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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Former Cactus League Stadiums: Compadre Stadium

Compadre Stadium Postcard

Our second of several features on former Cactus League spring training facilities, some of which still exist and some do not.

Compadre Stadium, Chandler, AZ, built in 1985, served as the spring training home of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1986 – 1997. State-of-the-art when it opened, the complex included several batting cages, on-site practice fields, and six practice pitching mounds. Compadre Stadium was the first in the Cactus League to have a lawn-seating area in the outfield. It had its very own little artificial lake. And, for the first time, the Brewers had their own clubhouse in their own spring facility.

Compadre Stadium Lawn Seating, Photo Courtesy of Chandler Historical Society

“Oh, what a great place to watch a Cactus League game. Fans and players mingled on the concourse before the game as there seemed to be no barrier separating them. The view from anywhere was awesome. The game was right in front of you (think 3D). And the tailgating on the huge grass parking lot was fantastic. That was before Spring Training became the $$$$-producing industry it is today…” reminisces one fan. “Game days were simpler.”

It cost two dollars to park when it first opened with the lot located behind the outfield, and the entrance to the park located behind home plate, so it was a decent car-to-bleacher hike for the time. Plenty of fans came down from Wisconsin annually, and yes, tailgating was big back then too.

It was, however, the only Cactus League stadium where players had to walk through the bleachers to get from the clubhouse to the dugout, which can be a good thing or not depending on if you were a player or a fan. The press box was open air and private boxes were not part of the design in 1985. The stadium experienced a boiler explosion within the first four days of opening which injured nine players and coaches.

Many residents and visitors considered Chandler “too far” back then. At the time, the stadium was built in the middle of farm land when Chandler was not the vibrant town it is today. It was as though the stadium was plopped in a field with only planned residences and subdivisions making up the neighborhood. And, of course, roads and highways were not as developed back then either.

The Brewers moved to Maryvale Baseball Park on the west side of Phoenix in 1998. Compadre Stadium remained unused, sat vacant, and was used for livestock grazing until its demolition in 2014.

Compadre Stadium – Sheep Grazing, Photo Courtesy of East Valley Tribune

Today, restaurants, take out food, a shopping center, and a gated subdivision makes up what was once the ballpark. A Holiday Inn and a golf course sit across the street. In fact, the address where the stadium was located – 1425 W Ocotillo Rd – doesn’t exist anymore. The closest is 1401 W Ocotillo Rd which is a small shopping center with a gated subdivision beyond that.

Could this have been the artificial lake? Probably not; shrubbery is too small for being from 1986.

Compadre Stadium is a small shopping center now

Some greenery in front of the shopping center. No plaques or indication there ever was a ball field here. I find that sad.

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