January 26, 1965: Demolition begins at Washington’s Griffith Stadium.
The venue opened as National Park in 1911 and was used for over half a century, hosting a final game on September 21, 1961. Former player and manager Clark Griffith bought the Senators in 1920, with the stadium taking his name. Griffith won 237 games as a pitcher, 1491 as a manager, and was elected to Cooperstown as an owner. He passed away in 1955. His Senators club called the park home from its opening through 1960, when the team moved to Minnesota.
An expansion Senators franchise (now the Texas Rangers) played at Griffith for one season before moving to D.C. Stadium (later RFK Stadium). Washington joined the NFL ranks in 1937, with the franchise playing at Griffith through 1960. Three Negro Leagues teams played home games at Griffith, including the Homestead Grays (1940-48). Georgetown and George Washington were longtime football tenants, with Maryland playing one season at the venue.
Nine U.S. presidents threw ceremonial first pitches at Griffith, which hosted three World Series, two Negro World Series, two All-Star Games and two NFL Championships.
Griffith Stadium’s dimensions were unique – the left field fence was over 400 feet away from home plate until late in the park’s timeline. The fence in right-center field was angled due to five homes and a large tree. The homeowners refused to sell to the Senators during construction.
Howard University Hospital is now located at the site of Griffith Stadium. Nearly 1000 seats were repurposed at Tinker Field, a spring training facility in Orlando. That stadium was demolished in 2015.