Former Cactus League Stadiums: Yuma Municipal Stadium
Photo Courtesy of Yuma County Library District
Our next of several features on former Cactus League spring training facilities, some of which still exist and some do not. Yuma, AZ enjoyed three spring training sites since the Cactus League started in 1947.
Municipal Stadium Then, Courtesy of Jim Patrick. Today’s 16th St (US 95) runs along the first base line, 1st Ave runs along the right field line
Yuma Municipal Stadium, Yuma, AZ The stadium, also known as Panther Field, stood for more than 20 years on the corner of 16th St and 2nd Ave. It supplied Yumans with horse races, circuses, and other events. Converted to a ball field in 1950, it provisioned the Yuma Panthers – a Class C minor league team.
Yuma Municipal Stadium was located here.
The Sun Sox in the Arizona-Mexican League (1955-1956) played their home games in the park. In addition, it served as the home diamond for the Kofa High School and Arizona Western College ball teams as well as Babe Ruth Leagues. It hosted the newly branded 1954 Baltimore Orioles spring training, the first year after the MLB club St Louis Browns became the Orioles. They hated it and chose not to return.
It had a small field and rickety stands. The foul lines originally were 310 ft but the right field line got trimmed to 288 ft when 1st Ave got widened and paved. A high screen was put up but even so fly balls in other parks became home runs here.
16th St and 1st Ave Yuma , Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey. The expanded 1st Ave and what was once the right field corner of Municipal Stadium/Panther Field.
With Desert Sun Stadium completion in 1970 and the Interstate 8 development (with a 16th Street interchange), the land became more valuable for businesses than as a ball field. Today, a Chase Bank and the police station sit on the land.
Former Municipal Stadium Infield, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey, Parking lot between the Chase bank and the police department. The infield of was once Yuma Municipal Stadium.