaded Oakland move decided to make their stadium worse. And then were perplexed when A’s fans got angry and many stopped showing up, were confused as to why the A’s would be unhappy with them, and in the nearly 20 years since have never figured out how to make it right.

  38. Those Reuss photos are amazing! I really miss the old coliseum. It would have needed to be replaced by now, anyway, but it was an awesome place to go back then.

  39. That’s wierd, I don’t remember the Orange Seats at all. Looks horrible! I know I saw a few games in 1987 and didn’t make it back there till I think 1997,when I first saw Mt Davis. I think I may have just forgotten all about them,since I did see A’s games on TV.during that period. Did they get them from the Giants? jk
    The photo above is awesome..Absolutely a beautiful ballpark!! Too bad we can’t have a throwback ballpark day for the A’s!

  40. Looking at the old Coliseum just makes me think of this…

  41. The photo clearly shows a BART ramp, however, BART didn’t open until September of ’72, so I figure it’d have to be ’72 or later.

  42. Just for clarification, the orange seats started appearing at least as early as 1976 (the Game of the Week broadcast of the AFC Championship Game, which I cannot find on youtube but have on video, shows this).

  43. @hecanfoos: The change in parking space orientation was, 15 years ago? Something like that. I started going to A’s and Raiders games in 1975 so I recall the east-west config. Not really sure why it was changed. :-)

  44. Yea when the Raiders had the parking lot re-done they changed the layout of the parking lot. Remember it annoyed the hell out of me.

  45. even if the coliseum wasn’t renovated and the raiders just gotten a brand new stadium when they came back in 95 as we can second guess now would’ve been the best decision, the coliseum still wouldn’t be the long term venue for this franchise. but hell i think all a’s fans and baseball fans in general over the past 15 or 16 years would’ve much rather attended game in the old coliseum even without the updates of the west side club and etc done in the mid 90s renovation than what we’ve had to deal with for in reality over the years.

  46. From what I can tell, no one has mentioned that there is no advertising in the scoreboard behind the bleachers. During the early 70′s, ARCO was the sponsor, and before that, Richfield Oil (which is the same company, BTW) However, that sponsorship ended in the mid 70′s, and I remember the sign being empty during the ’74 World Series. (The ARCO logo was still there during the ’73 series and I can find a photo to prove it) Therefore, that would place the pic somewhere from 1974 through the rest of the decade.

    Unless, of course the pisture was taken just after the signs were erected around 1968 and the Richfield signs hadn’t been put up yet. But I don’t think the pedestian bridge to BART would have been there in ’68 yet, and it’s clearly there in the photo.

  47. @docmeat great pics! Sadly it seems like they could have used the tarps even back then.

  48. RIP iceplant

    Reminds me a lot of KC’s Kaufmann pre-remodel. Honestly if they’d remodeled it along the lines of how Kauffman in KC was remodeled (or if the Raiders had never come back) I’d have been happy.

    If the Riaders ever leave again, theyr should implode Mt Davis and copy what the Halos did to Angels stadium after the Rams left (sans fake rocks)

  49. This picture says 1982, and still has the dirt pathways from the dugouts to home plate: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7133/7130215851_38e57c6019_z.jpg

    Nice – you can see the old see-through OF fences and the seats that ran all the way down to field level. Also, the sections immediately next to the staircases did not extend all the way down. This was very important to me in 1984, when Dwayne Murphy’s 31st HR of the season landed in the dead area between the fence and the bleachers, and bounced up to a few rows in front of me, making it easy for me to retrieve the ball.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s