LF: 325' CF: 425' RF: 325'
League: Pacific Coast
Affiliate: Seattle Mariners
2016 Rainiers Schedule
Radio: KHHO 850 AM
|Year ||Total ||Average
|* Attendance figures listed are the regular season totals drawn by the Rainiers at Cheney Stadium
Where the pursuit of baseball never ends.
Tacoma's green cathedral is notable for its vistas of evergreens beyond its boundaries and quite a bit of old-school charm within them. Although plenty was spent to upgrade (i.e. modernize) the park come 2011, the steeply pitched and quaint grandstand (by Triple-A standards) is the 1960 original, while its classic-looking light towers predate Cheney Stadium's construction: they lit up Seals Stadium in San Francisco through the Giants' 1959 season there. Including a grass berm tracing the right field line and suites stacked two stories high behind home plate, the $30 million renovation that occurred a half-century after the stadium opened added amenities befitting of the modern era, and they complimented the big full screen video board in left-center that debuted in 2009. But this is still a ballpark with a decidedly throwback appeal, accented by a front facade made of wood and a concourse placed behind the stands. A product of its dual times, Cheney Stadium offers up the quintessential sights of the Pacific Northwest and America’s pastime at a site in which a lot of baseball history has happened, making what’s easily the Pacific Coast League’s oldest ballpark an experience far from the norm.
Highway 16 passes by the stadium, which is about 3 miles west of I-5, and the Rainiers' home is adjacent to football and baseball fields at which the Falcons of Foss High School play. Opened in 1973, the pretty large high school is a prominent part of the Cheney Stadium backdrop; it visibly stands just beyond center field. Besides having a lot of evergreens and the 71-acre Tacoma Nature Center, which is based around Snake Lake, in its vicinity, Cheney Stadium is otherwise found near plenty of development and is just a few miles (about 3½) from the city's downtown core.
As for the team's namesake mountain, the impressive snow-capped peak of Mount Rainier can be seen when the skies are clear by those in the left field corner of the stadium. The majestic mountain, which is an active volcano, is about 55 miles of highway driving to the southeast of the Rainiers' stadium and reaches 14,410 feet at its apex. The team has been named after Mt. Rainier since 1995, which was Tacoma's first year of affiliation with the Mariners' organization.
Paved parking lots are on two sides of the stadium. The one past the left field fence has exclusively general admission parking spaces, while the lot found in front of the stadium has spaces reserved for club/suite holders in addition to the regular rank-and-file fan. Both lots are big, so most comers can generally be handled by them.
Cheney Stadium Facts & Figures
Construction cost: $890,000 (approximate)
Architect: E.L. Mills & Associates
General contractor: Earley Construction
Was built on land then referred to as the Snake Lake site. To clear the land for stadium construction, soldiers from the nearby Fort Lewis army base used flamethrowers.
Dubbed the "100-Day Wonder" after construction was almost completed in 100 days. From start to finish, the original stadium took three months and 14 days to build.
The stadium's original address was 2525 Bantz Boulevard.
Has always been called Cheney Stadium and was named so after Ben Cheney, who died in 1971 at age 66. During his life, Cheney used the fortune he made in the lumber industry to become a major sponsor of youth sports and, in 1959, a partial owner of the San Francisco Giants. Born in Montana, Cheney moved at the age of 19 to Tacoma, where he started the Cheney Lumber Company in 1936. After his efforts to secure a Pacific Coast League team for Tacoma were successful, the stadium built to house what was originally a Giants farm team was named in his honor. Besides the stadium, his legacy lives on via the Ben B. Cheney Foundation.
Owned by the City of Tacoma.
Lease length/terms: 30 years, with the Rainiers paying the city $500,000 per year in rent. The lease agreement (officially Resolution # 37919) was approved by the Tacoma City Council on November 17, 2009 and went into effect on January 1, 2011. The lease runs through December 31, 2041 and a provision in it states that "the Stadium shall retain the name 'Cheney Stadium' throughout the term of the lease."
Prior to the 2011 season, a $30 million renovation was completed over the course of 210 days, for which the design-build team was Belay and Populous (architects) and Mortenson Construction (general contractor). Their efforts added suites, club seating, a restaurant and grass berm to the stadium, gave it a new wooden exterior, and increased the number of concession stands and restrooms. The previously wooden left and right field fences (that dated to 1985) were replaced as part of the project, which included the enhancement of player facilities.
Has 16 suites. All are on the third base line.
In Row 1 of Section K sits -- literally sits -- a life-sized statue of Ben Cheney. Shown seated in a bronze seat, the also bronze sculpture of Cheney looks the part of the devoted baseball fan he was: a bag of peanuts are in his hand, a program is at his feet. Titled "Ben Cheney at the Ballpark," the artist who created the statue is Paul Michaels and it was installed in Cheney Stadium in 1995.
Prior to 1960, the last time pro baseball had been played in Tacoma was in 1951 at what was simply called Athletic Park, which made it the predecessor to Cheney Stadium. Athletic Park no longer stands. Today it's the site of Peck Field, a four-field complex used for softball and youth baseball.
First game: April 16, 1960; the Portland Beavers beat the Tacoma Giants, 7-2, with 6,612 as the announced attendance. The game was one of two played on April 16, which was a day-night doubleheader date. In the nightcap, the Giants were easy winners, 11-0, over the Beavers, while the second game attendance was 5,671.
The stadium's original inaugural game was scheduled as part of a split doubleheader on April 14, 1960, but that day-night DH was postponed due to "rain, cold and wet grounds." Because the following day, April 15, was Good Friday, no game was scheduled or rescheduled for that day, and thus the first games at the stadium were played on April 16.
Official ballpark firsts (all of which occurred on 4/16/60):
|Pitch ||Batter ||Hit (single) ||Home Run
|Eddie Fisher ||Clem Moore ||George Freese ||Matty Alou