Tenants: San Diego Padres (MLB), San Diego Chargers (NFL)
Capacity: 47,972 (MLB)
Cost: $27.8 Million
Opened: April 19, 1967 (originally), April 8, 1969 (MLB)
Closed: September 28, 2003 (MLB)
Demolished: Still Standing
Dimensions: 327-L, 405-C, 330-R
Architect: Gary Allen
History Of Jack Murphy Stadium
The Jack Murphy Stadium has an extensive history, originally being called the San Diego Stadium. It would see four name changes from the first time it opened in 1967 until 2017, 14 years after it closed its doors.
The capacity also changed multiple times, starting off at a respectable 50,000 and reaching an amazing 70,561 by the time it closed. If it was still an active stadium today, this would be the largest baseball stadium in the USA.
During the opening day on April 8, 1969, when the San Diego Padres began playing at the stadium, only 23,370 people were in attendance. This meant that below half of the seats were filled.
Who / What Is It Named After
The Jack Murphy stadium was named after a local sports writer called Jack Murphy. For years he had coached minor league teams in San Diego before he started a project to collect support for a new stadium. This was in the mid-1960s and construction started in 1965, although it didn’t open for another two years after that.
From 1997 to 2017, the naming rights for this stadium were purchased by a telecommunications equipment company called Qualcomm. They renamed the stadium Qualcomm Stadium. However, almost everyone still refers to it as the Jack Murphy Stadium.
In 2017, the naming rights were once again sold and the stadium was renamed SDCCU Stadium after it was purchased by the San Diego County Credit Union for $500,000 for one year. It is still called this as no one else has repurchased the naming rights, presumably due to the fact that it is set to be demolished in 2021.
When Did It Open
The Jack Murphy stadium was opened on April 19, 1967, for the Chargers and Detroit Lions. However, many people don’t consider the official opening to be until April 8, 1969, when MLB awarded the stadium a professional franchise.
This stadium was actually called the San Diego Stadium until 1981 when it was renamed after the late Jack Murphy. It was also known as ‘The Murph’ and was one of the best-loved baseball stadiums in the USA.
What Team Plays There
When the Jack Murphy Stadium was first built in 1967, the San Diego Chargers played there for the NFL. However, just two years later the stadium started being used by the San Diego Padres after it had been awarded as an MLB professional franchise.
The San Diego Padres played here for 34 years until a new stadium was built for them called Petco Park. The Padres played their final game at Jack Murphy Stadium on September 28, 2003.
The Chargers kept playing at the Jack Murphy Stadium until 2017 when they moved to Los Angeles.
The only team that now plays here is the San Diego State Aztecs, which is a college football team. Once the site is demolished in 2021, the State Aztecs will be building their own smaller college football stadium on the original site.
You can find the Jack Murphy Stadium in Mission Valley, just outside of San Diego. Although the stadium is still standing and you can still visit the outside of it, no games have been played here since its closing in 2003.
Capacity (Seated & Standing)
The Jack Murphy stadium opened as an impressive four-tiered stadium and houses 50,000 seats for fans. This makes it just 6,000 seats shy of the capacity of the largest baseball stadium in the USA – the Dodgers Stadium. If it were still being used today, it would be the third-largest baseball stadium in the United States.
However, the capacity of this stadium changed a lot over its active years. The right-field bleachers were the first to be expanded in 1983, making the field completely enclosed and increasing the capacity to 59,022.
In 1997 another renovation began, adding more than 10,000 seats behind the outfield to account for the extra fans at the Superbowl event. This saw the capacity reach an amazing 67,544. Its final capacity stood at a whopping 70,561!
What Are The Stadium Dimensions
The dimensions for this stadium are as follows:
- Left: 327 feet
- Center: 405 feet
- Right: 330 feet
These dimensions are the final numbers that are true of the stadium still standing today. They were slightly altered as the stadium was restored and built upon, but these dimensions are the finalized numbers.
Seats For Sale
While you can no longer purchase seated tickets for the Jack Murphy stadium due to the fact that there are no games being played there, you can still purchase physical seats from the stadium to keep a part of baseball history alive.
The seats have been removed from the stadium and while some have been refurbished, others have been left as they are to preserve the memories. These seats are going for around $300 depending on the seller.
A few of these chairs are being sold on secondhand websites such as eBay, and others are being auctioned off by private companies. A quick internet search will be able to show you exactly where you can find a Jack Murphy Stadium seat of your own!
The best seats in the Jack Murphy Stadium were the infield seat blocks on the field level. These wrapped around the home plate and both sides of the field.
Above these seats were the plaza level infield seats, and one tier up was the club level full of seats for specific clubs. There was a fourth-tier above this level for additional seating.
The infield seating was considered the best compared to the seats behind the bleachers. There was even an area called kids corner which were considered the worst seats in the stadium.
However, it was up to your personal preference as to which level you wanted to sit at for the best seats. Some fans believe that field-level seats are the best because you have the same perspective of the players, making you feel more involved in the game.
Alternatively, some people preferred to sit on the second or third tier to get a higher view and therefore see more of the action unfold. No matter which tier you preferred, sitting behind the home plate was always the best angle of the action.
The Jack Murphy Stadium was considered one of the best-looking baseball stadiums thanks to its natural grass and multicolored seats.
Over the bleachers was a magnificent view of the hillsides, although this couldn’t be seen as well after the stadium was expanded to be enclosed by additional seating.
Until 1997, it was difficult to see that the Jack Murphy Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium as it was so tailored towards baseball. However, it now has a much more inclusive look and for its final six years held concerts, football games, and more as well as just baseball games.
We have already mentioned the seats that you can purchase online from Jack Murphy Stadium. Other than that; however, there is very little in the way of memorabilia to collect from this stadium.
The only thing that is commonly found online are posters of the stadiums in different art styles, such as vintage and abstract. Unfortunately, this is where the extent of memorabilia ends for this stadium.
Unlike many closed baseball stadiums where you can still collect vintage ticket stumps from online sellers, there don’t seem to be any on the market from Jack Murphy Stadium. While you might be able to get tickets from the stadium when it had one of its other names, you cannot currently purchase old tickets from baseball games held at the Jack Murphy Stadium.
The most notable mascot found at the Jack Murphy Stadium was The Famous Chicken, otherwise known as the KGB Chicken. This was the Padres longtime official mascot who looked like an oversized chicken with a blue cap and bright orange shorts and jersey on.
The Chicken emerged from his own hatching event at the Jack Murphy Stadium during a Padres game. This ‘Grand Hatching’ was seen by 47,000 people as the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme tune played in the background.
During its 36 active years, the Jack Murphy Stadium has seen its fair share of notable events. For example, The 1980s Holiday Bowl on December 19, 1980. Here fans saw an offensive fight between the Southern Methodist Mustangs and the Brigham Young University Cougars.
The score was 45-25 to the Mustangs with just four minutes remaining when the Cougars’ Jim McMahon would lead them to one of the best comebacks in college football history. The Cougars won with just three seconds to spare, hailing this game ‘The Miracle Bowl’.
The Jack Murphy Stadium also hosted the Super Bowl XXII in 1988, where the Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers.